We caught up with popular rapper Mega Ran to discuss his upcoming appearance at ROH’s 17th Anniversary pay-per-view (he will host the event and perform a new, original song), his pro wrestling fandom, his “Mat Mania” albums and podcast and more!
1. At what age did you fall in love with pro wrestling, and what attracted you to it?
I think I was maybe 12, 13 or so. I remember seeing a poster in my cousin’s room. It was Jimmy Snuka making his signature Superfly Leap onto Don Muraco at the Garden. That was the moment that I knew I wanted to know more about these larger than life individuals. I was -- and still am -- a huge comic fan, and these guys were literal comic book heroes in real life. It blew my mind.
2. Do you remember when and where you saw your first live wrestling show and who was on the card?
I don’t know if it counts, but my cousin Howie and I went to the Spectrum in Philly to watch a closed circuit TV broadcast of Wrestlemania IV in 1988. I bought a “Macho Man” poster and foam finger and rooted for Savage the whole night, and got to see him win the title at the end of the tournament.
The first time I caught a show in person with my own money was “WWF Raw” at Penn State in 2000. I’ll never forget it because on the show, Triple H wrestled Chris Jericho, and [Jericho] pinned him in the center of the ring and won the [WWF] title live in front of us ... until Triple H made the ref reverse the decision and fired him. What a time.
3. Who is your favorite pro wrestler of all time?
By far, “Macho Man” Randy Savage. The perfect combination of style and ferocity. Savage will always be my favorite.
4. Who are some of your favorites in ROH and NJPW?
I’ve been a big fan of Jay Lethal for so long. He’s just so great. The young guys in LifeBlood really pique my interest. Been a fan of Juice [Robinson] and Bandido for a bit. Dalton Castle is super cool. Jeff Cobb is a beast. The Briscoes are legends. Eli Isom has endless potential. And then there’s Will Ospreay, [Kazuchika] Okada, [Tetsuya] Naito, Suzuki-gun, and G.O.D on the New Japan side that I’m a huge fan of.
5. What does it mean for you as both an artist and a fan to be the host of ROH’s 17th Anniversary show?
This is a massive honor to be a part of such an esteemed event. I never could’ve imagined this kind of opportunity could come to an independent artist who just loves pro wrestling. I’m just thankful. A little nervous, but so excited. I don’t take this kind of thing lightly. I’m determined to do my best and make this a great experience for everyone involved.
6. What match are you most looking forward to at 17th Anniversary?
I think RUSH and Bandido are gonna tear the place down. I can’t wait to see this!
7. What can you tell us about the original song, “Going to the Garden,” that you will perform live at the show?
It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written, honestly. It’s a combination of upbeat trap sounds, but the content is all about the rise to achieve the impossible. If it weren’t for ROH, it could easily be the Mega Ran theme song [laughs]. It’s catchy, but the lines are so poignant and are a testament to the long road these athletes have taken to finally achieve the highest level in their profession.
8. Your “Mat Mania” albums are fantastic. Have you gotten any feedback from people in the wrestling industry about them? Any plans to do more?
Thank you so much! Man, those I think have gotten me some unexpected love within the wrestling world, from fans to even talent. Casey (Lynx Kinetic) makes great beats out of the existing themes and then I just go to town. I’ve gotten props from Finn Balor, Kenny Omega, the boys in Gallus, The New Day and so many more. I feel like with three of those projects, I might have to relax a bit to find some more inspiration, so I’m not likely to do one this year -- unless maybe the ROH guys want some Mega Ran theme flips. Hmmm.
9. What can you tell us about your “Mat Mania” podcast?
It’s a group of four friends chatting every week about music, TV shows and, of course, wrestling. It all started after a couple of conversations with wrestlers. Being able to be close to some talent in between shows, I saw how much their grind was just like mine. Many conversations I’ve had with [WWE star] Xavier Woods have been just like the talks I’ve had with my fellow producers or rappers.
So once I saw how similar our paths are as entertainers, I just wanted to explore that concept, as a performer but also working hard to remain a fan of your vocation. So we make sure to give props to matches and story lines that we really love, as well as music and whatever else is on our mind. Shout out to my guys Teek Hall, Roknowledge and Neoecks. As we always say, "Keep your shoulders off the mat!”
10. Where can fans follow you on social media, and do you have any projects you’d like to promote?
I’m on twitter at @MegaRan and Instagram at @randombeats. Music is at megaranmusic.com and my main site is megaran.com. I drop two new singles monthly, about whatever video game or wrestler I’m into at the moment, on Patreon at patreon.com/bitsandrhymes. And my next album, called “The Dewey Decibel System,” is a record all about the books I love, and a collaboration with fellow rapper MC Lars, that’s coming this June. Look for the first single, “Watchmen,” dropping on March 15, right before ROH 17th Anniversary starts. See you there!