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Short for “Music And Gaming Festival,” MAGFest is a four day-long event dedicated to the appreciation of video game music, gaming and culture. In short: it’s lit.

Catch members of the NPCC all over the fest!

On Thursday, 1-Up runs a panel on the “Fine Line In Music” while NPC’s Richie Branson and D&D Sluggers play main stage that evening!

Friday, Mega Ran joins our affiliates FanBros for a panel on geekdom in diverse spaces. From 5 to 10p, the whole Collective will be rocking live sets at the Megaman-a-thon, which will stream live at twitch.tv/halfemptyenergytank. Richie will hold a panel on Going Viral at 9PM.

Saturday, Sammus holds a panel called “Leveling Up: Monetizing Your Music” with special guests at 12:30, 1-Up Creative Mind Frame hits the MAG Main Stage at 3, followed by KadeshFlow at 6pm, and the entire crew will be rocking at the “Nerdcore Showcase” from 6:30 to 10pm.

Hashtag us at #NPCCMAG to find out where we are! it’s a party.

Mega Ran on “Touring While Black” (Full article)

Mega ran Performer Magazine

This month, Mega Ran was chosen as a part of PERFORMER MAGAZINE’s Social Justice Issue. Ran wrote a powerful piece called “Touring While Black.” While the article is available in the magazine on newsstands, the online version was hard to make out. Here is Ran’s article in full and unedited.


My favorite two words to utter, or type, because as a musician, we all dream of getting on the road and knocking down stages in strange places, making new friends and fans, hopefully getting paid, and definitely having stories to tell for ages.

As I’m unpacking from one tour and repacking for another, I get excited at the possibilities involved with late night drives into new cities with a few of my closest homies, Dominic “DJ Organic” Khin-Tay, Mario “SkyBlew” Farrow and Chris “EyeQ” Allen. But it wasn’t until I had finalized the routing had I realized that this could turn out to be one of the more interesting trips, and not for the best reason.

Dom asked me what the tour trail looked like, and I happily read off the list of shows I had booked.

Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, The Carolinas, Virginia….

He stopped me. His next question was a little odd, as his face showed some legit concern.

“Are there any white people riding with us on this tour?”

Driving While Black is a very real thing, and I know it all too well, particularly in the South, which hasn’t been able to shake its racist roots, particularly in the eyes of people who don’t frequent its streets or shake hands with its countrymen. Strangely, DWB and racial relations may be getting worse. After spending 5 years now as a touring performer, driving up and down America’s highways and byways, I always ran a loose ship, but was lucky enough to have never been arrested, pulled over or received any type of traffic violation or warning.

Until this year.

A Pew Research Center poll states that 50% of Americans feel like racism is a bigger problem in 2015 than anytime in the last 20 years. Ferguson and it’s fallout are to blame, and it’s probably the only logical reasoning for the number of stops I’ve faced on the road this year. In 2015, which isn’t over yet, I’ve been pulled over five times while out on the road, only to be left with a warning each time.

There was February in upstate New York, where I was greeted by the nicest Highway Patrol officer, who commended me on my signaling before lane changing, but pulled me over because I hadn’t given enough time and warning between the signal and the actual lane change.

There was March outside Tulsa, where I was pulled over for driving in the fast lane too long.

There was April in Arkansas, where I was pulled over for… well, you know, I don’t even know why I was pulled over there.

There was North Carolina, where I was pulled over for speeding in an area with no posted speed limit signs.

There was the time in May in Omaha, when I was pulled over for tailgating the car in front of me and not giving the proper amount of space.

There was the time in Missouri when my tour mate was profiled and followed out of a Wal-Mart to the parking lot, leading to us being surrounded by squad cars.

These all sound like legitimate offenses, right? Well here’s the kicker. On none of these times was anyone charged or arrested.

However, on EACH of these occasions, I was
1- asked to step out of the vehicle.
2. asked if I had any weapons or drugs on me.
3. patted down and searched.

And in a new development, something I had never seen before, in real life or the movies: In the last few instances, I was:

4. asked to sit inside the officer’s vehicle, in the passenger’s seat, while my paperwork was being processed.

New protocol perhaps? Not sure. So here I am, in a police vehicle, out of range of my friends (who were attempting to film), and behind the officer’s dashboard camera, if there is one, with nothing but my word against his to detail the events of what could happen next.

Each time I readied myself for the worst case scenario, and imagined the police officer shoving his state-issued gun into my cheek and reeling off a string of racial epithets in my direction, and telling me that Black lives DON’T matter.

Luckily, the extent of the experience in the police car usually was limited to a semi-diet-racist line of questioning about what I do: where I’m from, why I’m on THEIR road (there was always a sense of ownership) and how much money one makes from singing rap tunes. One officer even tried to guilt me, by letting me know that he wished he could make a living traveling to new places…instead of say, stopping people from getting to this new places. In each situation, I try to cushion the blow by telling them about my past as a teacher and that I make video game tunes, but if they hear the word rap, it usually gets ugly.

In the sub-genre of hip-hop in which I operate, called nerdcore, most of the artists are white, so it makes be as one of the only Black males, stand out like a sore thumb. It’s what I call the “Reverse Eminem” situation. Whereas Em had to prove himself, being a white kid stepping into a black art form, and learn the craft to become respected, Black nerd rappers are looked at as the standard, and crowned, even prematurely, and very seldom questioned on their credibility or talent level. It’s almost the one place in the world that being Black is awesome.

But I often, as most nerd rappers’ only Black friend, have to let them know when they are out of bounds, and that leads to strange conversations.

Recently, inside a discussion group, a white nerdcore rapper was called out for using the N-word on Facebook, and instead of apologizing and never doing it again, decided he would ask all of his Black friends if they felt that he could say it, and then screenshot the responses. This is what privilege looks like, ladies and gentlemen.

In the same group I argued with a Black rapper about the police, who told me the same thing I always hear when I’m around officers, “Don’t break the law and you’ll be fine.”

Like Walter Scott, pulled over for a routine traffic stop.
Like Eric Garner, who sold cigarettes.
Like Felix Kumi, who was a bystander during an undercover sting operation.
Like Sam Dubose, who drove without a license plate.

All dead.

So when Dom got a little hesitant at the thought of four fully grown Black and Brown males driving through the southern U.S., I understood.

I live below the law for the most part. I don’t even steal music….anymore. I have paid for every piece of software I use to make music.

Some people are lucky enough to have never felt the feeling of terror of seeing a police car in your rearview mirror.

Some people are lucky enough to have never been pulled over for doing something that everyone else on the road does, every single day.

Don’t break the law and you’ll be fine.

Unless you’re not.

Pray for us while we’re on the road.

Rest in Peace Sandra Bland.

Mega Ran’s new album RNDM is in stores now.

Q&A With The Newest NPC, Nigel!

I met Nigel Twumasi, founder of comic book and fashion line Mayamada, during a UK tour last year. Nigel’s booth was packed with amazing art, and hip fashion. I didn’t know anything about his brand, but I had to have the dope SAMURAI beanie I saw there.

mayamada Nigel’s on the left.

Fast forward, and Nigel and Mayamada are popping up at expos, fashion shows and more, sporting slick art and and fresh style. Peep the Q&A!

1. What are you nerding out on currently?

Not the most nerdy topic, but I am really getting into the autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. I have it as an audiobook and it’s been a great listen so far.

2. What’s your most recent games played?

GTA V and the Batman Arkham series on the Xbox. I’m so far behind with my games!

3. What music is on your playlist?

From pop acts like Pharrell, but mostly older hip hop groups like Jurassic 5 and The Roots. I also have a bunch of old soul acts like Bobby Womack, Al Green and Aretha Franklin.

4. What do you do in your downtime?

Watching films with friends is great as it let me take a complete break from work as well as watching shows like the Daily Show and Colbert Report.

I also read a lot of fiction like Game of Thrones and write my own satire on my own website, Mostly Legit News Network. I took a break from it recently but am preparing to get back on it before the year is out.

5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

Through my business, mayamada, I have been involved with local schools speaking about my business experience or getting student involved in creative projects.

6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

Right now I’m trying to learn French. I’ve always liked the idea of being able to speak in another language plus I’m aiming to go to an exhibition in France for my business so it seemed like a logical thing to learn.

7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of our website and collective?

They should get the sense that nerdy, geeky and creative pursuits aren’t only for a certain type of person, but for everyone with a talent or interest.

The collective should also inspire people looking to get into a particular creative or nerday area and encourage them to pursue it.

8. Favorites:
a) Movie? Pulp Fiction.
b) Food? Most things that end in the word “cake”.
c) Website? The Verge

9. What’s upcoming for you?

A new comic book call Samurai Chef I’m working on for my business. We create anime-inspired clothing and comics based on our own original characters and our latest title is almost ready for release.

10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

I can’t really point to one, but reading about the stories of entrepreneurs that I admire like Steve Jobs and Tony Hsieh have given me a better idea of what I want to do in my own life and better yet, shown it can be done.

If there’s any one person I’d say Johnny Cupcakes and his personal story of creating a successful business and brand have been very inspirational to me.

Happy 1st Birthday, NPC

What’s up NPC’s:

I just realized from an old Facebook post that last week was the one year anniversary of the beginnings of the NPCC. It started after some conversations at Nerdapalooza (RIP), and then grew.

In the past year we’ve done a lot of cool things, but we want to do even more in the next year and beyond. I’ve spent a lot of time on what I want the NPCC to be, and we’ve been working slowly, and deliberately towards our goals.

Even a year in, I get a lot of questions about the NPC Collective…mainly on what an NPC is, and mostly how to join. I have to say first off I appreciate the overwhelming amounts of support you guys give to the movement.

Happy Birthday!

Next, I have to say that the NPC is not:

-a nerd rap crew
-about separation in ANY way.

We’re just a bunch of people who:

a) like nerdy things (video games, comics, math)
b) create things or bring people joy with the things they do
c) know what it’s like to be ostracized or have trouble fitting in.

So, with those descriptions, pretty much anyone can be an NPC, right?


Right now, to expand and fulfill the vision I have for the NPCC, we are in need of:

-community activism
-graphic design
-web design
-blog posting (how to’s, stories etc)

If you are a person that does any of these things, hit us up and we’ll chat!

So as we blow out the candles for year one, I’m super excited about the future, and I need your help to get there!

Thank you for reading!


June NPC Hangout With Special Guest!

On June 15, the NPC Collective had its’ monthly hangout session to chat it up about everything nerdy, and with a special guest, Keith Chow, creator and editor of TheNerdsOfColor.org


Keith, SkyBlew, Sammus, Shubzilla and Mega Ran chatted about topics ranging from musical inspirations, favorite comics of all time, gender equality in nerd culture, and even had a little show and tell with our prized nerdy possessions. Check it out and please share!

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 8.37.00 PM


Comment here or on YouTube to let us know who or what you want to see in the next Hangout!


And wherever you are, catch Mega Ran and SkyBlew on tour with D&D Sluggers in 2 weeks on the Odds N Ends Tour!

June 27-29 Philly (Too Many Games Fest)*

June 30 Brooklyn, NY @ The Fifth Estate

July 1 Boston, MA @ McGanns

July 2 Watertown, NY @ Flashback Lounge

July 3 Ithaca, NY @ Just Be Cause Center

July 4 Buffalo, NY TBA

July 5 Yellow Springs, OH @ Super Fly Comics

July 6 Cincinnati, OH @ Chameleon

July 7 Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor

July 9 Chapel Hill, NC @ Chapel Hill Underground

July 10 Bourgie Nights, Wilmington, NC

July 11 Vienna, VA @ Jammin’ Java

July 12 Baltimore @ Ram’s Head Live (Bit Gen Gamer Fest)

mega ran d&d sluggers and SkyBlew tour

Fangamer, NPC Collective and RandomBeats present The Odds N Ends Tour