In the Phone Booth: Out the Box

By: @medafORACLE

“Norm”: (noun) – a standard, model or pattern. A designated standard based on the past performance of a given individual.

Many standards are set in life, some lower than others. There are pros and cons to this. The pros are individuals will have a blueprint as to how to act out a certain task. The cons to this are, if an individual sticks to this said “standard” they may be selling themselves short in doing the expected norm. Most of us never get acquainted with our full capabilities. One of the reasons for this is this standard that is set by certain individuals who then become professors in the norm. This norm and these professors are then backed by media outlets who convince majority spectators and or participants that the norm the “industry standard

In some cases this may be true. Take the English language for example. In school at a young age we are taught perfect grammar. As we ascend in grade level, and age; grammatical errors are looked at on a more microscopic scale. On any level, though; run on and incomplete sentences are unacceptable in any written presentation. On the other hand you have Hip Hop and within this art form you have average emcees and then you have intellectual and superior emcees. Ironically the more average “norm” emcees create the more complete sentence based rhymes compared to the more diverse or superior emcee, if you will.

What does this have to do with boxing”….well….we will get to that shortly. In writing an essay, in high school or college; complete sentences are not only the norm but; essential to getting a passing grade. Take the start of any of these paragraphs for example. The paragraphs contain complete sentences accompanied with correct punctuation. To a professor this would be coined correct writing or dare I say….”beautifully written” All jokes aside though, in Hip Hop this rule does not apply so much. Take a four bar stanza for example…..

“Mind penetrate/ barbaric actions my lines demonstrate when rappin’ and I ventilate hatred towards bigot, fake rappers; just die! Get it straight/ when you attempt to rhyme, I am who you try to emulate” ~medafOracle

In a metropolis filled with grammar police, I would be breaking the law, or simply just given an F by my English professor. Such incomplete sentences lacking punctuation would be deemed sinful and unreadable to all professors BUT…in the Hip Hop world the sound and fluidity of this stanza is…dare I go back to the phrase,  .“Beautifully written” or simply just viewed as out of the norm.

So here is the boxing portion of this column. In boxing we see similar standards set. Coaches teach fighters your basic 1,2,3,4 combo. If you’re a right handed fighter (orthodox stance) 1 is your jab, 2 is your straight right, 3 is your left hook and 4 is your right uppercut. Compare this to a sentence and your complete sentence would be “jab, right, left hook, right uppercut.” Or “1,2,3,4.” Always start with the jab and end with the 4 to complete your sentence with having it make sense or be the “standard”. For someone who not only writes music but boxes, my question is; “why does this have to be MY standard or “norm” as well”?

Let’s take a step back to the lyrical portion of this for a second. Sometimes the most unacceptable and horrifically written rhymes from a “standard” and “norm” grammatical perspective are the most beautiful sounding. Why can’t this be so in boxing as well? As a fighter, imagine taking this same concept and conducting it within your punch approach or boxing “sentence” if you will. Your coach or “English professor” would tell you, “your sentence should start with 1 (jab) and end with 3 or 4 (left hook or right uppercut)” Would it be so devastatingly wrong if you started your sentence with “3” and followed it with “2” and ended it with a “1”? Your sentence would be presented as “left hook, straight right hand and jab” Now to a professor, whom sets these “standards”; such a sentence would be failing in expected completion but, to a spectator or boxing purest this sentence would be beautiful to watch. Take a fighter like Leo Santa Cruz for example. Often seen, leading with a right hand followed by a left hook to the body accompanied with a right upper cut or left hook. If described grammatically by the expected “norm”, his “pathetic, broken English” approach to the sport would be a complement to say the least…BUT…to watch him is beautiful and a privilege.

Society is often caged by “normality” set by media and so called professors. From novice fighters to veterans, I ask you, “Why does this have to be your norm as well?” Step outside of the box and create your own normality or just simply be “out of the norm”, regardless, do not allow professors and media to dictate what your “standard” should be. If you want to end you sentence with a jab, then do so and do it beautifully. As an emcee, if you want to create run on and incomplete sentences, then do it equally as beautiful. Boxing and Hip Hop’s bridge shall never be burned by “norm standards”. Both are an art with similarities……by all means, we don’t call them “punch-lines” for no reason.

In the Phone Booth with Random aka @megaran

By: @medafORACLE

Life is much like a classroom. We have a setting. We have tests. We fail some. We pass some. Some individuals excel while others fall behind. Some students work harder than others. Some strive to be advanced in particular or all subjects. Life and school have many similarities, but; the one thing life doesn’t have that the classroom does are substitutes. In life there are no substitutes.
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Today I speak with a man who knows this first hand. Having being in the classroom himself  beyond the learning experience but as a teacher also, Mega Ran understands the importance of learning, teaching and sacrifice. Let’s step “In The Phone Booth“…..

@medafORACLE : First and foremost thanks for taking the time to step in the phone booth. Its greatly appreciated. For those who aren’t too familiar with you, tell them a little about yourself.

@megaran : Thank you. My name is Raheem. I perform as Random, or Mega Ran. I’m a former teacher who is an emcee, a producer, a motivational speaker, and a pretty cool guy for the most part.

@medafORACLE : One of your monikers is “Teacher Rapper Hero”, being an actual teacher before; if you could choose one element of Hip Hop to teach in schools or in your classroom which would it be and why?

@megaran I would love to be able to bring the element of dance into the classroom. With physical health being such a hot-button topic these days, I feel like a phys ed for kids who aren’t into sports. No twerking though, hahaha.

@medafORACLE : Over here we like to keep the boxing and Hip Hop Bridge intact. As you and I know being an emcee is a very cerebral, time tasking and thought provoking job. In boxing, being a pure boxer is very similar. Putting together punch patters, timing and defensive counters (in battling the defense portion would be a rebuttal). Out of today’s fighters or past, who do you think would stand well against the likes of a Pharoahe Monch as far as smarts, patterns and timing?

@megaran Wow, I’d say someone like Sugar Ray Leonard might be a good match, he was just as smart and quick. That’d be a dream match.

@medafORACLE : In boxing, as an up and coming fighter with sites on the big stage, you have to take tough fights for little to no pay in small venues locally. Campaigning is very important in this aspect. How did you manage to not only be able to quit teaching and do music full time but; also continue to grow your fan base and brand without a huge PR or promotional team to campaign for you?

@megaran It’s been an uphill battle. I was fortunate enough to be working at a career that I not only loved, but that offered me the free time to travel over the summer. So I’d use that time in the beginning to tour and make connections.

I made an album about a video game (Mega Ran, 2007), and Capcom heard it and got involved. From that, I was really lucky to take the connections I had made and parlay them into even bigger opportunities, while maintaining my career as an educator for as long as I could, until one fateful day in 2011, when I decided to hop off the ledge and make the leap of faith. It’s been a crazy ride ever since. 

@medafORACLE : You have a lot of fans in the gaming circuit. Being a gamer yourself, what is your favorite game of all time?

@megaran Man there’s so many, can I pick one from each generation? Haha. Nah I’d say my faves are Super Mario 3, Final Fantasy 7, Uncharted, and Mario Kart.

@medafORACLE : Alright, so; imagine in a perfect world, gaming companies create a Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (in 8 Bit) but with emcees. Who do you think should be the top 5 emcees to face and who would be the last guy you’d have to face to be the game?

@megaran Aw that’s a great question.

Okay the top 5 to face would be:

Scarface
Ice Cube
LL Cool J
KRS ONE
Nas

And the last boss would be Rakim, no question.

@medafORACLE : Ok, worst gaming system ever created? AND that gaming system creates a version of Def Jam’s “ICON”, what rapper wins “Worst Icon Ever” in being the guy who cant rap AND OR fight??

@megaran Worst system ever? Neo Geo. That joint was like $750 and the games were like $200!

Worst icon ever? Um…. Soulja Boy.

@medafORACLE : Next portion of the previous question is……..would you play that ish??? LOL

@megaran Hahahaha no thank you. I’m good on that.

@medafORACLE : Again, brother; thanks for stepping in the phone booth. Any last words you’d like to leave with the readers? Also what can the fans expect from you this year? If you have any tours dates coming up, what cities can they go see you live?

@megaran Thanks so much man, much love for having me. I appreciate the read. I always say that you are the music, so support what you love to keep it going. I’m working on a few new EPs, a sequel to my TRAP (Television and Radio Are Poison) album, and of course more gaming stuff.

I’m on tour right now, come on out to catch a great experience.

2.21.14 @ Flashback Lounge, Watertown, NY
2.22.14 @ Singers, Syracuse, NY
2.23.14 @ Broadway Joe’s, Buffalo, NY
2.25.14 @ Super Fly Comics, Yellow Springs, OH
2.26.14 @ The Comet, Cincinnati, OH
2.27.14 @ Sabbatical, Indianapolis, IN
2.28.14 @ Subterranean, Chicago, IL
3.1.14 @ 42 Lounge, Milwaukee, WI
3.3.14 @ 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN (w/e-dubble)
3.4.14 @ Pixels, Ames, IA
3.5.14 @ Star Clipper Comics, St. Louis, MO
3.7.14 @ The Boiler Room, Dallas, TX
3.8.14 @ Hole In The Wall, Austin, TX
3.11.14 @ SXSW (Official Showcase) Flamingo Cantina, Austin, TX
3.12.14 @ SXSW, Room 18D, (The Nerdy Music Panel) Austin Convention Center. Start Time: 3:30 PM

more dates to be announced. Hit me on Twitter at @megaran . Peace!

www.megaran.com
www.facebook.com/megaranmusic
www.twitter.com/megaran

Random

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Phone Booth with Austin Trout

By: @medafORACLE :

There is an old proverb that says…”One is rated by others as he rates himself.” It’s a rather simple, straight to the point and easy teaching to decipher. Know your value. Sadly in today’s society this is easier said than done. In public schools alone, as a teenager this said task of “knowing your value” is quite the challenge. Between fashion trends, music trends, interests, (this list goes on) its hard to fit in and be yourself in this time taxing process. Here’s the thing…..we grow up to become adults and get taxed financially so why tax your time as well in being someone you aren’t? The key is to not fit in but yet, stand out. This is a lot easier done than said.

When we are ourselves in any situation good or bad in life, it is only then we can calculate one’s value. Imagine if every mathematical formula ever created had the exact same equation. Well, in a sense this is possible. For every problem we experience in life, it calculates to your character’s reaction and ability to figure out that problem. Basically, if you were to mathematically add up every problem you’ve faced in life, it equates to you.

For example: Life + Issues = Your character. Or how about, Life + Issues x Patience – People’s opinions = Your character. You see where im going with this, right?

Rarely, in life do we cross paths with an individual in possession of such ability to equate every mathematical issue in life to one’s true character. I have had this rare opportunity. For those of you who are boxing fans, you have also witnessed such rarity. If you’ve religiously or even occasionally been a spectator of Showtime’s major boxing events the past couple of years then you have also experienced what I have in such an individual.

Meet professional boxer and former world champion, Austin “No doubt” Trout. Lets step “In the Phone Booth“…..

First off, welcome and thanks for getting in the phone booth. Its always a blessing to catch up and talk life. Now obviously as a figure in the limelight you have to continue to establish your mark in your weightclass as well as your brand in the business….BUT…..we’re not here for all that! On several occasions I hear “I would kick it with Austin. He seems like a cool dude” So that’s today’s mission…let your fans hang out with you via this interview.

We’re just gonna jump right into it. First question….

@medafORACLE: You show up to the gym for an afternoon workout, Louie (Burke) says “I’m gonna put on some Olivia Newton-John….what’s your reaction and what do you do?

@NoDoubtTrout: Its funny you ask that because Louie does ish like that. when he does throw a monkey wrench in my vibe I usually just go with it for a while, I mean I’m not the only one in the gym so I should allow everyone to hear their kind of music…..for two songs then I’m throwing “Clap for Him” back on lol.

 

@medafORACLE: Since we like to keep the bridge of music and boxing un-burned, we’re going to stay on this subject for a sec. What’s in your deck right now AND do you and the wife ever fight over DJ privileges in the car?

@NoDoubtTrout: Right now ive been listening to Childish Gambino pretty heavy. Naw wifey has no complaints about what I spin, besides if it was left up to her we would have beyonce on repeat the whole trip lol.

 

@medafORACLE: As many know (but not everyone), 50 Cent is an ex boxer and former New York Golden Glove Champ. Who in today’s rap game do you think would survive in the squared circle? Part two of this question is, who do you think would lack the skill and mental fortitude to compete out of today’s rappers?

@NoDoubtTrout: Who knows with this heavyweight division in its state im sure he could get a win over some semi named fighters. 50 definitely has the discipline to be a contender in my opinion.

 

@medafORACLE: Ok, same question but reversed. Now before you answer, we’re going to make it a little more cerebral just in case you have some fans who are Hip Hop heads. As every Hip Hop knows, there is a difference between an emcee and a rapper. Emcees are more strategic and versatile with their craft and rappers…..well, they just rap. So what fighters do you think would make for great emcees and who would have just enough skill to be a rapper?

@NoDoubtTrout: Andre Ward is definitely an emcee of the game! Floyd Mayweather is the KRS 1 of boxing, then you got guys like Alfredo Angulo and Carlos Molina are rapper type fighters.

 

@medafORACLE: A lot of your fans know you’re a true gamer. So, imagine in a obscure yet perfect world, EA Sports teams up with the creators of Walking Dead and create a zombie themed game……WITH BOXERS! Yes….boxers. In a zombie apocalypse, you can only choose five boxers to survive with….who are they?

@NoDoubtTrout: Floyd Mayweather because he has all the resources, Andre Ward because he has God with him, Angulo looks like he knows how to pitch a tent and filter water lol, Danny Garcia because he’s a survivor, and Vladimir Klitchko to handle all the big zombies.

 

@medafORACLE: Speaking of gaming; what game system are you rocking with heavy right now and what game are you glued to? Go ahead and slide the fans the gamer tag if you’d like and if they want to get some.

@NoDoubtTrout: Im heavy on the Xbox 1,Gghosts is the best right now. But my all time favorite game is PS3s “The Last of Us”

Gamertag

Xbox1: NoDoubtTrout

PS3: Nodoubttrout1

 

@medafORACLE: As a fan, student, historian and competitor of the sport, there are a LOT of fights I would like to see but more than likely never will (for obvious reasons). As a fan, what is your dream fight you would like to see and who wins?

@NoDoubtTrout: Of course Mayweather – Pacquiao (Mayweather) two years ago.

 

@medafORACLE: Same question but different era. What’s a fight you would have loved to see in the past?

@NoDoubtTrout: The Leonard – Hagler (Hagler) rematch.

 

@medafORACLE: As always it’s a blessing and pleasure, my man. I appreciate you taking the time to step in the phone booth with me. Any last words of encouragement, inspiration, shout outs, shameless plugs or jokes you’d like to leave the fans with?

@NoDoubtTrout: I appreciate you having me on here. It was mad fun chopping it up with you “In the Phone Booth“. Im very excited for the future of hip hop and boxing. I am also excited to be a part of that future of boxing 2014 is going to be a good year. God bless you all!!

Trout vs Cotto

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters