The ties between hip-hop and otaku culture just got tighter. Random (a.k.a. Mega Ran) recently released a new album titled Black Materia that follows the plot of Final Fantasy VII. And, as pointed out by Japanator, it's pretty solid by the standards of mainstream rap and "nerdcore" alike.

Hip-hop has embraced Japanese culture for years, most recognized by popular super group The Wu-Tang Clan, specifically GZA's Liquid Swords and RZA's original music to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. Most mainstream hip-hop, however, has focused on samurai culture and kung-fu flicks, with a few exceptions like Soulja Boy's love for anime. In the past few years, geek-centric hip-hop has been defined by nerdcore, a label like rappers MC Chris have struggled with, not because of the supportive fanbase, but for fear of being creatively boxed-in by people's musical expectations.

Those seeking a more traditional sound will enjoy Random's latest release. Black Materia has hints of the groundbreaking dystopian hip-hop/sci-fi concept album Deltron 3030; a respectable source to draw from that fits the overall theme of Cloud Strife and his battle against Shinra. Like Final Fantasy VII itself, Black Materia has its tender moments some may consider a little emo. That said, the album is a solid release and worthy of a listen.

The 16 track, full-length album is available for $7, with the instrumental version only $5 for those wanting to sample beats. If you want just a taste, Random is giving out an 8 track of the highlights for free (click starts .zip download). To see if it's something you might be into, check out the song "Aerith" set to FFVII game footage below:

[Via Japanator]

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