What is hip-hop? It’s a term which is associated with storytelling through rhythmic backing and quick spoken word. The genres of hip-hop cover quite the docket and each carry a unique name based on the content. One of the first was gangsta rap from N.W.A. in the late 1980s.
I recently discovered a newer genre of hip-hop called nerdcore. As for when nerdcore originally started, its debate stems from the creation of computers, gaming, and the internet. The term was coined by MC Frontalot in the early 2000s. To help introduce nerdcore to the community, the Mt. Nerdcore tour consisting of Schaffer The Darklord (STD), MC Lars, Mega Ran, and MC Frontalot stopped by the Skyway Studio B to spit his-tory metaphors.
You are probably wondering what is nerdcore….? Well, if you were a “Hamfan” of Hamilton: The American Musical, that’s a unique popular example. Simply put, it’s rappers who express hardcore love for their nerdiness. There have been many MC’s who have added a few lyrics and have walked up to the cliff such as Del The Funky Homosapien or Childish Gambino. Not too many have completely jumped off. A normal nerdcore show routinely refers to popular memes, news topics, characters, or novels.
The best example of this was from the opener STD with his song Cat People. The song starts about how we love cats and it slowly transforms into how humans are cats. The crowd participated by adding paw flicks during each chorus yelling “meow, meow.” The crowd participation rate was oddly high. He carried his set along sharing his personality of pet peeves and his love for sex or lack thereof until he closed out.
Next up was the brand king of nerdcore and founder of “Lit-Hop” (literature hip-hop) MC Lars. He wore a RUN D.M.C. inspired outfit, all black with an Oakland A’s baseball hat, and a thick gold chain with an original Nintendo Zelda game cartridge attached.
Studying literature at Stanford, MC Lars has been able to tell best-known works of literature using music. He has a TED talk explaining his theory. As he came on stage he took us through the history of Edgar Allen Poe, Bruce Campbell, Julius Caesar, and why the recording industry is stupid. Each verse tying to a point in history which makes you think of the relevance. It acts as a flashback point if and when you learned that reference. He ended his set with a big grin and thumbs up to signal the next performer.
Mega Ran, which is inspired by Mega Man, ran on stage to share his love for early heyday wrestling and video games. Wearing 16-bit graphic wrestling jacket he took the crowd on a beat tour of the original Mega Man games and added his experiences.
After a while sharing how he was sued by the gaming company for copyright infringement but escaped after they thought the music was dope. He soon rounded out his set after dressing up like Mega Man and sharing unreleased collaboration with the other performers off their new record The Dewey Decibel System.
Finally, the oldest of the performers and Godfather of nerdcore, MC Frontalot. Sporting an Office Space outfit and orange headlamp, he continues to round the show out in his own style. Except he raps about current problems with an older view. He covers topics such as why the internet, first world problems, and memes are stupid. He closes out the concert with his rants and the nerds retired to the merch table to discuss more than t-shirt sales.
Nerdcore is a form of hip-hop which we all can relate to because it covers such a diverse group of topics. It takes a vulnerable performer to leap into the world of nerdcore. It gives a performer a stage to share their passions while delivering it through what we can all relate to is music.