We don’t mention hip-hop very often on TWBITW, but it’s not because Jake and I aren’t fans. We thought that last Jay-Z album was pretty dope, as the kids like to say. But there seems to be a severe shortage of truly weird hip-hop acts out there. Most stick to the formula: Drop danceable, repetitive beat; spit rhymes about how awesome you are and how much your rivals suck; attempt to sing simple pop chorus yourself or hire moderately successful R&B star to sing it for you; repeat. Hey, don’t get us wrong—when it’s good, it totally works, but there’s precious little room left for weirdness.
Enter MC Frontalot, a rapper so uniquely weird that he’s inspired the creation of his own little hip-hop sub-genre, nerdcore. See, instead of rapping about bitches and bling, Front (real name: Damian Hess) and his fellow nerdcoreans rap about Star Wars, Commodore 64’s, tech blogs, role-playing games, and other subjects near and dear to geeks’ hearts. It’s sort of like if you took Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” and built an entire genre of music around it.
Front just released his fourth album, Zero Day, earlier this year; it features tracks about actor/blogger Wil Wheaton, multiplayer online game Kingdom of Loathing, and a cameo by that geekiest of geek icons, John Hodgman (who plays the PC in those “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials). If you’re wondering how anyone could possibly fill four albums with songs about such specific subject matter, you clearly have never been to Comic-Con. The nerd culture well runs deep. (It should also be noted that not every single Frontalot song is a nerd anthem; he also defends homosexuality on “I Heart Fags” and makes fun of hipster culture on “Indier Than Thou.” Mostly he writes nerd anthems, though.)
Since coining the term “nerdcore,” Frontalot has inspired a host of misfit rappers to get in on the geekiness. Other nerdcore rappers include MC Lars (sample song titles: “O.G. Original Gamer,” “White Kids Aren’t Hyphy”), MC Chris (who does some of the voices on Aqua Teen Hunger Force), and our favorite (name-wise, at least), Optimus Rhyme. There’s even not one, but two nerdcore documentaries in circulation: Nerdcore Rising and Nerdcore for Life. Because if there’s one thing nerds like almost as much as videogames and computers, it’s making documentaries about themselves (see also: The King of Kong, Wordplay, etc.)
Anyway, here’s the official video for “It Is Pitch Dark,” a track from MC Frontalot’s second album, Secrets From the Future. And if you don’t know what a grue is, all we can say is, you are clearly not an O.G. Original Gamer. Go find yourself a copy of “Zork” and recognize.
(P.S. This live version of “It Is Pitch Dark” is pretty killer, too. Watch those nerds bounce!)
- MC Frontalot official site
- MC Frontalot on MySpace (which he “despises the living shit out of”)
- Nerdcore Rising: The Movie official site