I used to think that screamo and heavy death metal would be the least likely genre to be on the radio. Then I discovered ‘Nerdcore’ and was proven wrong.
The term Nerdcore was coined by a hip hop artist known as MC Frontalot back sometime near the 2000s. Basically Nerdcore, is hip hop music where the artist raps about nerdy subjects like Video Games, Movies, Pop Culture, or just being the geek in glasses crushing on the cute girl in class. I actually discovered this sub sub genre by using a website called 8tracks. A site where anyone could assemble playlists and you could search by mood etc. (This was pre-Spotify, Grooveshark, etc)
Through this I discovered nerdcore artists like MC Frontalot, MC Chris, MC Lars, YTCracker, Schaffer the Dark Lord, Beefy, and Optimus Rhyme. It expanded from hip hop over to poppy punk songs which I enjoyed a great deal. Nerf Herder, Kirby Krackle, and I Fight Dragons are now on my ‘nerdcore’ playlist holding down the pop rock side of things.
It seems geeks and nerds are less of a bad thing nowadays. As we grow older we realize the things we enjoyed as a kid (and still to this day) make us who we are and aren’t something we should be ashamed of. Don’t expect this weird little genre to disappear anytime soon as people are still writing and producing new music, thank the maker!
Here are some tracks to get you started:
MC Frontalot – I Hate Your Blog
Figured I’d start this off with a Frontalot song. This may have been the first song I heard by him, either way it still rings true as my favourite one of his. His almost awkward timing and weird pauses even give you the impression he’s kind of a nerd before even seeing what he looks like. Give him a search on YouTube and you’ll find a ton of live concerts fans have uploaded, thanks for spearheading this movement Mc Frontalot.
MC Chris – Geek
I’m 95% sure this was the first nerdcore song I had ever heard. It was track one on the 8tracks playlist I used to listen to. I heard this song over twenty times before I realized it was a dude singing the chorus, I even looked up a concert video to be double sure. When listening to the lyrics you can totally figure that out though. A big push for nerdcore and MC Chris was his song Fett’s Vette appearing in the movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno during some Star Wars porno shenanigans. His lyrics can get pretty graphic at times but I guess that’s his way of showing he’s not just a geeky pushover?
MC Lars – Guitar Hero Hero
MC Lars is probably my favourite Nerdcore hip hop artist in this group. There are definitely songs in these guy’s repertoires that I don’t listen to but MC Lars’ album This Gigantic Robot Kills is good front to back. This music video really shows the age of these guys, Parry Gripp (singer from Nerf Herder) is a guest singer in this song and he is looking a tad older indeed. The reason I enjoy his stuff over the first two I listed is because of his connections to punk and ska music which I enjoy.
Beefy – Game Store Girl
Merging over to more nerdcore pop style stuff, here’s a track from Beefy about a dude who likes a dudette. Always a good recipe for a song.
Along with the nerdcore hip hop we have artists who stick to more of a pop-rock vibe but still write with the same themes nerdcore addresses.
Kirby Krackle – Great Lakes Avengers
Another hard one to choose one song for. Check out their album “E For Everyone” first. Just from searching for a song on YouTube I discovered they write constantly and have a few tracks about Stranger Things already, which is pretty rad. Here are some of my favourites: Vault 101, Up Up Down Down, Henchmen, Dancing Baby Groot, and I Wanna Live In A World Full Of Heroes.
I Fight Dragons – Save World Get Girl
Definitely my most listened to artist in this article. Their punk pop vibe interlaced with 8-bit soundbites and catchy choruses have me listening to their songs even when I’m not in a ‘nerdcore mood’. Not to mention they cover The Power Of Love from Back to the Future and it’s actually really good. Music video is full of lawls.
Including this because it’s also pure awesome.
Jonathan Coulton – Future Soon
Was ultra close to putting his song Code Monkey on here instead, but this one is probably my favourite of his. (I Fight Dragons also covers Future Soon.) JoCo is the guy responsible for the Still Alive song at the end of Portal 1, and Want You Gone the song from the end of Portal 2. He’s also another internet song writer like Parry Gripp who would release a song a week through his website or what have you. So his catalog (as well as Parry Gripp’s) is rather extensive.
So if any of these artists struck a chord with you, you’ll now have multiple entry points to this wacky nerdy place in music. I haven’t tried finding it yet but there was actually a film produced about Nerdcore back in 2008, following Frontalot. Here’s a trailer: (some quick shots of Weird Al, MC Lars, and MC Chris in there)
Writing about this subgenre made me realize back in the day Matt and I recorded a nerdcore rap song without knowing. Just for the lawls here’s the vid: