Music in my ears: Nerdcore Rising!


Photo by: freakapotimus

When Pharrel Williams and The Neptunes decided to create a rock-rap hybrid and name it No-one Ever Really Dies, they were apparently trying to create some cool around the word ‘NERD’. That, and some weird, metaphysical shit about how ‘People’s energies are made of their souls. When you die, that energy may disperse but it isn’t destroyed.’

So, energy is dispersed, but not destroyed? Yeah man, that’s something true nerds know already. Except they don’t think it all comes from our souls – they call it physics.

And they had already started creating music under the NERD-banner, long before Pharrel and his gang came along.

Some of it was even mixing the formula of a bit of rap with everything else thrown in, that NERD have used to great effect on songs like ‘Rockstar’.

But instead of rapping about how they, apparently, wanted to be famous like The Neptunes, these geek rappers write songs about the day-in-the-life of real nerds.

Tracks about moderating forums, why E = MC squared, why Goth girls are hot, and – yes – how you can spend way too much time looking at pRon.

Moderating forums doesn’t sound like the best subject for a song? Well, try this one from Optimus Rhyme.

Optimus Rhyme were a group from Seattle, who were formed in 2000, but disbanded in 2008. The also had a pretty good live show, which you can check here.

Another member of what has been called Nerdcore Hip Hop is MC Lars, who coined the term iGeneration as a Douglas Copeland’esque label for the computer-loving generation born between 1982 and 2000 (Copeland himself and described that as Generation A, the next in line after his more famous Generation X).

MC Lars is, like many of his peers, happy to sample just about anything and also to make his music freely available online. He sums up his thoughts on the record industry in the song ‘Download This Song’.

The love of computers is taken to an extreme by MC Hawking, who is actually American web developer Ken Lawrence, who pretends to be the rapping incarnation of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking on songs like E=MC².

Now the last man to enter the ring for the true NERD-team is the one who coined the term in the first place.

The man, self-proclaimed to be the 579th best in the world of rhymes, is Damian Hess, who is better know under his alias, MC Frontalot.

Frontalot used the term ‘Nerdcore Hip Hop’ in the song from 2000. He also raps about his love of Goth Girls….and waaayy too much love of the deep dark corners of internet porn.

At the moment, Nerdcore is – to put it mildly – underground. It’s made up of songs that might get a spin on the wheels of steel at parties at the computer science department, but it’s big names would never open for…say…NERD, for example.

But it might not continue to be that way. The value of nerds and/or being nerdy is on the rise – both when it comes to money and coolness. Don’t believe me? Well, even the established media is catching on.

So maybe Nerdcore will, in the words of MC Frontalot, rise up and become elevated.

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