And I'm the pride of geeks Who are shameless and brazen In their snobbery over whose console Is most ancient (and most Asian)
Nerdcore is a subgenre of Hip Hop
; the term "Nerdcore" is a portmanteau of "Nerd" and "Hardcore". Music that can be considered Nerdcore usually involves subjects which most "normal"
people would consider...well, nerdy
, such as Science Fiction
, and others. Nerdcore isn't automatically Hip Hop
; nerdcore had clear influences from geek culture as well, including geek rockers like They Might Be Giants
, parodists like "Weird Al" Yankovic
(who released "It's All About The Pentiums" in 1999 and "White & Nerdy" in 2006), and others. Despite these influences, Nerdcore has separated itself from other types of nerdy music thanks to an unofficial list of criteria that has evolved among fans and artists. Aside from making hip-hop about geeky things, Nerdcore is considered to be an 'Opt-in' genre. Only artists who consider themselves to be "Nerdcore" should have the label attached to their music.
In the summer of 2004 the fledgling genre took a large step forward when the popular web comic Penny Arcade
held its first convention, The Penny Arcade Expo, in Bellevue, WA. Though the expo was primarily devoted to video and tabletop gaming, geek-friendly musicians also performed, including Optimus Rhyme and Penny Arcade's "rapper laureate" MC Frontalot. There's also an annual festival held in the summer in Orlando, Florida
, called Nerdapalooza
, that helps showcase Nerdcore acts alongside other "nerd music" genres.
It has been growing in popularity, thanks in part to G4's bumpers in commercial breaks, which showcase several artists rapping about subjects such as console wars, a love of gadgetry and the art of the Internet Counterattack
, and of course, video games.
See also Heavy Mithril
, for when nerds forgo rapping about consoles for rocking about fantasy, and Filk
for the folksy alternative sort. Comics Rule Everything Around Me
is the mainstream equivalent.
Notable Nerdcore acts include:
- Maja: Who made songs about Anime and Video Games
- MC Frontalot: Regular at the Penny Arcade Expo, and the guy who coined the term in early 2000. Was featured on the In The Groove games and has several songs on Flash Flash Revolution; also has crosspromotions with Kingdom of Loathing.
- mc chris: Also the voice of MC Pee Pants on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Hesh on Sealab 2021, but throughout the course of his career has developed an I-love-you-I-hate-you relationship with the genre, switching between embracing and forsaking the genre at a moment's notice (he currently stands in favor of Nerdcore)
- Beefy: also a webcomic artist and Flash animator, Beefy, more often than not, raps about his mixed Latino/Caucasian heritage (he's a "Whitesican") and periodic poverty.
- MC Hawking: The stage name of Ken Leavitt-Lawrence. Using the now-defunct text-to-speech program "Willow Talk" and with the help of DJ Doomsday for the beats, he blends traditional gangsta rap with advanced scientific topics. His name and act are a parody of — and have been repeatedly praised by — Stephen Hawking.
- MC Lars is considered by some to be nerdcore, although he claims his genre is Post-Punk Laptop Rap
- Schaffer the Darklord (Oftentimes abbreviated as STD)
- Optimus Rhyme: As the name suggests the band is largely themed around Transformers including (but not limited to) songs from the perspective of Transformers on earth including a conflict between the two camps of Auto Beats and Whackacons. The stage names of the band members are also Transformer references: Wheelie Cyberman, Powerthighs, Stumblebee and Grimrock. Former members include Galaxian Waxspin, Thundercracker and Broken English (who breaks the theme).
- Devo may be considered the Ur Example. Especially with songs like "Penetration In The Centrefold" and "Speed Racer".
- Soce, the gay Jewish rapper mixes this with more risque themes.
- The group Futuristic Sex Robots, self proclaimed "Nerd Gangster Rap"
- Symphony Of Science. Featuring videos and music created from Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, Dr. Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, and Dr. Stephen Hawking.
- Although these aren't really rap, being autotuned singing using existing sound clips.
- Freezepop, most known for "Get Ready to Rokk" and "Less Talk More Rokk" from the Guitar Hero series may count as this.
- The Aquabats! take the rock approach, and many of their songs are more about just being nerdy then anything specifically nerdy. They recently got their own TV show. Batman and Johnny Sokko and his Giant Robot were listed as direct influences.
- Though not part of the Nerdcore scene, several Underground Hip Hop artists have ventured into Sci-Fi territories in their search for fresh, "bitches 'n' bling"-cliche-free ground. The most popular work of this kind is probably Deltron 3030's eponymous concept album.
- This Web Original Affectionate Parody of the New Boyz rap "You're a Jerk" called "You're a Nerd" with lyrical gems about lunch-money-stealing bullies, such as, "They're just lucky this isn't Warcraft cuz I'm a Level 60 Mage with an Oracle Staff, +10 attack with extended range... he'd be sorry he took my change."
- Battle rapper Henry Bowers is a Swedish example. Here's one of his English songs.
- The non-profit record label Scrub Club Records hosts music by a number of nerdcore artists, including label founder Mad Hatter, best known for the song "Ganon Slayer".
- Adam WarRock is a nerdcore hip-hop artist who is responsible for the Firefly themed "Browncoats" mixtape with Mikal kHill, as well as other solo albums and mixtapes.
- 2 Skinnee J's have been doing nerdcore music, off and on, since 1991. Their biggest hit, "Riot Nrrrd", was created as a nerd anthem of sorts, and other songs in their repertoire touch on subject matter such as being afraid to talk to girls, Star Wars, Godzilla, martial arts films, and Pluto's status as a planet.
- Richie Branson, probably best known for his #BringBackToonami Rap and it's followup. The 2nd song resulted in him becoming an Ascended Fanboy when Toonami was revived.
- Klingon Rap...
- Mikal Khill and The Thoughtcriminals
- Tribe One
- Rap Legend Jesse Dangerously
- The Ken Spivey Band: "A Celtic Gallifreyan Band." The band performs Doctor Who inspired music, mostly at cons. Spivey also organizes Time Lord Con and is a Joss Whedon fan.
- Bucktown Tiger: Nerdcore with a Furry Fandom twist. He also has a couple of Brony songs and dozens of videos of himself playing the piano in fursuit.
- Area 11: Not only being part of the Yogscast (partially), they're basically a geeky band. For example, their first album (All The Lights In The Sky) feautures 11 songs, with 6 of them having some kind of reference to an anime: two songs for Code Geass, one for Elfen Lied, one for Death Note, one for Cowboy Bebop and one for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Even thought it's technically Power Pop, still, it's preety darn impressive.
- MC Plus+,note formerly Sir Code-a-Lot, is an Iranian-American and PhD-student at Purdue University in Indiana. When he isn't rapping about computer science and video games, he's working on automatic code parallelization and contributing to the fields of software watermarking and layout algorithms.