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, Anime, 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 Florida, 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 for when rappers in other genres start throwing in nerdy allusions.
- Two Skinnee Js 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.
- 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 pretty darn impressive.
- 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.
- Battle rapper Henry Bowers is a Swedish example. Here's one of his English songs.
- 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.
- 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.
- Although he falls more into alternative rap, Childish Gambino shouts out a lot of nerdy subjects, including TRON, Invader Zim, Pokémon, Adventure Time (which he actually had a guest role on), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kurt Vonnegut, internet memes and much, much more.
- Devo may be considered the Ur-Example. Especially with songs like "Penetration In The Centrefold" and "Speed Racer".
- Dr Awkward fits the criteria, and has "opted in" as of Dualshawks ("and yeah we're nerdcore, it's just a name for people who gank Horde just to start a flame war.")
- Freezepop, most known for "Get Ready to Rokk" and "Less Talk More Rokk" from the Guitar Hero series may count as this.
- The group Futuristic Sex Robots, self proclaimed "Nerd Gangster Rap".
- Josip On Deck, Swag Rap artist with Otaku-themed lyrics.
- Klenginem, who raps in Klingon.
- Mad Hatter, best known for the song "Ganon Slayer". He also founded the non-profit record label Scrub Club Records, which hosts music by a number of nerdcore artists.
- Maja: Who made songs about Anime and Video Games
- 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)
- 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 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.
- MC Plus 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.
- Mikal Khill And The Thoughtcriminals
- 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).
- Rap Legend Jesse Dangerously
- Almost all of Regal Pinion's songs have literary references tossed around, and he is also an example of the Darker and Edgier variety. He also has a rap from the POV of the Big Bad in Final Fantasy VI.
- Though Music/Sammus doesn't consider herself a nerdcore rapper, her name comes from Metroid and she has songs named Time Crisis and Mighty Morphin'. She has, however, embraced the fandom, touring with Mega Ran and seeing her popularity as a way to bring hip-hop to audiences that wouldn't otherwise listen to it.
- Schaffer The Darklord (Oftentimes abbreviated as STD)
- [SiTH] Clan: Raleigh, NC rap quartet that sings about Star Wars, video games, and gaming culture, and sometimes uses game sound effects in their mixes.
- Soce, the gay Jewish rapper mixes this with more risque themes.
- Starbomb's first album was hip hop synth combo about videogame characters.
- Tribe One
- Brooklyn rapper VI Seconds rose to fame with raps about anime, video games, and comic books. (Naruflow, a rap about Naruto is his most famous one). Some might be disappointed to learn that a lot of his material besides that is normal Hip-Hop affair.
- 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.
- YT Cracker
- JT Music, formerly JT Machinima, has been producing video game themed rap music since 2009 on YouTube.
Other nerdcore performances:
- Voltaire's album BiTrektual is mostly filk songs about Star Trek and Star Wars, but one of the songs "Worf's Revenge" is pure unadulterated nerdcore.
- 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.
- Klingon Rap. Besides Klenginem, even the actual Star Trek actors have gotten into nerdcore.
- 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.
- 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."