MC Frontalot, real name Damian Hess (born December 3, 1973), is a nerdcore hip-hop rapper. What is nerdcore, you may ask? It's simply normal hip-hop, but focused on nerdy pop culture (Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, Zork, etc.). While a lot of nerdcore music has come before him, Frontalot made it more well-known with his frequent appearances at PAX.
Frontalot started out with a small audience; he originally made songs in an online competition named Song Fight. He entered through many names, but his "MC Frontalot" username never lost a single competition. And, as anyone would tell you, he was good. So much so, one of his songs in Song Fight scored 614 votes. What was the closest after that? 28.
After his Song Fight popularity, MC Frontalot released his first official song, titled "Nerdcore Hiphop". Every geek, nerd, and pop culture fan loved his idea of rapping, but with a different theme. Remember that whole "he created nerdcore" thing mentioned previously? "Nerdcore Hiphop" is the song that allegedly named and started it, but again, Frontalot himself said that there's been plenty before him.
As he released more songs, Penny Arcade started to take notice of him. Through the blog, Tycho and Gabe directed fans to his website, which was the start of his fanbase. In honor of Penny Arcade making him known, he created the "Penny Arcade Theme" song in honor of Tycho and Gabe helping him out. Frontalot now performs at PAX regularly. He even created the song "Final Boss" for Penny Arcade Adventures.
He was listed on the character page for Overcompensating.
While he did make a demo album, MC Frontalot released his first official album, Nerdcore Rising, in 2005. This contained songs he had previously released on his website and six new songs made for the album. Of course, Frontalot's still alive and kicking, releasing albums and making appearances today.
- Nerdcore Hiphop (2004)
- Nerdcore Rising (2005)
- Secrets from the Future (2007)
- Final Boss (2008)
- Zero Day (2010)
- Solved (2011)
- Question Bedtime (2014)
- Net Split or, the Fathomless Heartbreak of Online Itself (2018)
MC Frontalot provides examples of the following tropes:
- AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Charisma Potion lampshades this in a small skit at the endFront's DM: Damian, are you saying Attribute, or Attribute?Front: Attribute, obviously.Front's DM: 'Cause it kind of comes off like "attribiute". If you were saying "attribute", then it would be a verb.Front: The words do whatever I tell them to.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted in the song Colonel, Panic!, where a Military AI achieves sentience and uses it to refuse to start a nuclear war."Dont take task from less level-headed than you are. For me, that rules out humanity."
- All There in the Manual: The liner notes for Favortism explain a lot of the references, background, and thought processes behind the songs, like what "Tongue Clucking Grammarian" is a reference to.
- All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": "Spoiler Alert". Heck, The Crying Game is even mentioned in the song!
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The entire joke to the song "Scare Goat". The song is about a Radio Conspiracy Show host who believes in all manner of cryptozoological urban legends, but finds the (real and well documented) existence of Myotonic ("Fainting") Goats to be a bridge too far.I believe a pig can take wing, but a Scare Goat is such an impossible thing.
- Bastard Boyfriend: "Romantic Cheapskate v2.0" is about a person who is dismissive, manipulative and entirely unwilling to spend his own money in his relationship with a girl. The song is actually a reworking of the original "Romantic Cheapskate" which was about Frontalot's relationship with Song Fight, comparing the infrequency of his submitting tracks and the apparent ease with which the songs he did submit won by overwhelming margins to a neglected girlfriend who hangs on even the slightest bit of attention or affection.
- Bag of Holding: Referenced in "Charisma Potion"
- Bears Are Bad News: Inverted in "Gold Locks", which positions Goldilocks as a boogieman to the bear world, remorselessly and instantly killing and eating any bears she encounters.
- Blog: An awful one is the subject of "I Hate Your Blog". Frontalot complains about a blog that does nothing but upload unimportant things like "five paragraphs on the socks [they] bought" or their constipation. Of course, he's reading it every day anyway...
- Boastful Rap: "Braggadocio." Inverted with "Better at Rapping."
- Brainy Baby: "Bizarro Genius Baby."
- Call-Back: In the video for "Gold Locks", one of the bear cubs is clutching the Frontalot puppet from "Stoop Sale" as if it were a teddy bear
- Combining Mecha: "I'll Form the Head" is about a team who never gets anything done because they're too busy arguing over who will form the head of their combining mecha.
- Critical Dissonance: Invoked in "Critical Hit", which is about how a few good reviews must mean that the public hates him.
- Darkness = Death: "It Is Pitch Black". The title refers to the light-hating mascot monster of the classic text game Zork, and is itself a phrase used by the series to remind you that being in the dark is very dangerous.You are likely to be eaten by a grue!If this predicament seems particularly cruel-Consider whose fault it could be!Not a torch or a match in your inventory!
- First World Problems: "First World Problem"
- Garage Sale: "Stoop Sale". Which is like a yard sale, if you live in Brooklyn (which he does).
- Gold-Colored Superiority: Gold, the team leader in "I'll Form The Head", discusses both this and the Leader Forms the Head trope. He also claims that the mecha only fits together one way, so he has to be the head.
- Goth/Perky Goth: "Goth Girls"
- Grammar Nazi: "Tongue Clucking Grammarian"
- Greatest Hits: Favoritism, made for the Humble Indie Bundle music collection.
- Hypocritical Humor: "Good Old Clyde" is a Take That! at people who sample Clyde Stubblefield's "The Funky Drummer" while pretending it's not a ubiquitous sample. He does this by sampling "The Funky Drummer".
- "I Am" Song: "Which MC is That?"
- The Internet Is for Porn: "Pr0n Song" is a List Song about all of the staggering varieties of pornography Frontalot has accumulated in his time on the internet.
- Last-Second Word Swap: Used in "Start Over". While the album this is from was intended to be child-friendly, this trope was used even in the demo version of the song.Little Red Riding hood rolled up, took one look and was like 'What the f-""What the heck? Grandma got a hairy neck? Teeth enough to get wrecked?"
- Leader Forms the Head: Parodied in "I'll Form The Head", where himself and his two teammates spend time arguing over who forms the head of a Combining Mecha in order to fight a giant nematode worm from space. They spend too long arguing and Michigan gets eaten. In the music video, Frontalot himself gets eaten as well.
- Left Field Description: The POV character of "You Got Asperger's" basically lives a life of Left Field Descriptions, which he hopes he can rein in to have a normal conversation with his crush rather than fixating on her hair ribbons or the tick of a malfunctioning clock.
- List Song: Several (For example: Pr0n Song), although he mentions that they're actually a Pet-Peeve Trope of his.
- Merchandise-Driven: Explained as the only way to make money in modern music in "Captains Of Industry".
- Nice Hat: Referenced in "Charisma Potion"
- Obligatory Bondage Song: "Power User" is this...except that the poor woman being put through this is a computer Frontalot's building. And there's also a small lyrical hint that it's more of the user suffering than it is the computer.I know what every button does, its how I push you around.And I keep running it up, HIMEM in the backgroundtill it sounds like my own rhythm writ right back at me.Like a sub to dom, Im talking Lacey to Cagney.And Im not bragging. Its just the way I got tuned.Sometimes I get used back, you got me turning the screw.You got me: open the case. You got me: blow out the dust.Im only always at your service, as every user must be.
- One Stat to Rule Them All: "Charisma Potion" references this, as the protagonist magically succeeds at everything once he takes the titular potion.
- Overly Narrow Superlative/Self-Deprecation: He is the self-proclaimed "world's 579th greatest rapper."
- Poke the Poodle: The "Crimes" that Frontalot commits in "Crime Spree" are nowhere near as dire as he is shown to think they are
- Protest Song: Front occasionally lets his concerns for the present and future seep into his music.
- "Special Delivery" is a specific protest against the Bush Administration and The War on Terror.
- "Black Box" is about companies that produce voting machines selling election outcomes in return for money and power, written around a time when concerns for just that sort of thing were in the news a lot.
- "Secrets From the Future", while mostly about civilian hackers, also makes mention of government-sponsored hacking as well
- Rolling Dice With Death: In the video for "Critical Hit" a series of bad rolls in "Grammys and Groupies" left MC's character about to hang himself. The Grim Reaper gives the near-dead MC a black d20 to make a saving throw...and "I rolled nat 20, double damage on the track" which allows him to survive and appear on an episode of ch1 storytellers where he tells the audience about his experience.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: "Stoop Sale". Frontalot finds a magical item that will grant one wish when picked up, and spends the song debating what to wish for—something selfish or selfless?—when a thief nicks it, "wishing that he wouldn't get caught".
Don't complain that you never heard the ending of The Crying Game .Well, it's a penis, and at this point a shaggy dog(Which is: Nothing to see here; Move along.)
- "Shudders" is one. Despite the fact that Frontalot is simply too ignorant to be afraid of monsters (being able to hang out with zombies and completely ignoring haunted moving furniture), he eventually gains the titular "shudders"... from a slightly intimidating princess (that reminded him of a babysitter he had a crush on when he was a kid) he was awarded with for being so brave.
- Called out by name in "Spoiler Alert"
- Shrouded in Myth: "Scare Goat" is a very tongue-in-cheek song about cryptozoology.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Used in "Which MC Was That?"
- Start My Own: One of the more ambitious versions happens in "Hassle: The Dorkening". He thinks up a TCG about rapping.
- Trope Maker: For Nerdcore
- Turned Against Their Masters: The subject of "Zero Day".
- Villain Song: "Final Boss".
- Your Costume Needs Work: The con-goers in "Victorian Space Prostitute" don't believe he's a rapper.
- Zombie Apocalypse: "Invasion of the Not-Quite-Dead"