Nerdcore rising: Mc Frontalot represents

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By Nima Maghame

They say hip-hop is about who you represent. Gangster rap glorifies cheap women and expensive cars. But rapper MC Frontalot, who performs Mon/15 at Cafe du Nord, represents an entirely different group of people who are more into computer software and Internet jokes then cash and hoes.

Originally from San Francisco, the former software programmer has been carving his own niche of rap with a movement he dubs “nerdcore." And he's not alone when it comes to spitting rhymes about geek life. Over the past decade, nerdcore has been rising; MC Chris, MC Lars and Ytcracker (who will be performing on Feb 21st at Bottom of the Hill), Jesse Dangerously, Futuristic Sex Robots and a host of other nerd lyricists have posted mp3s of songs with topics ranging from Star Wars characters to role-playing games.

While the Internet has embraced the artists, mainstream audiences are finding it hard to relate. Swinging back and forth from depicting geek fantasies to humorous self-deprecation, rappers like MC Frontalot speak to a generation plugged-in. His corky flow bounces up and down to instrumentals that sample sounds from all over the musical map. The upbeat music moves naturally with the MC's thesaurus-filled rhymes. Fans understand the meaning to words like Fap, MMPOG and Mud cards, but Frontalot has been persistent in getting nerdcore heard by new ears. He is releasing his fourth album, Zero Day, in April. The first single “Your Friend Wil" -- about Star Trek star and Just a Geek author Wil Wheaton -- is already available for download.

“I really felt like coming back to nerdcore-as-a-movement on this one, which I feel I've gone away from in past albums,” says Frontalot, who includes a slew of featured nerd rappers on Zero Day.

San Francisco is one stop on a countrywide tour for Frontalot, and he has a documentary out, Nerdcore Rising, which chronicles his first album release. Time will tell if that title stays true.

 

MC FRONT A LOT

8 p.m., $10

Cafe du Nord

2174 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016

www.cafedunord.com

 

MC LARS, YTCRACKER

With k. flay

Sun/21, 10 p.m., $10-12

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th, SF

(415) 626-4455

www.bottomofthehill.com

Comments

It's MC Frontalot. And it looks like you're missing at least a word in the first sentence.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 15, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

Fixed above.

Posted by marke on Feb. 15, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

I'm so tired of seeing rap's vast and varied history reduced to the inaccurate and too-easy notion that it's generally vapid, morally bankrupt, and more misogynist than the critic using the word "ho" to describe the women in its videos.

Hip-hop is not in need of rescue by dorky, white superheroes like my friends. We're just participating in a world that has lots of different veins of content and character. When hip-hop is sexist, materialist and violent, it only reflects the culture that produces it - and I don't mean inner city or African-American culture, I mean mainstream Western society.

So lay off of rap when you're praising rappers, okay? Thanks.

Posted by Jesse Dangerously on Feb. 16, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

Dear Jesse Dangerously,

First off I am a big fan of your work. Second, I can understand that you may think I am belittling hip hop in what I wrote but I think you may have misunderstood me. We can all agree that hip hop acts like a library where in a library you can find books on anything from space to cooking. Hip Hop has similar traits in that one can find hip hop about praising Jesus to praising guns and violence. I said that Gangster rap was all about "cash and hoes" because even though many gangster rap artists try to go beyond these cliches it is what is sold to consumers by the large corporations that distribute their music. Maybe I'm making too much of an assumption here, but I don't think I am. Nerdcore hip hop is just another manifestation of hip hop that has been created by your friends due to their life experiences and the stories they want to tell; which are different then those heard on the radio or MTV which is mostly focused on making money and sleeping with promiscuous women. In no way am I trying to say that MC Frontalot is a hip hop savior, just that this is his donation to the larger universal library of hip hop. This is what I am trying to say in this preview and I have failed to do so then I'll try harder next time, maybe when I write a preview about you. When you coming to SF?

Posted by Nima Maghame on Feb. 17, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

Uh oh, JD got called out! defend thy rant, oh nerdcore rapper, or face a songfight!!!

Posted by Xeracy on Feb. 18, 2010 @ 11:12 am