204: Kickin' It Nerdcore

Nathan Meunier

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Nov 19, 2007
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Kickin' It Nerdcore

Hip hop artists usually rhyme about what they know, whether it's the neighborhood they grew up in or their favorite Mega Man boss. Nathan Meunier examines how videogames have influenced the culture of nerdcore rappers.

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Caimekaze

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Feb 2, 2008
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I love nerdcore music. I don't own any of it though, as it's hard to find in Australia. So I listen to it constantly on Youtube when the mood takes me.
You have given me more people to listen to. Thank you <3
 

Nathan Meunier

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Nov 19, 2007
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You can get a lot of free mp3s at various nerdcore artists' websites (scan the article for links). That's a good place to start, but don't forget to buy some albums and support your favorite nerdy rappers.
 

Z.

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Jun 2, 2009
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mc chris actively eschews the nerdcore label, so I imagine his exclusion was calculated.

Great piece, Nathan. It's an excellent meditation on the functionality of the gamer archetype in nerd music.
 

HobbesMkii

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Jun 7, 2008
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Nerdcore's probably a "truer" genre of music than gangsta rap. A lot of g-rappers are just making stuff up that people want to hear, denying their middle-class backgrounds to appear as though they grew up in the midst of poverty and committed a number of heinous crimes, because that's the type of music that sells to the biggest purchasers of that genre: upper and middle-class white boys. At least in nerdcore I can believe that the artist actually played the game.

I think the best part about nerdcore though is that, unlike the aforementioned gangsta rap, it actively embraces the uncool truth of its subject matter and works to make it cool. Where public perception of a rapper as a thug or criminal is key in establishing a stage persona to sell records, nerdcore artists work almost without that safety net. Their persona is not undeniably "cool," in fact, not so long ago it would've caused open derision from the majority of the public (and may continue to). But the irony in the role reversal, that while some of their hip hop contemporaries are using the genre to claim credit for crimes likely not committed, nerdcore artists are claiming credit for actions in video games or in relation to video games, something that seems mundane in comparison to drugs, prostitution and murder.

Anyway, it was a great article, and I hope to see your book on a shelf somewhere soon.
 

Utarefson

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Apr 15, 2009
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After all these rappers in the article, i want to mention a german musician who became famous for his counterstrike and world of warcraft songs called 'Jan Hegenberg' .And no, he is not a rapper.
http://janhegenberg.de/cpo/news/
 

Zivlok

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Dec 12, 2008
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A well-written, in-depth article. Schaffer the Darklord wasn't mentioned, but he raps more about general nerdy things, like an entire song about Craig's List, or one devoted to grammar, than video games. One of my favorite non-YTC nerdcore lines about games is from Beefy/The Grammar Club: "Well let me see ya crouch, crouch forward, walk a little, then punch / Serving all these kids hadoukens for lunch."

Anywho, my favorite nerdcore artist is definitely YTCracker, and for those interested, you can get his EP "NerdRap Entertainment System" for free, here: http://www.ytcracker.com/nes/ I just love how well he works video game allusions in, especially in "N.E.S.", which is basically a giant string of video game allusions, and the entire album should not be missed. If you want to buy a YTC album, I'd recommend "Serious Business", more specifically the song "I Am A Pirate": "Smoke, drink, hack a computer / Drink, smoke, first person shooter", and more odes to being a digital pirate, over souped-up versions of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme.

So, yeah. Nerdcore is pretty cool.
 

vxicepickxv

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Sep 28, 2008
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I haven't really had too much of a chance to hear a lot of nerdcore. I'll be sure to check it out.
 

The Random One

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May 29, 2008
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I love gaming culture that has little to do directly with games.

I'm really torn about that Guitar Hero Hero song. It's really smart, and it's obviously made by a gamer, but while I don't really like Guitar Hero I can't stand people who keep arguing it's nothing like playing a real guitar, because no one said it's like playing a real guitar, and, in fact, that's kind of the point.
 

Kawaii_Nai

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Dec 28, 2008
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Excellent article on amazing people. Their songs tell eloquent stories about things that happen on the regular. I :heart: Nerdcore! (^_~)
 

Nathan Meunier

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Nov 19, 2007
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Thanks for the positive comments folks. There's a lot of cool stuff happening in the world of geeky rap. Awesome.