hip hop

Now It’s Time For a Little Braggadocio

The godfather of the nerdcore sub-genre, MC Frontalot is one of a few rappers that actually embraces it’s title. He better…he came up with it! It’s a controversial label to be sure, but it does make it easier for fans to find new artists they might like because of similar interests in content. Is every MC Frontalot song about nerd culture? No! Many are about his life and personal experiences. The same could be said for artists like MC Chris, Adam WarRock, Beefy, and many more. Frontalot owns it, though.

nerdcore music rap

Because Frontalot gave up his day job to pursue the rap game full-time before many of the others, he got to define some of what the sub genre is about. He paid his dues, played shows in small venues with only dozens of fans and sold shirts to get by. What makes this story cool is that it’s paid off for him. Sure those shows weren’t packed halls, but the fans who were there were HUNGRY to see him actually perform live. They spread the love harder and faster than other fans because they were able to connect directly with Damian and it made all the difference.

I found out about Front in 2000 after he had success on SongFight! and released “Nerdcore HipHop”. No one was writing songs this good about topics I actually cared about then. Many nerds/geeks had written off hip-hop because they couldn’t relate to the urban gangsta lifestyle but we could relate to songs about NOT getting girls and math. It was a revelation. A few years later, through Penny Arcade, I found others I knew had become enthralled by his rhymes. I have now seen him live four times and jump at the chance to see him anytime he’s in the area.

nerdcore rap hip-hop

by ~Blankie7

Since then, the albums have gotten more personal, production quality has increased and his music has inspired dozens of others to follow in his path. The 2008 documentary/tour movie, Nerdcore Rising rallied the sub genre around something they could start to really see as a legitimate scene. A few years later, it’s inclusion on the Netflix streaming library has broadened it’s audience even further. Recently, Front was a guest judge on the reality show contest “King of the Nerds”. His songs even appeared on NPR in an interview this year! Appearances like this and his Penny Arcade Expo shows have risen his profile above what many thought impossible for someone rallying around a group of people who had never really embraced hip-hop as something meaningful to them. He changed the game by rolling natural 20′s.

mc frontalot

MC Frontalot – http://frontalot.com

NPR Interview – http://www.npr.org/2013/03/01/173242992/rap-nerdy-to-me

MC Frontalot – @mc_frontalot

Unapologetic Super Fan

I’m a 31 year old professional guy who is a unabashed super fan of Adam WarRock. Now if I said that about someone less accessible or more famous like…Two Chainz or Coldplay people I know wouldn’t think twice about it. I’ve talked to Adam on a podcast I was on, I’ve had a conversation or two with him at one of his shows, e-mails back and forth, Twitter, Facebook, etc. He’s my age! Sticking with calling him Adam and not Eugene is even weird! Weirder still I’m potentially financially more well off than him! It’s not the typical fan to artist story.

nerdcore-indie-rap

Yet, it all started with the music for me. I saw him the first time with MC Lars, Megaran, and MC Chris in Cleveland. I was into the other three a lot prior to going to this show so I was blindsided when I heard him open that night with songs about Ultron and Doctor Who. His was my favorite performance of the night and I was downloading his tracks before I even left the show. Not only was the subject matter exactly the type of media I relate to, the hooks and beats were infectious. After 30, I know a lot of people who stick with what they already musically like and shut themselves off. I, luckily, don’t have that gene because I find new artists that become some of my favorites about every couple of months still. This was one of those experiences.

As much as I like Adam WarRock sounds, I am also just as impressed with his business model. Like myself, he chose something he’s good at because it’s fun and he loves it. The self produced indie model at it’s finest. Yet, he borrowed and tweaked the web comic ethos of giving people free content and making money from them in other ways. Sure, inadvertently, many artists (especially in the indie rap game) find themselves doing this because no one has figured out how to torrent t-shirts yet, but he’s doing it on purpose. WarRock embraces the idea that people are starving for content more than ever and top of mind awareness is hard to come by. By giving out free content, he’s got something to talk about that gets people excited every week and it makes marketing the actual albums easier. With as many free Adam WarRock songs as there are, the full length albums feel like events. When they come out, I’m more than happy to pay because the accumulated content that has been freely given away makes me eager to pay up.

nerdcore-hip-hop

The variety of the topics covered has done him well to build an audience but I believe that wasn’t the over calculated goal. I don’t know about you but I’m a geek (whatever that means these days). When I’m into something, I’m REALLY into it. I started watching Gravity Falls last summer (more on that later) and I had to get a Dipper hat on Etsy. The new TMNT show got me back in the Turtle Action Figure game again as well as classic collected editions of the comics. I’m the type of guy who nonstop listened to Hans Zimmer Batman scores leading up to the midnight release of The Dark Knight Rises. That all said, if I could rap…I’d do exactly what Adam does – express my passion. That’s what comes through in his songs to me. Passion for pop culture intertwined with his life experiences. For people like me, pop culture and/or geek culture is our culture.

Wrapping this up (no pun intended? well…a bit intended), why can’t I be a REALLY big fan of an artist who is approachable and feels very much at my level? Is hero worship of those who put in a big effort to appear “above it all” really healthy? I think it’s time for a different kind of artist to take over and my choice is Adam WarRock. Connecting directly with fans and being approachable is the basis for a movement being championed by those in the podcast medium like Chris Hardwick, Scott Aukerman, and John Hodgman and I think it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the new paradigm. With all media splintering and niches growing because of he Internet, Adam WarRock is the artist of the future…today. At the beginning for me, though, it was a song about Marvel vs. DC that I instantly related to. What will it be for you?

Adam WarRock Website – http://www.adamwarrock.com

Adam WarRock on Twitter – @eugewarrock

Adam WarRock Albums - http://adamwarrock.bandcamp.com

Eugene and Chris’s Podcast on Gravity Falls & Other Stuff – The Gravity Falls Gossiper

Batman’s Buddies

hip hop indie rap

MC Chris is one of the biggest Indie Rap stars in the minds of geeks worldwide. I’ve personally seen him live 5 times in a number of cities and he’s one of my all-time favorites. Any release of his is a big deal because he is probably too concerned with what his fans which is obvious in the production value of his songs. I’m not going to get into the controversy of this summer’s tour. It’s easy to look up. Everything that can be said has been said and his real fans have his back as always. I’d rather talk about this new EP, “Friends”.

rap hip hop indie batmanAlthough you could make a case for many of his albums to be considered concept albums, this is probably his first themed one. Those familiar with Adam Warrock are accustomed to releases where each song is on a similar subject but this is a first for MC Chris. Friends shows MC’s love of Batman through the eyes of his family. His last full album “Race Wars” featured the song Part 1 that was his definitive Batman song and probably the best song on the album. This new EP continues where that left off.

  • Part 2 is all about Dick Grayson. It’s his story leading up to and becoming Robin.
  • Part 3 is Gordon’s song and probably my favorite hook and song on the album.
  • Part 4 is the Batgirl track and is told from Dick Grayson’s POV. This is upbeat and songs like Old School MC Chris
  • Part 5 is the Alfred song that features a LOT of Batman history told FAST!

Each set of beats was chosen to match the character in a way only a fan could. It’s most apparent on Part 5′s use of the harpsichord to represent Alfred’s Britishness. A must of MC Chris fans and fans of Batman. If you’ve heard about MC Chris and wanted to try him out, check out this EP and get hooked!

Pick up the EP here for only $5.00 and support a fellow geek living the indie dream!

Here are samples of the tracks from this EP.

Episode 10

Nick talks about going to the MC Chris Concert in Cleveland, Adam and Nick give their thoughts on AvX #10 and The Walking Dead #11, and Short Box podcast introduces our yet to have a name, random topic giving Robot to the show, who prints us a question about the TMNT character, Splinter.

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http://www.shortboxpodcast.com/podcasts/sbpceps010.mp3