24/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 10:59

Nerdcore: hip-hop for rhyming geeks

Category: Technology

Published: 22nd Sep 2010 10:05:36

The terms "nerd" and "geek" are not names traditionally associated with the stylised and egocentric world of hip-hop.

But now musicians are giving them a makeover in a form of music known as nerdcore.

"Nerdcore is like every other sort of hip hop, just considerably less cool," said MC Frontalot, one of the founding fathers of the scene.

The subject matter stands in contrast to that traditionally explored in hip-hop, he explained.

"Topics include video games, science fiction, dungeons and dragons, but the deeper themes also look at feelings of alienation, paranoia and inadequacy that must always be battled in order to leave your apartment."

Geek chic may have become de rigour with the fashionistas but MC Frontalot believes that becoming a real nerd is based on childhood experience.

"A nerd is someone who was conditioned as they were growing up to think that he or she didn't have the ability to fit in socially.

"Most of the time that's because we were smart."

However, proponents of the genre are keen to point out that not all geeks are cut from the same cloth.

"In the Venn diagram of geekdom, you become a geek by association," said Adam WarRock, who left his job as an attorney to become a full time rapper.

One of his first singles addressed the tendency to assume that all geeks have the same interests.

"All of my friends love Dr Who but I have never seen it. I have nothing against it but people seem surprised because I'm a geek, but not that sort of geek."

Nerdcore MC Madhatter McGinnis thinks that geekdom is simply becoming more mainstream.

"My personal take is not that nerdcore is getting big but that the whole world population are becoming nerds," he said.

We may not have been picked first for dodge ball or at the high school dance but we reach out across the internet to work together”

"My three year old daughter will exceed my computer skills; nerds run the defence systems for the country. I think the music is appealing to these themes."

Some have noted that the themes of nerdcore and hip hop rap rarely overlap.

However, some argue that nerdcore like grassroots hip hop is all about keeping it real.

"The origins of hip-hop were about politics, community, survival and entertainment," said MadHatter.

"Today hip hop is not really about that anymore. You have people on the radio talking about the yachts they own and the people they shoot and none of that is real.

"But people rapping about programming languages or role-playing games; that is all real.

"It's people rapping about what they really are. That's more hip-hop than anything you hear on the radio."

However, one thing that does tally with mainstream rap music is that female performers are in the minority.

"There's not a lot of girls - I think I am the only one in Canada," said Nursehella, an MC from Canada.

She puts the lack of female artists down to the confidence needed to stand up and rhyme in public.

"If girls who are nerdy can rap and write rhymes, that's great. They also need to have the confidence to sing them and record something, those puzzle pieces are a bit harder to find and fit together."

But for budding artists, there is support amongst the musicians, who view each other as peers rather than rivals.

"It's one of the most supportive subgenres I have come across," said MadHatter. "We make music at our house. We set up studios because we are proficient with computers and know how to make it all work

He said a lot of the musicians have made songs together but have never met each other.

"That's where the internet steps in," he said.

"We may not have been picked first for dodge ball or at the high school dance but we reach out across the internet to work together without even leaving the house."

You can hear more about nerdcore in this week's edition of Outriders.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. Nerdcore: hip-hop for rhyming geeks [Online] (Updated 22nd Sep 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/92340/Nerdcore-hip-hop-for-rhyming-geeks [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • DJ Dave Lee Travis denies indecent assault charge in court

    Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of indecent assault against a woman, aged over 16, in January 1995.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • DJ Dave Lee Travis denies indecent assault charge in court

    Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of indecent assault against a woman, aged over 16, in January 1995.
  • Crime falls 15% in England and Wales

    Overall crime in England and Wales fell by 15% in 2013, according to official figures.
  • Bryn Defaid opencast mine could create 50 Aberdare jobs

    Plans for a new opencast coal mine creating 50 jobs in the south Wales valleys are being recommended for approval by local councillors.
  • Man arrested over Johanna Young death

    A man has been arrested over the murder of a teenage girl who went missing more than 20 years ago.