Nerdcore Hip-Hop Compilation

September 9th, 2006

I guess you could say that I’ve been into Nerdcore Hip-Hop since before I knew what it was, and maybe before it knew what it was (just how long has MC Hawking been dropping phat rhymes, now?). I kept promising myself that I’d put together a collection of the best of the genre and put it on a CD, but the guys at Rhyme Torrents did us all one better by getting almost all the major artists in the genre to contribute songs along with a bunch of MCs and DJs I’ve never heard of, producing in total 4 albums worth of music, an astonishing amount of which is actually decent (and occasionally excellent) listening material. Nerdcore Hip-Hop, for the uninitiated, is rap about Nerd-friendly topics; programming, gaming (tabletop or video), and the trials and triumphs of being a social outcast are standards. Samples of video game music, science fiction television and movie clips, and synthesized computer voices and sounds are frequent accompaniments. Basically, anything that might get a story on Slashdot is fair game for a Nerdcore artist. Below the fold, I’ll review each of my favorites and least favorites from this four volume collection.

Volume I

  • “Nerdcore Hip-Hop 2006” by Badd Spellah and MC Frontalot – MC Frontalot invented Nerdcore Hip-Hop…well, not really, but he is (by popular account) the source of the genre’s name. He’s a genuine talent, and this track is an excellent introduction to the genre and this collection.
  • “The Anime Convention (featuring Shael and Beefy)” by DJ Snyder – An excellent sample-and-scratch track on it’s own merit, sprinkled with geeky references to Anime that give it that Nerdcore flavor.
  • “Legendary Rhymes” by ZeroBitRate with SashRa – I guess if you’re a Zelda fanatic, this track might be worthwhile. I’m not, and I find it’s 8-bit loop and monotonic rap style extremely grating.
  • “Kill Dash Nine” by Monzy – This track is about as Nerdcore and as Hip-Hop at the same time as this genre gets, being a face off between feuding Nerdcore artists (Monzy v. MC Plus+) about whose computer skills are more worthy of their respective braggadacio. Probably incomprehensible to non-computer geeks.
  • “Off the Markov” by Lil’ Nix – By one of the rare female Nerdcore artists and sprinkled with authentic geek-ese, I want to like this track, I really do, but there’s just something missing from Lil’ Nix’s style.
  • “Nursehellamentary” by Nursehella – Here’s a girl who’s got plenty of what Lil’ Nix is lacking, backed by an infectious loop and sample track and fronting tons of attitude. One of the best from the whole collection.
  • “breakingPLS_WDTH(rayogarrmx)” by the rap shrew – On the album liner they refer to this as glitch-hop. As noise music goes, maybe this isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not my bag.
  • “Rock Out With Your Hawk Out” by MC Hawking – Who can solve quantum physics problems while simultaneously popping a cap in your ass? MC Hawking, that’s who. One of the giants of the genre, this is an excellent example of his style.
  • “Miss Information (featuring Beefy)” by Shael Riley – Slick rhymes inventing fake bios for a number of prominent Nerdcore artists, Shael Riley’s smooth style and catchy chorus makes this one worth multiple plays.
  • “Emulation Station” by 1337 G33K B3AT – A paean to classic games and PCs running emulation software to play those games on TVs. The excellent backing loops and samples make this a great track, even with an artist who sounds 14.
  • “Divided States” by Meter Versus Yard – A painfully monotonous and low-fi loop combined with muddled vocals to which way too many effects have been applied put this track in the “listen once” category.

Volume II

  • “Mountain Kind (featuring MC Frontalot)” by MC Hawking’s Dark Matter Band – Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter, these are two flavors that go great together, although the stoner-centric lyrics are maybe not the nerdiest around.
  • “The Frontalittle Squad Highly Recommends Penny Arcade” by The Frontalittle Squad – The Frontalittle Squad is some sort of ridiculously huge rap collective, and although this track is sort of uneven (the chorus…ugh), any PA fan has got to give them props for this tribute song.
  • “Obey The Moderator” by Optimus Rhyme – Optimus Rhyme are another giant of the genre, and truly skilled artists. This is just a plain great track and anyone who’s been on an internet forum should appreciate it.
  • “–aAHh-aaaaagnstgel dEEvlll (featuring High-C)” by The Rap Shrew – More glitch-hop, but not significantly improved by High-C’s rhymes, which are over-manipulated to the point of incomprehensibility.
  • “Lo-Fi All Stars” by MechP – An 8-bit loop that doesn’t grate backs up this smoothly performed song praising classic gaming, culminating in a surprisingly catchy rendition of the Contra combo.
  • “In My Time” by YTCracker – Besides having one of the funniest handles around, YTCracker delivers some skill on this one. This track is clever, nerdy, and has some great samples behind it.
  • “JinxPalm” by DoomsDay Device – This might be a decent song if the vocals weren’t completely inaudible and incomprehensible, but I guess I’ll never know. Bummer.
  • “Make Your Next Move” by Bedlam Rock Pavement – A professional-sounding collection of samples backs this groovy, slick rap track. Good stuff.
  • “Gustuv’s Blues” by Oddioblender – Have you ever listened to Kip Dynamite’s song at the end of “Napoleon Dynamite” and wished he’d produced more stuff? Me either…but I guess somebody might have, because this track exists.
  • “I’ll Show You How (Drown Radio remix2)” by Scream Club – Lesbian Nerdcore rappers who also rap in French? How could you not like this track?
  • “Dramanet” by Emergency Pizza Party – Some SMB samples spice up this well-done track about some of the more unfortunate aspects of internet social networking.
  • “A Student After M” by Sir-Up – A promising D&B-esque lead in to another track where the artist’s apparent lack of a decent microphone makes what might be a decent song largely unlistenable.
  • “Top Secret (featuring Masta Cwik)” by Myf – Another great sample-and-scratch track, with cool rhymes from Masta Cwik. One of my faves from this volume.
  • “Big in the Mind” by Andrew Octopus – This “song” is basically a crappy spoken-word piece laid on top of mostly random noise. Not recommended.
  • “The Axis of Good” by Meter Versus Yard – Same problems as their track from Volume I above. Bleh.

Volume III

  • “Proud to be WACK” by Old Scratch – Old Scratch’s rhythm and rhyme make up for his slightly monotonic sound, and he delivers an excellent “battle” track here. Look out for this one.
  • “Bit Pop” by Shael Riley – Another extremely catchy chorus from Shael Riley punctuates this very fun track. Try not to bob your head and smile, go on.
  • “St. Roman’s Passion (Holier Than Thou Mix)” by DeeJay Manticore – This instrumental-only track has a very cool Trip-Hop kind of sound to it, and my only real complaint is that it’s maybe a bit too long.
  • “So Long Kids” by Ultraklystron – A catchy groove makes this song slamming a clueless Anime importing company well worth the listen.
  • “Da Black Market OC ReMix” by Earthbound – I have no idea what game this song is about, but it’s fun and extremely well-done.
  • “This is…funky49” by funky49 – Another artist in desperate need of a better microphone, funky49 lays it out in this reference-heavy and bassy track.
  • “Ants” by Dr. Octagon – Dr. Octagon is slick, slick, slick, and this is a very cool track.
  • “Ain’t Sayin Nuthin (holophlo mix, featuring Clarence Boddyker)” by shagrugge – Boring and monotonous.
  • “Lick Your Own Butthole Dance” by Rappy McRapperson – Imagine if Carrottop did a rap song. There you go.
  • “Reign of Error” by Sudden Death – The trials and tribulations of modern computing laid out in a sort of Fresh Prince-esque style dirge of errors, spam, and malware. Fun stuff with an excellent use of computer sound samples.
  • “In A Way” by Wally Glutton – Monotonous, slow, and dull. I think this is a game tribute song, but I don’t know to which one, and I don’t much care.
  • “Fuck the MPAA” by Futuristic Sex Robotz – Bitching about the MPAA, the RIAA, and the BSA in high style. Infectious samples and a shout-out chorus make this song great.
  • “Chuck Norris” by Bedlam Rock Pavement – Another good one from BRP, dropping more references than you can shake a stick at.
  • “When in Rome (Kid Charlamaign Rock Remix)” by High-C – If you’re not a badass, don’t sample Tori Amos. That’s all I’ve got to say.

Volume IV

  • “N.C.H.H” by DJ Snyder – This quick little track is fun and its Frontalot sample is a good lead-in for Volume IV.
  • “Get Lifted” by Microphone Messenging – Microphone Messenging displays its skills on this simple but good track. The backing loop gets a little old, but you gotta like a song with references to Transformers and Voltron.
  • “Happy Valium Meal” by Drown Radio Therapy – Lyrical speed approaching Blackalicious’ trademark style is featured in this smooth track. Good stuff.
  • “Brand New Religion (featuring MC Wreckshin)” by Big Tizzle – A funny track about a cult that worships Calvin and Hobbes.
  • “Lifestyle Music for the Vertiginous People” by Diskette – Over seven minutes of almost random noise. I’m clearly not one of the Vertiginous People.
  • “Bill Gates Revolution” by 1337 G33k B34t – Our barely pubescent rapper is back, slamming on everybody’s favorite billionaire to hate on. Update: 1GB isn’t barely pubescent…she just has an appropriately high voice.  Doh!
  • “Flame Extension” by High-C – Slow and dull, again. Move along, nothing to see here.
  • “Nerdcore For Life” by Various Artists – this 16 minute epic collaboration features rap from half the artists in the compilation, and samples galore. Surprisingly fun.

That should give you a headstart on what’s worth a listen and what’s worth a miss, but with 84 songs in the full compilation (and another volume on the way), there’s tons of material out there, and it’s obviously growing fast as a genre. Go fire up BitTorrent and have fun, folks!

2 Responses to “Nerdcore Hip-Hop Compilation”

  1. High-C says:

    Mheh. Thanks for the write-ups. Volume Five preview is online now: for the track listings.

  2. Skwid says:

    Heya, High-C. Thanks for dropping by, for being a good sport, and for contributing so much time and effort to my favorite burgeoning genre.

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