Nerdcore Primer

If you're reading this, then, obviously, you have in your hands The Nerdcore Primer, a CD I made for this round's MefiSwap. Now, this is my first MefiSwap, and I wasn't really sure what to do, so I just decided to pull together some of the absolute nerdiest tracks I had in my mp3 collection - showing off the Nerdcore genre, which is, at the bare minimum, a bunch of geeks rapping, and, at the widest possible range, a mix of electroclash, new wave, j-pop, tv themes, industrial, goth, mashes, and a whole lot more. Is it nerdy? Then it's nerdcore.

Because I truly am a nerd, I'm including URLs for all the bands. If you like what you hear, there's a lot more there at the various sites.

I hope you enjoy this CD. If you don't, pass it on, if you do, email me and tell me. I promise not to scream.

1. White Kids Love Hip Hop - mc chris - Knowing Is Half The Hassle
mc chris is one of the big names in the nerdcore rap scene - as big as you can be when your audience primarily consists of a couple of guys with broadband and a massive collection of mp3s. He busted out with his Star Wars song "Fett's Vette," and then began work on Sealab 2021 on Adult Swim. After being mentioned in a few articles, he began work on his own album, which this track is from. It's a great intro to what nerdcore consists of - obscure references, music that sounds like it comes from the old Nintendo system, and a weird mash of genres that oddly works.

2. Nine-Fingered Frodo - The Lords of the Rhymes
The Lords of the Rhymes are a novelty act, but only in that there's not a lot of range you can do when you're pretending to be Quickbeam (an Ent) and Bombadil (a different creature). It's The Lord Of The Rings fandom at its craziest and most delightful. I can't get enough of this particular song, but it might be because I'm surrounded by LOTR products every day at work, and it's always much more fun to imagine the hobbits jumping around and shouting "Ain't no party like a hobbit party 'cause a hobbit party don't stop."

3. Floating Bridge - MC Frontalot - Handmade Demo v.1.0.6
MC Frontalot is another one of the big names in the nerdcore scene - although he hasn't officially released an album, you can still get a collection of his songs if you donate $20 to his website. And it's worth it. Especially for the ultra-risqué and verging-on-offensive Star Wars themed song "Yellow Lasers". This song is, as he says on his site, "based on a PBS special about bridges." And can you honestly get nerdier?

4. Cock Mobster - MC Paul Barman - Paullelujah!
This is the song you don't play when your grandmother is visiting. It's a detailed listing of what this guy would do to a large number of female celebrities and it's far too hilarious to take offence at. You gotta be impressed by someone who mentions Liz Hurley, Winona Ryder, Kim Gordon, and Maxine Hong Kingston all in one song.

5. Cobra Wants You! - G.I.Joe Killaz
Unfortunately, it looks like the G.I. Joe Killaz have acquiesced to copyright problems and are now just calling themselves The Killaz. However, they began their life in the high-concept scheme of "The Baroness and Destro rap". And, oddly enough, it works. This is Cobra's recruitment song, and if you were a huge fan of G.I. Joe when you were little, you'll adore this song.

6. Love will Freak Us - dsico
A mash of Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On" and Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Shouldn't work, but it does - amazingly so. dsico is known for even more out there and exotic remixes, mashes, and covers. The website is fantastic, and definitely worth a look if you're in a mood for stuff that sounds familiar, but is completely different.

7. Fuck The Creationists - MC Hawking
Another novelty rapper, but with a twist. It's Stephen Hawking! Rapping! The master of science laying down some funky shit! Okay, it's a mysterious person with a vocoder, but, hey, it's amusing as hell, and this song is something you wish you could play at full blast at school board meetings.

8. DQ Blizzard - mc chris

Another mc chris song - this one you can't get off of his website or on any album, and it's also rather impressive with the speed, quality, and references in his rapping. If you're ever foolish enough to try to rap along, I can tell you that it's an experience in itself.

9. S Clubbed to Death - S Club 7 versus The Streets
When I downloaded this from Bastard Pop, it said it was S Club 7 vs. The Streets, but it's actually S Club versus Rob Dougan, and if you're a fan of The Matrix or know something about the British teen pop scene, it's a fabulous mash. And if you don't know either, consider yourself blessed.

10. Aqua Teen Hunger Force - Schoolly D
This is the theme song from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and the fact that they got Schoolly D, a hip hop pioneer that helped start gangsta rap before it became anything about East Coast and West Coast, is an added bit of obscure music coolness. The show is about a milkshake, a meatball, and a box of fries that fight crime. No, really.

11. Girl From Ipanema - Kompressor
German industrial from a nerd in Ohio. Only on the Internet would it make perfect sense. This cover is hilarious and you'll find yourself humming it at on a regular basis. You should also see his other songs, including a duet with MC Frontalot about the Germans taking over the world. If it meant more wacky industrial, I'd be all about it.

12. Nerdcore HipHop - MC Frontalot
The anthem for the genre, performed by MC Frontalot and generally the funkiest little thing you've ever heard. It's all about computers and being cool. And, oddly, it works. And you begin to feel rather cool yourself. Briefly.

13. For All The Boys In The World - Chicks On Speed
A loud and fabulous group of girls singing the finest electroclash to appear. It's peppy, it's mechanical, and it's about boys. It's a nice addition, and I was beginning to feel the lack of estrogen in this mix.

14. Brain - N.E.R.D. - In Search Of...
A heck of a lot more mainstream than the rest of this stuff, N.E.R.D. is the side project of the Neptunes, major producers in the hip-hop/R&B/pop world. But they're still pretty damn nerdcore, as proven by this tale of love, sex, and brains.

15. You Get Mad At Napster - Princess Superstar - Is
Princess Superstar has been called the female Eminem, the white Lil' Kim, and a million other random comparisons in order to get people to understand her, but what she is one of the best damn rappers out there. Here, she gets a little nerdy herself with her rant about kids trying to front themselves better than her.

16. Through Being Cool - Devo - Hot Potatoes
But where would nerdcore be without these guys? Before there was nerdcore, there was Devo - four guys in plastic suits with plastic hair, singing about giving up on the social world and becoming the biggest nerds you could be. And we salute them, these trailblazers in the art of nerddom. Plus, they're just freakin' awesome.

17. Fett's Vette - mc chris
You're probably beginning to think that there's too much mc chris on this mix, but there was no way I could make a mix about being a nerd and not include this song. "My name is Boba Fett, I know my shit is tight". Boba Fett raps, and it's the single most brilliant bit of Star Wars fandom known to humanity.

18. Electric Sensei - Halcali
This is one part Nintendo game, one part J-Pop, and one part just plain old wacky perfection. I can't work out much about Halicali, but the journal I downloaded the mp3 from is a treasure trove of Japanese Pop, from sugar-sludge ballads to the utterly perkiest girlbands.

19. Get off the Internet - Le Tigre - From The Desk Of...
Getting a little too nerded out? Then get off the Internet! This is Kathleen "From Bikini Kill" Hanna's newest band, and it's pretty hardcore feminist dykeadelia. This is one of their activist driven songs, including the lyric "destroy the right wing." How can you beat that?

20. The Lords Of The Rhymes - The Lords of the Rhymes
The other track from The Lords of the Rhymes - the one that gets passed around from nerd to nerd, whispering tales of nerdcore heaven to be found in a single mp3. And this pretty much has it all - tight lyrics, strange samples, and the phrase "elf booty got soul!" If you're going to their website, you absolutely must see the video for it - if only for the beatboxing Gollum.

21. Geek - mc chris
And, finally, the anthem for the mix, and for all of us, I think. If you remember getting the crap kicked out of you in high school, then this will remind you of those halcyon days...and how glad you are that you moved on.

Thanks for listening!