By Nima Maghame
They say hip-hop is about who you represent. Gangster rap glorifies cheap women and expensive cars. But rapper MC Frontalot, who performs Mon/15 at Cafe du Nord, represents an entirely different group of people who are more into computer software and Internet jokes then cash and hoes.
Originally from San Francisco, the former software programmer has been carving his own niche of rap with a movement he dubs “nerdcore." And he's not alone when it comes to spitting rhymes about geek life. Over the past decade, nerdcore has been rising; MC Chris, MC Lars and Ytcracker (who will be performing on Feb 21st at Bottom of the Hill), Jesse Dangerously, Futuristic Sex Robots and a host of other nerd lyricists have posted mp3s of songs with topics ranging from Star Wars characters to role-playing games.
While the Internet has embraced the artists, mainstream audiences are finding it hard to relate. Swinging back and forth from depicting geek fantasies to humorous self-deprecation, rappers like MC Frontalot speak to a generation plugged-in. His corky flow bounces up and down to instrumentals that sample sounds from all over the musical map. The upbeat music moves naturally with the MC's thesaurus-filled rhymes. Fans understand the meaning to words like Fap, MMPOG and Mud cards, but Frontalot has been persistent in getting nerdcore heard by new ears. He is releasing his fourth album, Zero Day, in April. The first single “Your Friend Wil" -- about Star Trek star and Just a Geek author Wil Wheaton -- is already available for download.
“I really felt like coming back to nerdcore-as-a-movement on this one, which I feel I've gone away from in past albums,” says Frontalot, who includes a slew of featured nerd rappers on Zero Day.
San Francisco is one stop on a countrywide tour for Frontalot, and he has a documentary out, Nerdcore Rising, which chronicles his first album release. Time will tell if that title stays true.
MC FRONT A LOT
8 p.m., $10
Cafe du Nord
2174 Market, SF
MC LARS, YTCRACKER
With k. flay
Sun/21, 10 p.m., $10-12
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th, SF