When you thought there were enough subcategories of rap, here comes another one to the list. Just don't expect it to be about growing up in the hood or getting capped. The only hood listeners will hear about is a town in Middle Earth or a bullet bouncing off of Superman's chest.
Nerdcore hip-hop is exactly what it sounds like. Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, DC Vs Marvel - Oh my!
But similar to other under appreciated things out there, such as grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in tomato soup - don't knock it until you've tried it.
California nerd and rapper MC Frontalot is believed to be the founder of nerdcore hip-hop himself, spawning more and more followers. With a documentary titled Nerdcore For Life in the works due out in theaters this spring, this genre of hip-hop is snowballing.
It's not all in-your-face nerdiness. Just as G4 is now acceptable for secure men to watch, nerdcore is evolving and once you get a taste, you are hooked....mostly because you can secretly relate.
A featured nerdcore artist in the upcoming film is Keith A. Moore, AKA Beefy from our very own Pasco. A bit edgy like Jimmy Pop from Bloodhound Gang, a tinge of Fred Durst's vocals, and perhaps the smooth flow of Fat Joe, all comprise this up-and-coming rapper. His style is natural and his songs are record-label worthy. Listeners could be rocking out to his song on the radio before realizing all of the nerd-like references:
"1-800-NERDCORE you can call anytime
I'll check out your website and help you out with your rhyme
All complaints will be patched directly to line 4
A thousand kids all screaming 'Am I nerdcore?'"
Moore first dove into rap five years ago when trying to impress a girl he sat behind in his history class that mentioned she liked rap. Although it did not spark a gangster-like romance, it did ignite his passion for rhyming.
As the topics of his songs focused more on what made people laugh, he strayed from mainstream rap figuring he couldn't rap about what he didn't know. What he did know were a lot of comic book back-stories. Five years later, he's performing with the best nerdcore artists out there, such as the Seattle hip-hop/funk-rock fusion band Optimus Rhyme.
Recently the trailer for Nerdcore For Life was released on YouTube.com and has spawned more than half a million views. With the recognition he's getting from YouTube Moore hopes to pursue his dreams, whether they be in producing music or performing.
Debating between going to California so he may attend music school or heading to New York with a friend to perform full time, Moore is loving every bit of his life right now.
Like your average Peter Parker, Moore has a regular day job working for Papa Murphy's but all work and no play doesn't apply here. Moore has his own weekly podcast he hosts with friends as well as his own Web site along with a comic strip he updates every now and then. During his down time he reads online comics, graphic novels, plays video games, and dedicates songs to Chun-Li from Street Fighter. But don't knock him for lovin' fictional characters. Mainstream hip-hop artist Jay-Z is even paying homage to the heroes we've grown up with.
"I just re-read [Kingdom Come] the other day, because Jay-Z's album is called Kingdom Come and in the song Kingdom Come he mentions a lot of comic book characters in it and stuff and I'm like, 'I think Jay-Z's a nerd!'" Moore laughs.
Unlike Parker, Moore doesn't have any superpowers or a costume he lounges around in, and he doesn't even produce his own beats - he has friends do it for him or he grabs royalty free music off the internet. In doing so, his first album is a smorgasbord of sounds with a plethora of influences. But similar to Parker's selflessness he's not interested in capitalizing off of nerdcore hip-hop. In fact, his whole first album is available free on his Web site www.beefyness.com.
"I am not being tinted by the evils of greed
Why in the hell do you think that I made my album free?
So now you have cash for an X-Box or a Wii
And you're gonna need every dime for a Playstation 3"
Lyrically, the majority of his songs are derived from his daily life of comics, video games, and the internet. With songs such as Feel So Good and Webcomic Junkie, it's no wonder he loves nerdcore hip-hop so much.
So that leaves just one more question. How exactly did he get his nickname "Beefy?"
"Someone on a message board long, long ago called me 'MC Beefy B' to mock me, but I actually liked the Beefy part so I used it," Moore explains.
With the promotion of Nerdcore For Life and showcasing with L337 nerdcore artists, it's strange that Moore has somehow managed to have never performed in the Tri-Cities.
Too rap for rock shows and too nerdy for rap shows, he finds it difficult to get booked at Ray's Golden Lion or 321 Artspace. However he has no problem getting gigs in Seattle where nerdcore rap is more prevalent.
"It would be nice to do a show in my hometown," he half-jokes.