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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    MC Frontalot: The originator of nerdcore

    Damian Hess is a hop hop innovator. For the last decade, he’s has been perfecting his rhyming skills while developing a cult following. And he’s a nerd.

    That’s right: Hess is best known as MC Frontalot, the originator of the term nerdcore hip-hop. Before even thinking of defining the nerdcore, it’s best to start at the beginning. What’s a nerd?

    “”A nerd is defined by what he’s not,”” Hess said. “”Nerds are not cool.””

    “”It’s an identity formed by external pressures. Some part of you is ashamed, but as you grow up, some part of you cherishes what you got out of that.””

    As someone who obviously knows what he’s talking about, Hess differentiates between a nerd and a geek.

    “”Most people use the words interchangeably, but when I say geek I mean someone who has specialized knowledge,”” Hess said. “”A geek has to be good at something – even a jock can be a car geek.””

    One could say that nerdcore is hip-hop dealing in the subject matter of social outcasts and the intelligent.

    “”It’s exactly like regular hip hop, except totally different,”” Hess said. “”Regular hip hop, almost by definition, is about being cool.””

    Hess began experimenting with hip-hop near the end of the ’90s where his audience was considerably smaller than his current legion of Internet fans.

    “”My audience was a couple of anime figurines sitting on top of my monitor,”” Hess said.

    While it is undisputed that Hess invented the term nerdcore hip hop, other nerdcore rappers have been getting more attention. One such rapper is MC Chris, known not only for his music, but also appearances as “”MC Pee Pants”” on the Cartoon Network show Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

    Hess is not upset that he’s not the one getting TV appearances. He’s actually happy for MC Chris and his success. He believes it’s good for him as well since fans will be led to him after a few simple clicks online.

    Hess’ new album as MC Frontalot is called “”Secrets from the Future””. While you may expect the record to be a collection of blathering video game ramblings, Secrets is not a gimmick or a gag.

    “”I think people give my music a listen because they think it is funny,”” Hess said. “”Then, they’re pleasantly surprised that it’s not really novelty music.””

    One such surprise is the zany song “”Bizarro Genius Baby,”” in which Hess rhymes about his fictitious super-intelligent child. It takes a nerd to appreciate the song’s catchy hooks paired with the namedropping of influential mathematician Pierre de Fermat.

    Another memorable song is “”I Hate Your Blog.””

    “”All of my friend’s blogs are really stupid, but I can’t tell them that,”” Hess said.

    Hess also delves into controversial territory with “”Origin of Species.”” The song discusses the issue of creationism being taught in public schools. Hess’s sarcastic take on the matter comes in the track’s chorus: “”Do you really believe that we were nothing but them monkeys up in the trees? / Don’t it seem a little likelier that Adam and Eve did a lot of humping, and that was the origin of the species?””

    Hess self-releases his own music and is now working full-time as MC Frontalot. He wants to continue making rap music for the rest of his life. There is a problem with that goal, but Hess has it covered.

    “”My current scheme is that I’ll get too old to want anyone see me jump around on stage,”” said Hess, 33.

    When that time comes, Hess hopes to spend his time writing music for children. He has already contributed to a “”Sesame Street”” DVD.

    It’s important to note that Hess does indeed enjoy mainstream hip-hop. He’s a fan of Public Enemy, N.W.A. and De La Soul.

    “”I’ve always admired it,”” Hess said. “”Nerds always admire the cool kids.””

    MC Frontalot will perform Sunday night at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. The all-ages show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door.

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