He is MC Frontalot
An interview with the progenitor of nerdcore hip-hop.
Originally posted November 3, 2009 on Game and Player.
He calls himself “the world’s 579th greatest rapper,” but if you’re a fan like me, you think he’s pretty much the best. I had the privilege of chatting with a nerd of nerds, MC Frontalot.
Thanks for making some time for us! Would you introduce yourself and what you do for those who might be unfamiliar with your work?
I am MC Frontalot! I am the progenitor of nerdcore hip-hop, and still its final boss.
What does nerdcore mean and how did you make it up?
Nerdcore is the idea of taking your terrible nerd shame and wearing it like a helmet, for running around blindly and smashing into things with. To be simple: you act all hardcore about how much of a nerd you are. I made it up to make fun of myself, and then it sort of became this whole underground movement, and now it’s slightly less underground and more of a whole music genre than a movement, but still completely fringey and unlikely to me remembered by music historians. What I think is actually interesting is that in the time since I came up with the term, the idea of nerd pride has gone from being an absurd contradiction to a sort of a ho-hum and commonly accepted truth. The world changes.
Which song of yours do you feel best represents the genre of nerdcore hip hop?
There are several to choose from! Nerdcore Hip-Hop is the origin of the phrase. “Nerdcore Rising” is the title track from my first album. “Shame Of The Otaku” is about bashfulness and isolation and eventually self-satisfaction, camaraderie, and glee.Nerdcore is acting all hardcore about how much of a nerd you are.Maybe that last one best communicates my idea of it all.
You were in a film called Nerdcore Rising, which documented your very first national tour. What are your thoughts looking back on that experience and is another film in the works?
I certainly hope they don’t make any more movies about me! I am not getting any younger. Being in that one was pretty fun, though. When people follow you around with cameras for a few weeks, it elevates your sense of self-importance immeasurably.
Do you have a favorite song or perhaps one that you are the most proud of?
I like “You Got Asperger’s” from the second album and “Diseases Of Yore” from the current. I’m working on one called “First World Problem” for the next record, which I think may turn out particularly well.
I love the names of your albums. There’s Nerdcore Rising, Secrets from the Future, and Final Boss. How do you come up with them?
Each of those is named after a song I had already written and wanted to include. For the impending fourth album I came up with the title first and had to write a song to match it, for consistency. It should be out in early April ’10.
What kind of gamer is MC Frontalot? Do you have a favorite genre?
I love sandboxes and god games. I’m playing Prototype, Brutal Legend, and Tropico 3 right now, although I’m trying very hard not to play any of them, since the album’s to-do list is massive.
Do you have a favorite video game soundtrack or theme song?
The best part of being MC Frontalot: Free Xbox Creators Club premium membership. Hugs from fans. Not having an office job.The music from the Katamari series is spectacular. Most of the other things that people seem to love, like Mario and Final Fantasy, leave me cold.
Our Editor-in-chief asks, “In a recent session of 1 vs. 100 Live, nearly half of all contestants were eliminated because they couldn’t identify the Beastie Boys. Is American education failing?”
I assume those contestants were young. Beasties are strictly oldies/retro mix these days. I mean, I had Paul Revere memorized in 6th grade. But even I could not name three tracks from The 5 Boroughs.
Where do you hope to see yourself five years from now?
Doing voicework for cartoons and raps for Sesame Street. Or still jumping around on stage if you youngsters can stand to watch.
A reader asks, “Are you still doing theater work and is there any chance of finding a recording of your zombie love story?”
Gm7, my keyboardist, writes musical theater full time. I was only dabbling with Young Zombies In Love. If you want a copy of the album, though, you can grab it on emeraldrain.com. It was the first real CD I produced, and I learned a million things about home recording while we were doing it. It is a fun thing to listen to if you wonder what my cheesy singing sounds like.
What is the best part about being MC Frontalot?
Free Xbox Creators Club premium membership. Hugs from fans. Not having an office job. Worst part: chipping my front teeth from rapping too fast. Happens a lot.
Anything else you would like to say to our readers? Tour dates? A haiku, perhaps?
The tour and the album are both expected right after Pax East 2010! Be on my e-mail list to never miss such things. Or follow my twitter. Or just look at my web page all the time. Thanks for the interview!