What? From electro-pop pioneer Thomas Dolby to indie-rock progenitors the Feelies, nerds have always played a subversive but vital role in the field of popular music. The latest calculator-toting egghead? San Francisco’s MC Frontalot, progenitor of “nerdcore hip-hop,” who spits rhymes about video games, computers, and child prodigies over jittery, lo-fi electro-hip-hop beats.His third record, the recently released Final Boss, packs more wit and bumping beats than a T-83 calculator — although, unlike the T-83, Frontalot don’t play no games.
Who? Born Damian Hess, MC Frontalot adopted his hip-hop persona in 1999.Frontalot rose to Internet fame through his entries (and, more often than not, victories) in the online musical competition Song Fight, and is credited with coining the term “nerdcore” in the 2000 song of the same name.In addition to releasing three studio albums in the past four years — 2005’s debut Nerdcore Rising, 2007’s Secrets from the Future, and Final Boss — Frontalot has collaborated with fellow well-known nerdcore artists MC Chris, Optimus Rhyme, and MC Lars.
Fun Fact: Because there’s nothing nerdier than web comics, Frontalot’s “Living at the Corner of Dude and Catastrophe” is considered the official theme song of the critically-acclaimed online comic book Achewood.
Watch: MC Frontalot, “Wallflowers”