MC Frontalot

Nerdcore Rising

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Putting the name of the genre right there in the name of the album is a bold move. While it helps record-store clerks file the CD correctly, it also means you'd better be good at whatever genre label it is you're adopting or, as in this case, naming. Fortunately, MC Frontalot happens to be the best there is at what he does, and what he does is rap about being a Poindexter. Nerdcore Rising is not only the fledgling nerdcore hip-hop subgenre's defining statement and manifesto, but its best release. This album alone is the argument for why people who played Dungeons & Dragons should be not only allowed, but encouraged to rap. Abandoning the blatantly unauthorized samples hijacked from the likes of Fiona Apple and Clyde Stubblefield that he attributed to DJ CPU in his demos, with Nerdcore Rising Frontalot has found a producing partner (and occasional keyboardist) in Baddd Spellah and a crew of likeminded geeks to fill in on drums, bass, tuba, and other instruments. This musical accompaniment is tilted to suit the subject matter so that "Goth Girls," which is about being too uncool to date girls in black, has eerie cello and washes of dirgey guitar, while "Pron Song" has appropriately glitchy beats for a tune about being addicted to Interrnet pornography. As well as quirky topics like those, Frontalot's also capable of tackling more mundane rap fare, although it's done in his personal style. After Public Enemy's Revolverlution track "Son of a Bush," there were plenty of MCs ready to take political potshots over the Iraq War, but their earnest sentiments were often couched in naïve imagery. Frontalot's "Special Delivery" is a remedy to that, a political track that makes its points with intellect rather than resorting to vague conspiracy theories. "Braggadocio" is a boast track in which he compares himself to the Karate Kid and claims "I stand 77 feet tall/I got eight balls/All y'all are subject to my thrall/I act appalled/When in receipt of less than the highest honor/Someday I'll be both revered and passé, like Madonna." If rap fandom can take the endless boasting, thuggery, cosmic ramblings, booty worship, gun talk, and revolution talk of traditional hip-hop seriously, Nerdcore Rising makes a solid case they should add self-deprecating geekishness to that list of encouraged subjects.

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