MC Frontalot

Secrets from the Future

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As with his first album, Nerdcore Rising, there are plenty of geeky subjects in MC Frontalot's rapping on his second -- bad blogs, good sci-fi movies, and the joy of ping-pong to name a few -- but beyond that there are some surprising topics in Secrets from the Future. A missive to a boy having girl trouble because he keeps forgetting his high-functioning autism comes off as simultaneously melancholy and funky, with the heartbreaking refrain "You got Asperger's, kid" delivered over a rump-shaking beat. "Origin of Species" is a harangue aimed at creationists aided by country guitar and an earnest hick chorus. These slightly more serious songs are a departure from his jokier material, and some of them are less memorable for it. When he does hit the geekier topics, his humor returns. Combined with the killer beats, that stops the occasional obscurity of his references from being off-putting. Plus, he's got enough internal rhymes to make Rakim proud. When he's referencing webcomics and text adventures, the elite programming of Baddd Spellah and the rocking guitar of Brad Sucks keep the music worth the eartime, even if the words may go over the heads of the less nerdy in the audience. "It Is Pitch Dark" reminisces about the glory days when computer games were just text on a screen and "Gonna Be Your Man" takes the idea of giving something back to the fans further than is healthy by suggesting Frontalot wants them to have his organs, whether they need them or not. Every few years hip-hop throws out a fresh subgenre that is predicted to be the next big thing, and it usually ends up another niche in the underground, like hyphy or grime before it. Nobody suspected nerdcore would even achieve that level of popularity, but with the continuing success of MC Frontalot and some of his followers, both artistic and financial -- releasing killer albums like this one, getting write-ups in mainstream papers like The Washington Post -- nerdcore hip-hop has proved itself to be the little subgenre that could, and deservedly so.

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