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July 27, 2005

"Nerdcore:" Finally, Rap Music That Speaks To Me

I'd really wanted to talk about this on the show a little, but I ran out of time.

Is it a parody/hoax? It sure reads like one, but the links all seem to work. So it's either real or someone went to a little bit of trouble to provide internet evidence of the "nerdcore" rap phenemenon.

Anyway, it's pretty funny:

Tupac and Biggie, move over. A new hip-hop feud is brewing that glamorizes not guns and 'hos but Java and secure encryption algorithms.

While gangsta rap is seen as celebrating the violence and aggression that claimed two of its brightest stars, "geeksta" rap is a hip-hop genre celebrating coding skills and school grades.

See photosAlso dubbed "nerdcore," this branch of hip-hop is for geeks, by geeks. Geeksta rappers adopt the same combative verbal-assault stylings of their forerunners, but bust rhymes about elite script compiling and dope machine code.

The term was first coined in 2000 by nerdy New York rapper MC Frontalot in a track of the same name. Nerdcore now refers to artists waxing lyrical about topics as disparate as engineering and Lord of the Rings.

In recent months, the field has seen a growing number of releases from computer science labs, where egocentric grad students show off their Ph.D. credentials in tracks like "Have to Code" and "End of File."

"The stigma that was once attached to computer geeks and role-playing nerds is diminishing incredibly fast," said "digital gangster" Bryce Case Jr., aka ytcracker. "It has almost become trendy to have skills on a computer. Rather than guns and 'hos, I speak about DDOS attacks and camgirls."

The self-proclaimed "#1 greatest computer science gangsta rapper ever" is MC Plus+, a geeksta leading light whose moniker comes from the C++ programming language.

The Purdue University, Indiana, Ph.D. candidate and "CS pimp," whose album Algorhythms was recorded with pirated software, calls himself "the Tupac of the computer science world."

MC Plus+ rattles off lines like: "I'm encrypting shit like every single day; sending it across a network in a safe way; protecting messages to make my pay; if you hack me you're guilty under DMCA."

But Plus+'s flow is dissed on the opposite coast by geeksta peers like Dan Maynes-Aminzade, aka Monzy, a 25-year-old Minnesota-born Stanford grad student who recorded a dis track specifically to insult his rap rival.

"Our raps are filled with braggadocio, but instead of boasting about our bitches, blunts, Benzes or Benjamins, maybe we talk about our math skills or the efficiency of our code," Monzy said.

"Drama in the PhD," a nerdcore taunting rap.

Thanks to Jacob.

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posted by Ace at 12:44 PM

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