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Review: Nerdcore Hip-Hop Compilation CD Project 194

'Nerdcore' is a tricky thing to nail down. Some of it is simply novelty niche tracks with cheesy lyrics, and gimmicky derivative music. Some of it is inspired by trip-hop, others from 80s hip hop or 90s gangsta. A lot of it is really bad. And some of it is actually really good. Witty, sharp lyrics. Entertaining beats and excellent production value. You can hear all of these things on Rhyme Torrents Nerdcore Compilation. Read on for my review.

The best part is that this is all available freely as bittorrents. It'll take you many hours to wade through it all, but the gems in there make it worth the trip.

What I hear on these albums really runs a wide spectrum of music, both in terms of genre and production value. Some sound like a kid with his iMac and a mic. And there's others that sound just as produced as any mainstream studio release. Of course music is about more than how expensive of a mic you used: you'll hear "Good" songs in both groups.

Besides the fact that almost all of these tracks are 'Rap', if there is a unifying feature here it's that the songs are about nerdish things. You'll hear tracks reciting Pi, talking smack about operating systems, and games from Super Mario Bros to Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons. Much of the Post Dre rap you've heard celebrates the 'Gangsta' lifestyle. Personally I find much of this very hard to take seriously. Likewise, much of the lyrics just get campy. It's like a Weird Al mad libs lyric, where the rapper tries to rhyme whatever techish things pop into mind. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

MC Hawking is a great example. His track essentially an MC Battle style rap that relies on the synthesizer voice gimmick. But damnit it actually works. The lyrics are tight and amusing. I wish the hook was stronger, but thats a track I'll enjoy listening to.

Monzy's 'So Much Drama in the PhD' works as well. 'I run gmake and gcc / and i ain't never called malloc without calling free'. The parts come together really well. He might not be the best rapper you've ever heard, but I really enjoy the track. But the lyrics are ultimately that of a novelty song. Very entertaining with a good beat, but very niche.

Ytcracker's "In My Time" is just a fantastic track. You'll be hard pressed not to tap your foot. His lyrics are less obvious then most anything else on the rest of the album. He might be referencing the Atari 2600 or downloading porn to a USB pen, but you could play this track outside a compilation like this and it works. He's probably my favorite on the set. I had to snag more of his stuff from his web site, and it was interesting to see that his work is actually progressing. Having mined the most extreme end of the tech/geek world, his last few songs are stronger for it.

Another common theme here is liberal use of samples. Almost everything has samples from somewhere. You'll here the sound of Mario catching a mushroom integrated into the beats of tracks, and countless game theme songs and sound effects split apart and remixed. Sometimes it's just a gimmick. Other times it works musically. In addition to liberal use of sampling, copyright issues are a common theme in many tracks as well. Sometimes it's subtle, flippant references to downloading movies. But in the case of "Fuck the MPAA"... well, not so much in the way of subtle ;) Don't get me wrong- I got little warm fuzzies hearing sounds that i haven't heard in years, back from my childhood. But after 70 odd tracks, the novelty fades.

On a somewhat related notes, Googling a few of these artists and you'll find another common theme- the remix. Many of these artists feature remixes on their own sites done by others. Doing this definitely shows that a compilation like this is only the tip of the nerdcore iceberg.

It's also worth noting that there are a number of tracks that kinda don't fit. Foreign language stuff. Stuff that falls more into the pop category than hip hop. Some of these tracks are allright, but they feel out of place in this compilation. Like the Rappy McRapper track 'Lick Your Own Butthole Dance'. It's purely goofy silly stuff. Not bad mind you, but it simply doesn't fit. That said, I must have listened to that butthole song 10 times. It's so stupid I love it.

I sort all my music using iTunes '5 Star' thingee. Anything I rate 1-2 stars, I never want to hear again. 17 tracks here fell into that category. Anything 4-5 stars is stuff that goes into my uber playlist. I currently have 1174 songs in this playlist. Of the 4 CDs of music here, 15 songs made it to that playlist. Thats better then most music I listen to.

My suggestion- just download it. Listen to a couple tracks at a time. Don't listen to 15 in a row or it'll break you. Listening to someone rap about Warcraft and followed by one about rolling D20s gets old when strung together. But the best tracks on here stand tall, taking "Nerdcore" away from being simply silly novelty tracks ready for morning zoo radio and campus CS labs, and instead showing that the so called "Nerdcore" lifestyle can be celebrated in at least as interesting way as "Gangsta". The best tracks here do just that. Finding them is fun. A number of artists here are doing just that.

But at the end of the day, sometimes you just need to find a bit of music that you can relate to. And when you hear 'join me in the basement cuz it's warcraft patch day / time for D&D a frontalittle mainstay' day, so it's time to play D&D.... well, thats my Tuesday too. There's something odd about hearing it rapped about.

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Review: Nerdcore Hip-Hop Compilation CD Project

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  • Hmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Poromenos1 ( 830658 )
    I don't know, I wouldn't admit openly to listening to that. Like, I'd be OK with myself with it, but if someone told me they listened to nerdcore, I'd think "what a geek" :P
  • by Comsn ( 686413 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @11:34AM (#15705739)
    like mc chris
    http://www.mcchris.com [mcchris.com]

    or rappy mcrapperson
    http://www.rappymcrapperson.com [rappymcrapperson.com]
  • Why rap?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @11:37AM (#15705755) Homepage Journal
    There are great non-rap geek songs in the world. My current favorite has to be "Code Monkey" http://www.jonathancoulton.com/lyrics/code-monkey [jonathancoulton.com]

    • Ughh... I hate that song.
    • Nerdcore is rap [wikipedia.org]. This guy put together some nerdcore compilations, and Taco posted an article about it to slashdot. That's why rap. I don't mean to sound like an ass, but if you want a non-rap nerd music article, make a compilation and submit a story. Some of us enjoy some rap (witty counter-arguments like "it's not music" and something about a "silent c at the beginning" notwithstanding), especially in goofier guises like nerdcore.
      • No no no no! Did you even look at the link that you posted? Nerdcore HIP-HOP is rap (and other forms of music that fall under the "hip-hop" umbrella, but with geeky themes). "Code Monkey" is nerdcore, but it's nerdcore soft rock, not nerdcore hip-hop.

        Generally speaking, any description with a -core suffix needs to be modifying something. For example, hardcore rap is a far different thing from hardcore punk - but they're definitely both hardcore. And hardcore land luge racing is also hardcore.
        • You may be right, but Wikipedia redirects "Nerdore" to "Nerdcore_hip_hop" automatically and I've never heard of nerdcore referring to anything else, unless, like you mentioned, explicitly qualified. It's a moot point, though, since the compilation is limited to nerdcore hip hop (more or less)...
          • But why limit the compilation to rap? There are a lot of great non-rap nerdcore songs. As the OP said, 6 CDs worth of music and he came up with what, 15 to add to his play list?

          • The reason that Nerdcore is considered rap, is because a rapper COINED the term. That would be MC Frontalot (www.frontalot.com) in case you were wondering. Frankly, I don't know how any self-respecting geek can have a "nerdcore" collection and NOT have any Frontalot in it! (or how Cmdr-taco could completely forget to mention him.)

    • Re:Why rap?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jrumney ( 197329 )
      There are great non-rap geek songs in the world

      I'm not so sure about that, but there are certainly great non-geek rap songs in the world, so why not rap?

  • DDR Mario (Score:3, Funny)

    by Slightly Askew ( 638918 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @11:41AM (#15705785) Journal

    I recently bought DDR Mario Mix for the Gamecube. While I'm not a fan of house/techno/trance/whatever music, I was impressed with the remix of some of the classic Mario songs. I'm waiting for one of these mixes to show up at the local dance club just to see how many people catch the underlying music:

    "Dude, why do I have the sudden urge to jump on top of your head?"

  • You know, he raps about downloading music, and the dangers of cybering, and how Hot Topic is not Punk Rock.

    I like his songs, he has a talent for crafting great pop tunes.

  • bling (Score:4, Funny)

    by MrSquirrel ( 976630 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @11:42AM (#15705793)
    What does nerdcore need to bring it in the the mainstream?... MATERIAL ITEMS -- yes I'm referring to "bling". With the ultra-materialistic and ego-centric minds of the masses, having a piece of "bling" makes one feel special (just like everyone else). What will the nerdcore "bling" be? Diamond-studded pocket protectors? Gold-capped braces? Keyboards with hydraulics? Segways with rims?

    In all reality, I don't think nerdcore is geared to ever become mainstream... which is good, because mainstream usually means "mindless crap to please the masses and get them to buy things".
    • In all reality, I don't think nerdcore is geared to ever become mainstream... which is good, because mainstream usually means "mindless crap to please the masses and get them to buy things".

      But on the negative side, its female-repelling properties classify it as a contraceptive, needing a doctors prescription in several states.
      • My nerd Bling is a 8086 chip from my second computer, I used to wear it as a necklace, but later it was just deligated down to "bad computer" mojo. A threat, someday you'll be obsolete too, seems to put all of my modern computers in their place.

        Now of course a golden USB or Cat5 cable, with a wireless detector on it would be the upgraded equivelent. Though I'm guessing a pimped out laptop would be called for (with studs)

        I'm very happy that there is yet another *core in music now, and this is the only *cor
    • I was an RA a few years back and we set up a murder mystery in the dorms. I wasn't in charge of setting it up but I was an actor. I was told to dress as a rapper. I had a wifebeater, an Adidas jacket, but couldn't find the bling... so a friend (who knew me all too well) took a can of mountain dew and the pop tops and made me my "bling" ...
    • Back in my day, boy, we wore motherboards around our necks, holstered dremel tools, and spike our hair with thermal grease.
    • Step 1: Make giant golden "Pi" necklaces and earings made of transistors in the AND, OR, NOT, NAND, NOR, XOR, and XNOR varieties
      Step 2: ????
      Step 3: Profit
      Step 4(Optional): Geekette Ho's
  • rating system (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @11:42AM (#15705794) Homepage
    Anything I rate 1-2 stars, I never want to hear again.

    My keyboard has a special key for songs (and other things) with such ratings. I call it the 'delete' key.

    Seriously, why bother rating something you never want to hear again? Why not just delete it? It this an iTunes thing?

    • a moron user thing.

      Now 1-2 star rating on something I don't want to here, but want to share with somepeople who may like it would make sense.
      When I get enough, I burn a disk, then delete.
    • Well, I've got 22049 songs in my collection. Most of these game straight from my CD collection, which used to total over 1000 albums and compilations. As a point, I live in the UK, and most CDs I have I purchased before the price wars started here; new CDs used to set me back over £15 ($23?).

      Now whilst I'll readily admit I barely listen to a lot of this stuff anymore, there are occasions when I suddenly want to listen to something, even if it is for all intents and purposes rubbish.

      Mid-90s dance
    • Seriously, why bother rating something you never want to hear again? Why not just delete it?

      It's because he has the hoarding gene that so many nerds have. (Is that related to the monoamine oxidase A thing?)
    • I'll be using that special "Delete" key on the cruft out of these torrents, because these files were free. But the vast majority of my music cost real money, so with my hard drive being nowhere near full, I may as well keep them around. If my hard drive was even bigger, I'd probably never bother deleting at all.

      Do not underestimate the power of subjectivity.

    • I do similar things with my MPD playlist. I can't be bothered maintaining more than one list, so I stick everything in one folder and chmod 0 the ones I don't want to play.
  • There are some OK tracks on this but not near enough Frontalot or Hawking.
  • Devo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @11:46AM (#15705830) Homepage Journal
    was nerdcore in the 70's/80's.

    I'm just sayin'
  • I personally don't like nerdcore. Aparently the reviewer doesn't really like it either, and I quote: "Listen to a couple tracks at a time. Don't listen to 15 in a row or it'll break you." Generally that is a sign you find something distasteful, and are tolerating it only for some other reason (want to feel like you fit in with the nerd crowd?)
    • Re:Bah (Score:4, Funny)

      by linvir ( 970218 ) * on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @11:58AM (#15705905)
      Yeah right, I'm sure CmdrTaco - founder and overlord of Slashdot - is just dying to be accepted as a true member of the 'nerd crowd' at Slashdot.
    • by Jerf ( 17166 )
      No, that's just how you have to wade through unfiltered stuff. 90% of everything is crap. The thing is, the 10% that isn't is different for everybody.

      I use a similar process for OCRemix.org [ocremix.org]; there are torrents [ocremix.org] of the songs you can grab, about 1500, then I just filter through the list once, pluck out the ones I like, and trash the rest. I'd say I'm keeping about 5%, if that, but that's still some neat music you won't find any other way.

      (Also, grab the Doom torrent. You'd never know that wasn't a full profess
  • This website has better music even though some of it is sixty years old. These songs deal with incompetent managers and even the United States obsession with science and the military. It also helps that some of these people actually have signing talent.
  • The musicians deserve credit too! My favourite is Finnish producer Tero [discogs.com] who has done live PA's with nothing but 2 Commodore 64s!
  • by aendeuryu ( 844048 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @12:06PM (#15705970)
    Fingers to the keys to the code I be typing
    I'll bash that script, like a process I be sniping
    You're lamer than some h4x0r saying "Yo! Yo! Whatsup?!"
    I wish that somebody would terminate ya with a kill -HUP.
    I'm flying like Apache, you're slower than concrete.
    You're built like a gnome, and I ain't talking 'bout no suite.
    No shortcuts'll save you, your doom is complete
    No Alt-F4'll help you, no Ctl-Alt-Delete
    will stop this feat, you better believe it
    this ain't no superstition,
    I'll open all your ports and your hardrive repartition.

    So, you say you're fighting for the nerdcore crown...
    But I'd say that you're closer to a nerdcore clown.
    Pack it in, save your ass, yo H4x getthefuckouttadodge!
    You're a Beowulf unclustered, with its power cords dislodged.
    You're too l4me for this g4me, wanna fl4me? It's all the s4me
    Cuz you're an Apple 2c and I'm a mainframe.
    You're inept! Can't even play dead, you play sick.
    We couldn't pityyoumore if you were Visual Basic.
    You like that kid? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about!
    It's a rout! I flout my stout clout with this cool cool cout
    and I'm out.
  • Much of the Post Dre rap you've heard celebrates the 'Gangsta' lifestyle

    Alas, this is true. There is lots of other stuff out there, but it won't get much radio or club play, because Gangsta sells better.

    In the words of KRS-One: "Hip hop is where it always was - underground." (sorry, quoted from memory, almost certainly without accuracy).

    For some recent (well, OK, not that recent, but I don't keep up to date) non-Gangsta hip hop, check out Bomfunk MCs for some serious breaks and BBoy-centric music, "The Ret
  • Senator Ted Stevens is the kind of nerd who wishes he were a geek, doesn't have the brains. He does have the sucka MC mic [alternet.org] on C-SPAN whenever he wants to throw down the jive, so he's an artificial-hip-hopper, nationwide.
    • Nerds need brains. geeks do not.

      how much brains do you need to argue why a wookie would use alight saber? or discuss who is better Superman or mighty mouse. Or think that there time they ahve been playing roleplaying games counts for something? Those are geek activities.

      Geeks think up, design and build the toys that allow geeks to play.

      • Read your post and explain it to me.

        What are you trying to say, nerd? Abckwards, indeed.
        • "Geeks think up, design and build the toys that allow geeks to play."

          ah crap.

          Nerds think up, design and build the toys that allow geeks to play.

          "Abckwards" was intentional, albeit poor, humor.

          My poorly illustrated point* was that nerds are generally smarter then geeks. Or at least in fields that take smarts.

          My pore** example was indicating that what geeks are known for doesn't take a lot of smarts;However, it does take a lot of immagination and free time. Noth of which are good things.

          *when people miss the
          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerd [wikipedia.org]
            Nerd, as a stereotypical or archetypal designation, refers to somebody who pursues intellectual interests at the expense of skills that are useful in a social setting, such as communication, fashion, or physical fitness.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geek [wikipedia.org]
            A geek (IPA: [gik]) is a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge and imagination.

            *without notes..damn
            • No, you're just misreading Wikipedia, itself no real authority, to serve your own selfimage.

              Nerds are people who have unusual interests which compete with their social skills.
              Geeks are people who have technical proficiency in some specific field.

              Neither are necessarily creators of anything they're interested in. However, geeks proficiency makes them likely to create. Nerds are just friendless weirdos.

              If you were a geek, you'd know that. You're just another nerd, even if that's news to you that doesn't matte
  • MC Frontalot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NilObject ( 522433 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @12:31PM (#15706163)
    Not a single mention of MC Frontalot? Are you people nuts?!

    http://frontalot.com/index.php [frontalot.com]

    He's the most nerdcore!
  • If you haven't heard anything by Roosevelt Franklin, go get their album "Something's Gotta Give."
  • Les Horribles Cernettes [web.cern.ch] are quite nerdcore in their own way. "I feel your attraction It's a strong interaction" seems quite the right words if you're the world's "one and only High Energy Rock Band".

    Oh, and check the lyrics for liquid nitrogen [web.cern.ch] too.

  • without mentioning the aquabats? they are your average ordinary super-human, punishers of evil rock and roll band. and they were invateing nerdcore way before any of theese guys were around. www.theaquabats.com www.myspace.com/theaquabats
  • by Anonymous Coward
    These goddamn trolls interrupting my flow. These niggas don't respek us with a +o. They gotta color spam and fake invite, bombing with asciis in yellow on white. Shit yeah. it's bright, you 12 year old kiddie. You ain't got pubes and you ain't seen titty. I'll jupe your chans and ban your ass. Don't message me with plz unban, your chance has passed! Other opers crappin up our relay net. Why haven't you delinked your 386 yet? ircd needs xeons and dual cpus. When it comes to irc hardware, you can't b
  • What kind of "nerd" RARs files in a torrent? Fucking noob.
  • 1337 g33k b34t - Bill Gates Revolution
    Beefy - Internet Celebrity
    Beefy - Tub of Tabasco
    Futuristic Sex Robotz - WoW
    Incredibad - I Think I Might Have Killed The President
    MC Hawking - Rock Out
    MC Jeff Z - No Money
    Monzy - Kill Dash Nine
    Monzy - So Much Drama in the PhD
    Myf - Top Secret
    Rappy McRapperson - I'm a Gangsta
    Sudden Death - Reign of Error

    All in all, it looks like far too many nerds think that the only way to make credible rap is by pretending to be a black gangster, which is sad.

    Another problem was the

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"