Sunday, October 08, 2006


A NEW ISM I've recently been introduced to is 'nerdcore hip hop'. This genre, conceptually, sounds very exciting. It basically glorifies the geek, like never before. We've all been through (in order of appearance) the dot com boom, Sandra Bullock in The Net, the dot com bust, the Y2K theme parties with a man in a Jar Jar Binks costume handing-out presents, 'the red-pill or blue-pill' decision-making model from The Matrix, home-made servers, social networking for dummies, beauty pageants for animes...the list is endless and you get my point. But, apparently, nerdcore hip hop is currently WHERE ITS @ ...if you aint' there you aint' square... and so forth.

Somewhere, on a random side-bar a highlighted box asked me
DID YOU KNOW:Nerdcore Ninjas are faster than regular Ninjas?
No. This I did not know. Does that make me a geek? Or, on second thought, a non-geek? I felt very out of the loop...and suddenly realised that the tables had turned. I was now officially a non-geek...which made me what a geek was before the dot com boom...a bit like Ross with his keyboard...a geek! (you get the complexity here right? My brain is melting and I cannot explain this situation with greater clarity)

So I shall steer the discourse away from my social standing and back to the music. I did a bit of research. Nerdcore hip hop, or geeksta rap, is a subgenre of hip hop music, performed by geeks or nerds. Another criteria is that the content–subject matter, theme, lyrics, general image– needs to be nerdy. Strongly by the nerds, strongly for the nerds. Now those of you who are shocked by my description, don't be. This is not me being politically incorrect (I rarely am anyway)...this is how the community would like to hail itself. Wikipedia states clearly: The word "nerdcore" is also occasionally used as an adjective to describe a "hardcore nerd" (that is, someone who publicly takes pride in being nerdy) or anything which is nerdy to an extreme level. It is considered quite complimentary within the community. Hence, to qualify, nerdy lyrics are not enough. The artists themselves need to be inner-nerds. It's complicated...a bit like inner-beauty.

Surprisingly, this movement dates back to 1998.
While I've been focussing on growing up, others have been busy starting sub-cultural revolutions.

Below are sample lyrics that nerdcore songs would feature. These will help form a clearer picture of what a geeksta would typically rap about. It was the lyrics that got me interested in the first place (along with a glitzy article in WIRED, my monthly one kilo of cool). Songs feature lyrics like:
"Look, I ain't Thomas Dolby; science doesn't blind me. You think you're smart? Form a line behind me."
"My backpack's got jets! I'm Boba the Fett! I bounty hunt for Jabba the Hutt to finance my 'Vette."
"My flow is so intense that I'll overflow your buffer, corrupt your stack pointer, makin' all your data suffer."
"I'm a player, which is not to say I get a lot of chicks / But I've played through Final Fantasy 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6."

By this time I could feel the geek within me stir. The background was thesis-able, the lyrics seemed promising. Alas, after much buffering and streaming (and buffering and buffering and streaming and buffering – bedrock probably has a faster connection than I do) the music just didn't do it for me. A big anti-climax. A bigger realisation. WIRED magazine has the ability to make anything seem cool.

< shake it baby >


Blogger Blue said...

2:52 pm  
Anonymous Veer said...

Hmmm. Who's blue? Just another spammer? Or someone proving s/he's geek enough to actually be able to speak a different language?

I'm geeky on Mondays, you know. It brings out the worst in me. Take today, for example. The net here ain't working. As a matter of fact, all communications are down. (Don't ask me how I'm commenting here -- that's part of my geek secrets.) And today is MONDAY!!

Does it happen only to me? Or is it part of this subculture that I didn't know I was part of (hey, I can geek rap in the bathroom too). It surely can't be a cross-culture world-wide phenomenon, cause everyone else around me seems to be spending their Mondays in fairly routine ways, conveniently converting the blame for all that's going wrong on to me.

9:24 pm  
Blogger pari said...

You're ability to constantly discover never ceases to amaze me.
well done freak-of-nature....

5:47 am  
Blogger apucalypse now said...

Thank you, part-nerd in crime. I take a bow. Remember, one day we'll rule the mogambo. Secret Salute *hups*

6:13 am  
Anonymous adu said...

old news.
I met one of those nerdcore geek people. Friend of a friend. A preppy boy who rapped....and faitfully kept a franklincovey!!!

8:33 am  
Blogger apucalypse now said...

I realise I'm outdated. But when I grow up I'll be damn clued in...maybe even a legend :D I faithfully keep a moleskin...and it promises me so.

12:09 pm  
Blogger Siddharth Nair said...

Funny! You should check out

This should be the nerdcore anthem!

3:45 am  
Blogger apucalypse now said...

Hey Siddharth, repost link no. I am told "The url contained a malformed video id".

Who gets to write these messages anyway? Must be a fun job. Replace "incorrect password" with "the password you entered exudes a foul odour. Kindly enter something more fragrant." Never a dull moment.

6:20 am  
Blogger Siddharth Nair said...

Try it without the full stop at the end.

12:27 pm  
Blogger apucalypse now said...

Haha ok (whadda nerd i really am)...voila! and it works without the full-stop! Funny. Videos really help this genre out. I might've changed my opinion 'bout nercore hip-hop had I come across a strangely humorous video for this much-hailed song called 'snakes on a plane'. Sadly, I didn't...and hence made rash judgement with much ease.

Hear it here, at your own risk:

1:36 pm  

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