Have you ever heard of “Nerdcore Hiphop”? Maybe you’ve heard MC Chris (a voice contributor for Aqua Teen Hunger Force) rapping about Boba Fett in “Fett’s Vette”? You haven’t? Well then…allow me to quote Mr. Samuel L. Jackson when I say hold on to your butts.
This week we’ve got three tracks from MC Frontalot, the white dude who coined “nerdcore hiphop” back in 2000 and has appeared regularly at PAX. Two songs are from his 2008 album Final Boss and the third comes from his sophomore effort Secrets from the Future. Think of him like a less high-pitched, slightly less aggressive version of aforementioned MC Chris. The fourth song on Radio is a classical composition by Frenchman Chriss Onac. We won’t hold his nationality or oddly-spelled name against him. Or will we? Find out after the jump.
Before we get to the music, let’s first note that, as promised, Dylan released an update this week. Among other coding and bug tweaks, a few features stand out. There’s a new visualizer, which basically looks like four tracks turned on their side and eating each other. And he cleaned up the Eraser mechanic, eliminating the lag before the blocks get erased. The standout feature by far is the ability to see who else is playing a song you’re about to play. The screen displays other players’ IDs racing down the graph of the ride. On top of simply being neat, it is a nice reminder of the competition that’s always out there. On to the music!
Rather than describe this song for you musically, I’ll give you two songs to which it is similar: “Don’t Copy That Floppy” (the 80s-esque “Let me teach you something” rap style) and a better version of the Andy Samberg “Blizzard Man” sketch (with its rampant whiteness). In this track, MC Frontalot teaches us a nerd-friendly dance called the “Margaret Thatcher.” That’s right. And one of the steps? “Intensify your ennui.” Just like the lyrics, the ride is a blast. Right in the thick of the first chorus, the track banks to the left. And I mean, banks – as if you tilted your joystick to the left. This is almost more disorienting than the typical corkscrew. It seemed to correspond directly with Frontalot’s repeated recommendation to “Do it!” – obviously referring to his Thatcher dance.
Monsieur Onac’s song roughly translates to “Whirlwinds.” I’m not quite sure it’s a whirlwind, but it’s not a bad song. Musically, it wouldn’t sound out of place in a certain upcoming Dragon Quest game, though I think it missed the cut. It’s got some strings, tympani, and some great horn work. As a former trumpet player, I can’t help but admire the passages of furious articulation. The song builds well, allowing the main march a few permutations with each rise and fall of the track. Coming over that first big hill is a great moment. You crawl uphill, the music suggests that its picking up tempo, you can see four or five reds waiting for you at the top, but you can’t see what’s coming next. Moments like that make this one worth the six-and-a-half-minute ride. Also, I’m pleased they managed to include a classically-oriented track. Go ride some Mozart, people!
Wow. This song nails it. Just nails it. It’s got a Wayback Machine reference, an All Your Base reference, and lyrics like this: “I hate your blog. Your recipe for vegan eggnog is stupid / I hissed and I booed it / and then eschewed it, never made it once. Yes / your blog roll is a confederacy of dunces.” Genius. Frontalot’s channeling some early Eminem on this track (and no, that’s not the worst thing) – a combination of his tongue-in-cheek aggression and the particular way he maneuvers through some of his rhythms. This song’s got a great bank in the track as well, but the stand out part of the ride (seen above as the steepest downhill section) is the bridge. Guest rapper Whoremoans (seriously) takes the bridge, spitting a torrent of syllables including the amazing line “yaoi art my girl drew of Goku making out with Joss Whedon.” The vocals make for some preposterous traffic, as does the obligatory record-spinning that comes in toward the end. Play this song to get the high score. Ride it on the new visualizer so you can pay attention to the lyrics. Whatever the reason, play this song.
The fourth song this week is Frontalot’s “Shame of the Otaku.” It’s not a bad song by any means, and the drums give it a great groove that makes for a fun ride. The lyrics aren’t laden with a million clever references, but the overall vibe of the song mimics the often-ludicrous theme songs of popular animes, songs that often don’t seem to match the tone of their show. Not bad, but you’ve clearly (see above) done much better.
Each song was played on Pro difficulty using the Eraser and Vegas characters. I’d recommend double-checking which character you’re using when you start a song. There were a number of times I tried to make blocks disappear only to lose thousands of points because I’d forgotten I was playing Vegas. Silly me.