MC Frontalot and Nerdcore Hiphop


I’m going to refer back to a subject that I briefly mentioned a few weeks ago: MC Frontalot.  MC Frontalot is an artist that literally records and sells his own work out of his home, utilizing down and dirty tricks like recording with a microphone in an insolated cardboard box or blanket over the head to muffle outside noises as he records.  He is truly independent, not only is he independent but heis , “…widely credited as the originator of nerdcore hip-hop”in 20001.

I would not even be aware of him if not for a friend, who used some of MC Frontalot’s music in a stage production that I directed.  What drew me to this artist is the fact that he is totally independent and because I am a super nerd i.e. he has song titles like “Forbidden Planet” or the fact that, “The voice of the “preacher” character in the song “Indier Than Thou” was provided by Remy Auberjonois, son of Rene Auberjonois, the actor who portrayed Odo on the science fiction series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”2  I am just that nerdy and find things like that cool.

“On March 18, 2002, popular webcomic Penny Arcade (whose creators were long-time fans of Hess) declared Frontalot their rapper laureate, directing fans to his website.[4] He has acknowledged that single act made his popularity skyrocket. In appreciation, he wrote and recorded the “Penny Arcade Theme” a few months later, which was in his own (tongue-in-cheek) words: “an attempt to cash in on their huge and devoted audience.””3

Frontalot is a perfect example of how independent artists, “have flourished by embracing the Internet and MP3s”4.  For example, Frontalot makes preview tracks freely available on his website to tantalize his audience into buying his albums.  He also utilizes his website to brand himself through t-shirts and merchandising and he uses sites like Twitter and Youtube to generate buzz around his live performances.  Frontalot is a prime example of an independent artist, who has successfully used the “Internet-supported distributed network model.”4

Russell McGee

1 J. Gross, Scenes From a Scene #034—MC Frontalot, WWW Document,

2 Wikipedia, WWW Document,

3Wikipedia, WWW Document,

4M. Deuze, Managing MediaWork, (SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, 2011), pp. 242.


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