Nerdcore reached its nadir, to use a geeky term, a few years ago, with the debut c.d. from novelty act MC Hawking. The make-believe gangsta rapper took his handle from the theoretical physicist and Lou Gehrig’s Disease sufferer Stephen W. Hawking, who uses a text-to-speech device to communicate verbally.
Now imagine his robotic, monotone voice talking about pimpin’, bling-blingin’, and just about every other pet rap motif there is, over bumping beats. (A sample strophe: “Once again back in the mother-fucking ring / The H to the A to the W-King / When I roll, I roll it heavy, and I roll it phat / Packing bitches in the Chevy and a clip in my Gatt,” from MC Hawking’s “Crazy as Fuck.”) By rocking beats and rhymes while making fun of himself and others – in this case, every gangsta rapper in the universe – MC Hawking’s alter-ego, computer programmer Ken Leavitt-Lawrence, set the nerdcore standard. His shtick was funny, good-natured, and original, and, more importantly, it negated the idea that geeks can be funny only when insulting themselves. They can be funny when insulting other people, too, including legendary theoretical physicists. Local nerdcore artist Oddioblender is still young, and while not yet fit to Armorall the Hawkman’s motorized wheelchair, he’s got skillz.
Last week, Oddioblender, a.k.a. Gustaf Young, released Gustaf Young is Dead. Based on the few audio files on his MySpace page, Young’s bright software music is about as light and crispy – and tasty – as a potato chip. The beats are cooked al dente (not too polished, not too rough), and his while his flow quivers a little, it’s genuine. (He’s a nerd, for Pete’s sake. Not the type of guy known for the size of his ‘nads.) Common topics, in Young’s words, include “computers, science fiction, video games, and other things that won’t get you laid.” Which brings up the existential question: What’s a young man to do when his geekiness is the source of both his joy and pain? Answer: throws himself into music – hard. By some estimates, Young is Dead is Young’s 400th album this year. He and another local nerdcore dude, MC Router, are trying to get gigs around town but aren’t having much success. (No ladies and no club owners?! Gosh!)
In perfect outcast mode, Young says he wants to start a record label for the express purpose of signing artists who, like him, are dedicated but largely ignored by the mainstream. The label could be the first of its kind, a sort of Island of Misfit Toys but for misfit musicians. Visit Oddioblender.com. My unadulterated hope is that with MC Hawking’s work still out there, and two Fort Worth geeks pushing the nerdcore tip here, gangsta rap will grow up. Toasting and boasting was cool 20 years ago, when I was a kid, but rapping about the same ol’ same ol’ is played out. I can’t wait for the day when some gold-tooth’d braggart goes on about his Cristal, his cash, and his cars, and we all turn and look at him, like, “You’re as wack as a Beach Boys song about a muscle car.” Yeah, pretty crazy, I know.
Contact HearSay at firstname.lastname@example.org.