Review: Nerdcore Rising

“Nerdcore Rising” is a
documentary following the first national tour of the Godfather of so-called
“Nerdcore Rap”, Damian Hess, a.k.a. MC Frontalot, and his band.
Featuring interviews with figures such as Prince Paul, “Weird Al” Yankovic,
and Jello Biafra, this film spends some time upfront explaining and
justifying Nerdcore as a genre. From the beginning I was skeptical, and
honestly, I’m not exactly sure when a genre becomes ‘real’. In fact, I
suspect some of the musicians themselves are equally skeptical of the label,
but I guess in modern marketing, everything needs a classification.

Frontalot’s songs lean towards the witty and clever, but as Prince Paul
points out at one point, originally rap was about clever rhymes and
outsmarting your fellow MCs. Their tour resembles many bands first tours,
playing to sparse clubs, but computer nerds tend to be loyal to their own,
and there always seemed to be someone at each show who knew the songs.
There is a solid mix of live footage with backstage/van interviews, as well
as with other musicians and comedians.

I’m still not sold on the viability of Nerdcore in general, but that
doesn’t really hurt the film. Frontalot is charming if awkward, and his
band is a pretty fun funk unit. They are an amusing lot on and off the
stage, and this film does a great job of presenting it’s story.

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