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Nerdcore is a subgenere of rap and hip hop that finds most of its influence in the world of gaming. Some of the best nerdcore rappers are intentionally ridiculous, while others endeavor to make quality songs that, if you didn't already know their subjects, could easily be heard playing on the radio.
MC Chris is a name you might have heard before, even if you're not a nerdcore enthusiast. His song "Fett's Vette" made it onto the soundtrack for the movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno, starring Seth Rogan, Elizabeth Banks, and Craig Robinson.
The rap artist has more than 42 thousand followers on Twitter and 210 thousand followers on Facebook. Aside from doing nerdcore rap, he also frequently appears on Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force as a voice talent.
MC Frontalot regularly gets hundreds of thousands of hits for his YouTube videos. A bald man who wears black, thick-rimmed glasses, MC Frontalot looks like the epitome of a gamer. That image also works as part of his persona, as he totally owns his image of being a nerd who loves to rap.
Not only does he record nerdcore hip hop, but he claims to be the one who coined the term back in 2000. If that's true, then he absolutely qualifies as one of the best nerdcore rappers around.
Sammus isn't just a great rapper, she's also a great topic of conversation—just as The New York Times. The paper ran a profile on her, which is incredible considering the fact that most of the world doesn't know what the hell nerdcore is. And they're not the only ones! Paper interviewed her, as well.
So what's so special about Sammus, besides her music? The rapper, who takes her name from the character Samus in the video game Metroid, is also a PhD student and an activist. Other than video games, she cares deeply about women's issues and race issues.
If you don't recognize the name MC Lars, you'll probably still be familiar with the name Watsky. The two rappers collaborated together for the song "Never Afraid," which goes to show what kind of caliber rap artist MC Lars is.
Watsky himself could have easily appeared on his list, but he's more of a nerd for literature than he is for gaming. Actually, that's probably what attracted Watsky to MC Lars in the first place—his Edgar Allan Poe-themed songs and music videos. His wealth of knowledge about a wide range of nerdy categories is part of what makes him one of the best nerdcore rappers.
You can tell by their name that these guys are nerdcore hip hop artists. The Seattle-born group infuses hip hop with funk and lyrics heavily based in video game jargon. (Their song "Coded & United" starts with the lines, "Reboot/ Work/ Recharge/ Work/ Walk home/ Recharge/ Shut down/ Reboot/ Repeat.")
As the name Optimus Rhyme suggests, the band bases their material around what they call "robot mythology."
Richie Branson is a nerdcore rapper, producer, and musical composer—triple threat! Branson has worked with plenty of notable names in his industry, including MC Chris, Adult Swim, Marvel Studios, and Def Jam Recordings. His diverse portfolio is what makes him one of the best nerdcore rappers in the game. Branson is an A-List nerdcore rapper, if there ever was one.
Beefy is more of an up-and-coming nerdcore rap artist, but that doesn't mean he's not worth talking about. He spits at a very rapid pace and doesn't miss a beat. His lyrics make tons of pop culture references, not just references only gamers would know. So even if you're not hugely into video games, you can still enjoy Beefy's music.
If you want a prime example of what nerdcore rap is, just listen to YTCracker. He loves using video game sound effects in his songs that even the most novice gamers will recognize.
YTCracker isn't just a great example of what nerdcore rapper sounds like, but what a nerdcore rappers talks like. Read his bio on Bandcamp to see what we're talking about. Just to give you a sample, he says he was "carefully reconstituted on planet earth atom by atom by alien biotechnologists with magical powers." That's right, take it all in.
Adam WarRock, also known to his parents as Eugene Ahn, is undoubtedly one of the best nerdcore rappers out now. Anyone who calls themselves a fan of rap and hip hop would dig his beats. The lyrics, however, are reserved for the gamers, comic book lovers, and Game Of Thrones enthusiasts.
He has released tons of material, so check his Bandcamp for songs you could spend all day listening to.
Schäffer the Darklord
Schäffer the Darklord is as eccentric as they come. You might be thinking, "How much more eccentric can you get if you're already a nerdcore artist?" If you want an answer to that question, just watch his David Lynch-inspired music video.
But being eccentric isn't a bad thing, which is why he is a favorite in the nerdcore community and can easily be called one of the best nerdcore rappers around today.