Is it weird that I'm still paying rent by making rap songs? Is my new album "Net Split or, the Fathomless Heartbreak of Online Itself" any good? Did I start shaving my hair off twenty years ago in prescient anticipation of being a bald middle-aged man at some point in my rap career? Is the Mount Nerdcore tour coming to your town in May? These are just some starter questions. You should come up with better ones and post them in the thread.


[EDIT:] Okay, thanks so much everybody. I think I managed to answer Every Single Dang Question, even the ones I found when I peeked back in here the next day. Hope my answers were satisfactory and/or DEEPLY ENLIGHTENING. Till next time!

Comments: 310 • Responses: 89  • Date: 

BenPortsCenter29 karma

You've rapped about data encryption, spoilers, magical buckles and methods of bridge construction. Are there any subjects you're passionate enough to write a rap about but feel they're too obscure even for your audience?

mc_frontalot28 karma

That's a good question! I like to imagine that nothing would be too esoteric for a nerdcore song. If I were really interested in some weird little topic and wanted to share my passion for it, it would fall on me to bring the unfamiliar listener along on the journey in a way they could appreciate and enjoy. And of course I would succeed. I mean, there are only 578 rappers in the whole world who are better than I am.

I wrote a verse about the guy who designed the font they use for the Stranger Things title, and how he might feel about how his 20's-style retro font ended up being emblematic of 80's genre fiction, and spent a few bars on how the Stranger Things logo designer reworked some of the letterforms. I feel like that's a borderline-wtf kind of a topic. I also remember not worrying about that when I was writing it. It's in this Movies With Mikey episode, around the 5 min mark:

mikalkhill21 karma

How are you doing?

mc_frontalot17 karma

Absorbing coffee! Feeling fine! How are YOU, mikal?

mikalkhill13 karma

Pretty okay! Inspired by this response to make my OWN cup of coffee and then overcaffeinate as intensely as I can tolerate.

mc_frontalot14 karma

strong endorse

TheMomAbides14 karma

Hey, Front - I love what you do, been a fan since Tycho linked to your site on Penny Arcade back in like 2001. Still have a burned CD-R of your Songfight Live set floating around in my car somewhere :)

What do you find the most surprising about going out on the road as much as you do? I vaguely remember you making a documentary from a tour years and years ago (especially the part where someone is explaining Magic: The Gathering for like 4 hours!). What's changed since then and how do you like being out on the road?

mc_frontalot19 karma

It is still hugely invigorating to get out and do a whole bunch of shows in a row. I love the energy of live crowds and the profoundly kind & generous interactions they have with me after the shows. Though as my decrepit flesh continues to decay, it gets harder and harder to spend 3-week stints in a van, driving 12,000 miles and eating roadside trash food. Much more luxurious is bus touring, which I get to do when I'm opening for Wheatus in the UK. I could do that year-round forever.

I think the main thing that's changed is that I know what I'm doing now, for the most part. That documentary (Nercore Rising by Negin Farsad) was our very first tour, and it was very nice of Negin to edit out all the most embarrassing episodes of me being green as fuck, not understanding things, getting stressed out about dumb nonsense, etc.

Mister_Snrub14 karma

Have updated rapper rankings been issued? Are you still the world's 579th greatest MC?

mc_frontalot31 karma

Amazingly, every time a better rapper falls off or rests in peace, some new rapper who's also better than I am shows up. My ranking has had no movement whatsoever.

TechJeeper10 karma

Who's your favorite artist you have performed with?

mc_frontalot14 karma

Probably Jean Grae.

mc_frontalot18 karma

Though I should say, I've gotten to work onstage with a bunch of my favorite artists, Open Mike Eagle, Mike Doughty, Black Thought, Quelle Chris, Wheatus, Jonathan Coulton.

DearZelly10 karma

Ummm hello, I was wondering how goth is your frock?

mc_frontalot15 karma

Turns out waistcoats aren't goth at all when made of day-glo chartreuse rayon. So. Mine's not at all.

mc_frontalot14 karma

Also I just looked up frock and found out it's a dress and not a coat?? I guess that song's canceled forever.

KingParris10229 karma

Which franchise do you like more: The Avengers, The Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter, Star Trek or Star Wars?

mc_frontalot13 karma

They all have their ups and downs, don't they? I think nothing will ever approach the fondness I developed for Star Wars while watching it in movie theaters 11 times between its release and Empire's premiere.

Mr_Rippe9 karma

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 set off a chain reaction that lead to World War 1, the rise of Hitler, World War 2, the Cold War, America becoming the most powerful nation on Earth, the military industrial complex, and late-stage capitalism consuming the western world. Would you say the assassin, Gavrilo Princip, is the most important person in the first half of the 20th century, or would we have inevitably reached this current point before the year 2100?

mc_frontalot19 karma

Your ignorance astounds me. I won't even dignify such a simplistic question.

IamJLove8 karma

IWF is my favorite track on the new album. What was the writing process like? Were your collaborators eager to feature?

mc_frontalot15 karma

A friend of mine Ali Lemer suggested the song as a good angle on the Net Split concept, and having her suggest it helped a lot because I kind of wanted to tackle the issue but I had trepidation about stepping up with Some Dude's Take On Online Misogyny. Having the specific song pitched by her kind of gets me off whatever hook I was on in my head.

I worked up the grooves with Spellah and Gm7, wrote the hook, wrote that opening verse, pitched it to the other MCs, and they all hit it out of the park. To drive the misery of the whole thing home, I made sure my terrible manboy character still got the last word.

brandeks8 karma

When will the BBS come back to

mc_frontalot13 karma

It breaks my heart a little bit to be operating an online concern of any kind without an attendant message board. But the spammers were turning moderation into a full-time hassle and then the script kiddies ate my whole site, so I gave up and let the human interaction part of my online life happen on social media instead. Maybe this was a mistake.

DonkeyLips11388 karma

Do you think Jim cheated on Pam while he was in Philly?

mc_frontalot26 karma

What?? No! Our big lovable prankster Jim HALPERT? He'd never. Also, his crotch is smooth and featureless like a Ken doll so his cheating options are limited.

HearMeRoar2317 karma

Favorite word you've ever used in a rap?

mc_frontalot12 karma


dables1087 karma

I was at your first show from the Nerdcore Rising doc in Spartanburg SC at Ground Zero (07 or so?), been a fan ever since and I love Net Split!

Will you have your band with you on the Mount Nerdcore tour or is a solo/laptop setup?

2nd question what kind of bands/music do you listen to in your spare time thats not nerdcore?

mc_frontalot11 karma

Mt Nerdcore is all laptops, but we try to make up for it by bringing the other three rappers up in each of our sets multiple times. My show this friday in New York is a full band gig tho!

Lately I've been digging on Lizzo and Tierra Whack. Among my all-time fave acts are Tom Waits, De La Soul, Busdriver, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Jane's Addiction, Soul Coughing.

JayBee_Three7 karma

Dilbert. Inspiration or nah?

p.s. Did the TRS-80 in my brain get hacked?

mc_frontalot11 karma

Fitting a TRS-80 mainboard into your human brainpan was already a pretty good hack. So yes.

Dilbert: I admit I enjoyed it when I was a child. The strip is probably still largely inoffensive but I dislike the author so much that I can't really look at it any more. I much prefer the work of its original creator, Matt Lubchansky.

Chtorrr7 karma

What is the very best cheese?

mc_frontalot14 karma

Don't know what it's called but there's a soft goat cheese that's kinda crusty on the outside and softens in toward the middle, and when you cut it it's kinda like a CHEESE GEODE, and I think that one's the best.

mc_frontalot8 karma

Yes! Or one that looks just like it.

snark_trick7 karma

Where you hell have you been?

mc_frontalot15 karma

Sitting around feeling depressed sometimes. Other times feeling okay but very busy with whatever. I very much meant to make this album immediately after Question Bedtime but my various mental and emotional problems (and the occasional bouts of legitimate bein' busy) resulted in me taking four and a half goddamn years. Hopefully worth the wait, at least almost.

Homeschool-Winner7 karma

Which MC is doing this AMA? I can't recollect.

mc_frontalot10 karma

I keep hitting refresh but the answer remains cloudy.

Drathar7 karma

Can I buy you a beer when you play Fargo on 4/30?

mc_frontalot13 karma

I love it when people want to buy me drinks! Drinks are the best. And...

I don't love beer. One beer makes me sleepy and five beers is too much for a work night. I'll have a scotch though, after the show, if yer buyin.

Drathar4 karma

Glen Levet 12?

mc_frontalot4 karma


HipsterBrewfus7 karma

Do you still play Ping Pong with Wheelie Cyberman?

mc_frontalot7 karma

Only in the world of narrative fantasy. That is where I'm good enough at ping-pong to give him mystical advice on his game, as opposed to the real world where he has to come at me in extra gentle mode so that I don't feel humiliated.

neirfin6 karma

what was the first game/program you downloaded (and zipped onto multiple disks) from a BBS?

mc_frontalot10 karma

Wow, not sure. Certainly a cracked C64 game. The crackers would pack the full-disk versions down so that three or four fit on a floppy (and each was 1200-baud xferable). Before BBSes, I'd meet with the other 4th graders and we'd make copies of each other's copies of these cracked games, and by the time I got a modem I was already in the habit of just collecting every single thing I didn't have. So the first thing I downloaded was probably yet another unmemorable little trash game that I'd play once and file away. Ah, the endless dumb hamster wheel of the 0day Warezzzzzzzzz.

The most memorable C64 game acquisition was Spy Vs Spy. My friend Taero and I couldn't find a cracked version, and none of our many disk copy utils could defeat its copy protection, and we couldn't afford it. So we pooled our cash, bought it, undid the edge sealing to open the disk with an exacto knife & did the same with a blank floppy, swapped the actual magnetic disks between casings, krazy glued them shut again, and returned the Spy Vs Spy printed disk casing with the blank inside to Toys R Us, complaining loudly that it didn't work. "Do you want to trade it for another copy?" "No, we don't trust you now!" Bet you anything they turned around and sold it again. What a couple of little assholes we were.

karlrolson6 karma

Net Split leans into some of the darkest production and melodies on a Frontalot album yet, staying in a more Industrial lane normal you previously occasionally touched on - what inspired that shift?

mc_frontalot9 karma

I just wanted to change things up a bit. Some of my oldest demos had a very stripped-down feel, just a drum and a sample or two. As I got better at production, I always kind of thought the old stuff was evidence of me not knowing enough to make the music cleaner and more complex. But I have less to prove in my old age so I felt like I could poke around with dirty, messy, and minimal beats, find the joy in that aesthetic again.

datavortex6 karma

What do you miss most from the "good old" (pre-"a/s/l") days of the internet?

mc_frontalot7 karma

GOPHER, maybe?

mc_frontalot10 karma

No wait, LYNX.

bottomlesscoffee6 karma

I really enjoyed Rappers we crush, that track you did with Kompressor.
Have you ever thought of doing something with Scroobius Pip?

mc_frontalot4 karma

That suggestion has come up a lot over the years. I'm game if he is!

CharlieBlix6 karma

A major theme of the album is about how technology/the internet hasn't lived up to being as great as we thought it would be.

Do you think these are just growing pains or is it never going to live up to the original hype?

mc_frontalot11 karma

I kind of feel like it got more wondrous and fantastic than we'd ever dreamed, but then it used that power to eat all our babies. Like, I'm not upset that internet hasn't done the things we wanted it to do in 1989. It's just that internet does these other things too. So many other things. I mean, we do them. On internet.

I didn't want the record to have as its central thesis that there's no hope. There's some hope! There's probably some hope.

m5giora5 karma

Hello Mr. Front,

I really enjoyed your new album even though some of the songs got stuck in my head, keeping me up a night.

The new album has a song disparaging memes ("memes are stupid"), so I was wondering what your fav meme is, and why?

Also, what is your fav song from previous albums, and which is a song you would change\remove if you could?

mc_frontalot6 karma


At any given moment there's some kind of meme floating around that I kind of love, despite myself. Right now, the arm-wrestling-means-true-brotherhood one keeps making me laugh. Not sure if that's internet-wide or just something Eric Allen Hatch keeps doing over & over:

mc_frontalot8 karma

Oh and... fav song is maybe Stoop Sale, or else Two Dreamers. The songs I'd like to remove from albums are all ones where I'd made a demo I liked back in the samplin' days and when I reworked the music to sell the song on an album it wasn't as satisfying: Gonna Be Your Man, and most of the first album. I don't dislike those songs, I just wish I could have figured out how to record them way way better.

m5giora2 karma

Thanks so much for the reply! Now I must go and listen to all your albums again. Besides buying the entire discography, what would be the best (most profitable to you) way of listening to your music?

mc_frontalot6 karma

A CD or USB Box Set from my store is the best, in terms of fewest middlemen taking their cut. Thanks for asking!

childfree_IPA5 karma

What's your stance on the Polybius arcade game? Would you play it if given a chance? Would you rap about it someday if a random Redditor asked you to?

mc_frontalot8 karma

I've been thinking about how to settle into a Patreon model of paying my rent, and one idea I had recently was to do a video game review in song form every month. The subscribers would pitch me games. Not familiar with Polybius but are you saying it's an ACTUAL ARCADE GAME? I never hear anyone get excited about those any more, so that's kind of cool.

childfree_IPA4 karma

I've been wanting to throw money your way every month, and have been disappointed when I see you still don't have a Patreon set up. Video game reviews via nerdcore songs would be some solid Patreon content.

As for Polybius, it's an urban legend, but would probably still make for a decent nerdcore song "review" šŸ¤”

The original game allegedly was part of a government-run psychology experiment based inĀ Portland, Oregon. Gameplay supposedly produced intenseĀ psychoactiveĀ and addictive effects in the player. These few publicly staged arcade machines were said to have been visited periodically byĀ men in blackĀ for the purpose of data-mining the machines and analyzing these effects. Eventually, all of theseĀ PolybiusĀ arcade machines allegedly disappeared from the arcade market.

I don't know why people don't seem to like arcade games anymore. One of my favorite places to be is this place called Brewcadia in Columbus, OH. You can play all sorts of arcade games all night for free (pinball costs money), plus they have pizza and booze.

mc_frontalot2 karma

Are we sure that urban legend wasn't a marketing gimmick for Last Starfighter?

FMLPhoto5 karma

Is it harder to do Nerdcore rap as your topics become more mainstream? I became a fan of yours after ā€œIt is Pitch Darkā€ - the only Infocom based rap, which is pretty esoteric and the new album is more about the downfalls of the Internet, which would have a wider, but maybe less nerdier, appeal?

mc_frontalot6 karma

It did occur to me a bunch of times while putting this album together that it is potentially more widely relatable than the rest of my catalog. But I don't mind being relatable! Sometimes I'm in the mood to have people understand what the hell I'm on about. It won't be a permanent mood, if you're concerned.

Also, the album's grouchy old-man get-off-my-lawn vibe, which I thought would be so easy for folks to agree with, is actively offending the sensibilities of some of the youngs out there. So maybe I'm still as narrowly relatable as ever.

Ccstriker775 karma

What is nerdcore and should I listen to your album?

mc_frontalot17 karma

It is a kind of hip-hop that is not very cool so if you don't care about being cool you could give it a try! I wouldn't want to oversell it.

TheRealIskandar5 karma

Did you ever finish Red Dead Redemption 2 ("GTH") and is it worth me spending many hours in that game?

mc_frontalot8 karma

Here's the twitter thread where I sporadically posted my thoughts while I played:

Final verdict: it's wonderful. But boy are those first hours pretty slow. If you're looking for something that's all the way fun the second you pick it up, get Spiderman. Also you'll need a playstation.

nullsmack3 karma

Do you play any sweaty competitive games online too? Like Fortnite or Apex or Overwatch? I play Fortnite but I'm not any good at it. I was better at Overwatch but I'm extremely out of practice these days.

mc_frontalot6 karma

Not lately! I do play plenty of shooters solo (most recently FC5) but for some reason the co-op games are more fun for me once networking gets involved. I wish there were a mp co-op for Subnautica.

gramturismo5 karma

Okay serious question: Ernest Cline novels, good reads or cringe fests?

mc_frontalot5 karma

Sorry to say I still haven't picked any of them up.

phyphor5 karma

Hey, it's my man Front! How's the T-Shirt business?

But, more seriously, how're you doing, personally? I don't get to see you and hang out any more and I wanna make sure that things are still going well for you off the stage.

PS: Thanks for introducing me to Miss Eaves' music - she's doing some really great stuff!

mc_frontalot5 karma

Up and down, Phy. Up and down. Do you still use that ringtone I recorded for you when we did the Solved kickstarter?

And yes, everyone should check out Miss Eaves.

mrskullhead5 karma

I think given our long history, I have only one more incredibly important question to ask: Bloody Mary or mimosa?

mc_frontalot9 karma

Bloody Mary all the way.

kds155 karma

Hey Front, loved the new album (love all of them actually)! Net Split being centered around the negative changes that the internet as gone through in the past couple of years struck close to a lot of thoughts I've been having lately about how the internet has grown stale and doesn't have the spark of wonder that it did in years past. I guess my question is, Do you, in your day to day 'net life, do anything to try to hang on to the "old internet" and if so what do you do? Are there any websites that you frequent for that old school internet goodness? Do you think we as an internet society can do anything to reclaim the "good old days"?

mc_frontalot8 karma

That's the big question! It's in our hands, right? We tried ceding all the real estate to massive corporations, and we're seeing where that leaves us. A bunch of folks remember what it was like before Facebook and Google owned 99% of interactive data transmission, and all of us pine for that feeling. But none of us pines for actual dial-up, or for having to look at 35 different BBSes just to get caught up on our friends. And none of us has our own genuinely benevolent massive corporations with which to battle The Powers That Be. Maybe we need to form some kind of commie dream-state, where non-governmental public ownership of all networks is the norm. Or maybe we just have to wait and something we like better will become more popular than the version of internet we currently endure. In the meantime, we can just try to be compassionate and skeptical while humanity takes turns showing its ass and drowning itself in disinformation.

HeartlessLiberal5 karma

Long time listener, first time question asker. Nerdcore is my all time favorite genre so thank you for your pivotal role in its founding. I've noticed many nerd rappers dippng their toes into political rap.
Do you have any early favorites in the Democratic primary?

mc_frontalot11 karma

I like Warren a lot. When she talks policy, I kind of want a magic wish where I could instantly and completely institute all that stuff and let everyone see how much better life is. Then they could vote on whether or not to undo the wish and go back to the worsening hellscape of American late capitalism. I'm confident they would not want to.

Really though, halting the onrush of plain US fascism is the top priority, and I will throw my small weight behind whichever candidate seems most likely to displace the current trashbag. It will be a while before it's clear who that is, but it usually shakes out to most charismatic and compelling TV presence. Buttigieg seems like an exceptionally talented communicator. Harris is a commanding figure. Sanders stirs many of the right passions. Biden is very popular with the olds, and the olds still reliably vote five to ten times as much as the youngs. Everyone's got pronounced minuses, but compared to the swirling black hole of terrifying minuses embodied by the current officeholder, they're a bunch of shiny saints.

Weasley_is_our_king15 karma

Saw you and a bunch of the other nerdcore artists at the SXSW showcase last month. My husband and I go every year and you're one of the main acts we're there for, along with Schaffer and a few others. My question is, what's your favorite song to do live? Is there one that you're always particularly pumped about?

Also, not a question but just wanted to say that I absolutely love the amount of enunciation you use in your performances. Every word is so crisp and clear, which I find refreshing.

mc_frontalot4 karma

Thanks! Mealy-mouthed rapping drives me batty.

Fave live is probably Tongue-Clucking Gramarrian. The crowd participation is easy to get the hang of (and I don't generally have enough call & response stuff in my songs) so it gets a reliable response from a big crowd. And the verses are only 8 bars long so it's a fantastic warm-up number.

AquaSky4 karma

Favorite D&D class?

mc_frontalot6 karma


WizardsVengeance4 karma

How do you feel like your place in the culture and nerdcore as a genre have evolved as both nerd culture and hip hop have become more and more mainstream over the past decade?

mc_frontalot10 karma

On the one hand, it's like we (nerdfolk) are all living this fever dream where the culture at large had to recognize and accept that all the shit we're obsessed with is in fact the most entertaining shit. Personally, it is every so slightly a bummer that when I came up with nerdcore in 2000, it was very easy to find journalists and listeners whose first reaction was "nerd-focused raps? WHOAH, lemme check THAT out!" whereas these days it's more likely to encounter a first reaction like, "Oh, another nerd thing? Is this like that tee shirt where Scooby Doo is K-9 from Dr Who?"

In a sense I got in at the ground floor, so at least I can point to my long standing while I wallow in insecurity and doubt.

Natebw4 karma

I am huge open music fan so I appreciate you letting people use your music for NON COMMERCIAL projects. I make a non commercial podcast about creative commons music and will be including a song of yours to promote you. Do you have a suggestion of yours to use a track to use?

mc_frontalot6 karma

Freedom Feud! That one's fully CC licensed. I also released the stems for remixing, so you could build an instrumental bed to chit-chat over if you felt like it.

Brawsoone4 karma

Mr. Frontalot, how many donuts could you eat at gunpoint? My friend says 48, and we think that's bullshit.

mc_frontalot13 karma

This is obviously a trick question. The Gunpoint Donut Emporium of Toledo, OH, is a proudly bespoke confectionery and strictly enforces its 2-per-customer policy.

xfan4124 karma

Are you still playing kingdom of loathing?

mc_frontalot4 karma

Not lately! But I want to go back and replay the section they let me design, the Quest For The Legendary Beat. It's been long enough that I think I won't remember how my own puzzles work.

If you can't find the object (a vinyl 45 I think) that lets you teleport in there, let me know and I'll log on and give you one. I think I bought a hundred of them when they were available.

ceilius2 karma

Can I jump on this offer too? I had no idea you'd done this and I'm a fan of both!

mc_frontalot3 karma

Anyone! Everyone! Write me k-mail, and I'll check in a few days. I'm Nerflor Snubdubble.

nrrdgrrlforlife4 karma

You're my favorite nerdcore artist (been a fan since early '07) and I'll finally be seeing you live on May 12th in Charlotte.

Would it be too bold of me to ask for a picture with you?

mc_frontalot14 karma

I am always happy to take pictures at venues! Not so much in men's rooms or while loading the van out back.

A warning for Those Who Put Arms Around Rappers While Taking Pictures: I don't mind getting cozy for a photo, but when I've been onstage recently I tend to be REAL SOGGY so don't wear your dry-clean-only sleeves.

ReverendEntity4 karma

Would you consider annotating some of your tracks on the Genius website?

mc_frontalot5 karma

It's a little like editing your own Wiki page, which I've (proudly) never done. I feel like if I'm not notable enough to have people do the annotations on my stuff, I look slightly sad trying to do them myself. That said, I've commented or corrected things on Genius once in a while when I poke my head in there. I can only look at that site for so long before I get very angry that their entire business model is posting other people's lyrics without asking.

darks_00873 karma

Hey Front! Is your song "Mountain Kind" on any of your albums? I've had a bit of a hard time finding it. Its personally one of my favorites. Also, are there other songs or versions of songs out there floating around the web?

Also you have been a great source of joy to me over the past few years and I just wanted to thank you. I hope you continue to make these sick beats and take care of yourself :)

mc_frontalot5 karma

It isn't posted anywhere any more! That's one of my favorite beats I've ever put together but it's all samples, and two thirds of the samples are from songs about mountains. Couldn't create anything nearly as satisfying when I started putting the legal versions of songs together for the first album, so I let it be.

While I would never accept money for one of those old sample-heavy demos, some or all of them might be on my USB box set due to various data transfer errors and/or quantum uncertainty.

humongousDingus3 karma

Hey Front, big fan (i actually saw you a few months back in Englewood CO, and im loving the new album!) i was wondering, do you run Linux?

mc_frontalot2 karma

I have an Ubutnu distro running on an old thinkpad, but I don't use it for much.

HTLM223 karma

As an optometrist, I know that your glasses are a minus prescription for nearsighted by looking at them. I am guessing minus 5. Am I close? But you also are 45 years old, so that makes you "presbyopic" needing help seeing up close. Do you sometime wear contacts with rx and then put fake glasses over the contacts for the look?

mc_frontalot4 karma

I did do contacts and big fake frames for the first year or two of touring, because my real glasses were little wiry things and I didn't think they went with the rest of the uniform. But I got extremely sick of trying to put my contacts in in filthy bar bathrooms, and realized I could just shop for some dang old heavy-frame giant glasses, which are much nicer to wear and peer through anyway.

My distance glasses scrip is -7..75/-1.25/165 and -6.75/-1.5/157

GrizzledTheGrizzly3 karma

In Nerdcore Rising you mentioned being in the mirror, rhyming, brushing your teeth. Have you actually written/worked on any of your tracks while brushing your teeth, or was that just the early days?

mc_frontalot6 karma

I don't brush my teeth.

Dagnazty3 karma

A question that has been bugging me for years, did you make money off of the sales of Nerdcore Rising through DVD rental places?

mc_frontalot4 karma

Me? No. The director spent a lot making the movie and whatever income she got from it over the years has surely never recouped. Especially since the distributor she signed with managed to go out of business like a year later and never paid her! Indie movies is a tough game.

jdllama3 karma

First, I just wanted to say thank you for your original version of "Listen Close". The build up in emotion each chorus just gets me every time. Your version on Final Boss is great, don't get me wrong, but the demo good.

Second, an actual question! Were there any stories in Question Bedtime you wanted to get in there but couldn't get working? I love that album, and Wakjakaga is a personal favorite on there, but was just curious if there was something else you would have loved to explore.

mc_frontalot5 karma

The one goal I had on that Folk & Fairy Tales album that I only half-managed to meet: I wanted to explore stuff from more unfamiliar (to me) parts of the world. I wanted a balance between familiar and new-to-the-listener stories, and most english-language listeners are super familiar with all the bros grimm and everything disney's adapted, so I didn't mind there being a preponderance of euro folktale stuff. But I wanted to hit more geographical regions for the 'obscure' stories, and I didn't end up finding anything I could adapt from Africa, India, or South America. Still wish I had.

I took some solace at the time in the fact that a lot of that HCA and Grimm stuff found its way to Europe from earlier versions in farther-distant lands. The whole album owes a lot to a book I had when I was young, World Tales by Idries Shah. Shah present a breakdown on how each tale moved and flowed around the world before becoming whatever version we might know now.

roaringphoenix3 karma

My son asks, can you please make more raps about the issues he cares about? And by that he means.. the three billy goats and the emperor with excellent fashion sense.

You know, important 3-year-old nerd issues.

Additionally, your new album is great! I listen to it all the time while I work. I can't name a favorite because there are points in all of the songs I agree with but Memes are Stupid really spoke to me because I hate when people debate with them.

mc_frontalot3 karma

Tell the young'n thanks and I'll try!

percevel3 karma

Hey Front big fan! I've always wondered about the story behind 'Livin' At The Corner Of Dude & Catastrophe'. Was Todd a real homie? 'Secrets from the Future" is a masterpiece btw. The album not the song. But also the song.

mc_frontalot4 karma

Todd is a squirrel in the currently-defunct Chris Onstad comic Achewood. That whole song is about the world of Achewood (Onstad chose the songfight title that week), and Todd is a beloved little dirtbag who dies repeatedly. I link from the lyric to a bunch of the comics here.

Heyitsgizmo3 karma

Your delivery has always been for lack of a better word, impeccable to me. I think it's something that makes you stand out so much in Nerdcore and rap in general. Was this something that you were striving for or it just came naturally? Hoping to have a chance to work with you in the future. Bless up!

mc_frontalot6 karma

Aw, shucks!

I think I started out sort of imitating all the good popular rappers in small ways, and slowly over the years I developed a delivery of my own. Most of my influences were early-to-mid 90s guys. But everything else seeps in too.

Leigh_Lemon3 karma

Love your raps, first of all, can't wait to catch the tour. I've been wanting to expand my nerdcore playlist on Spotify. Are there any up-and-coming or lesser-known artists you'd recommend giving a listen?

mc_frontalot9 karma

Check out:

Lex the Lexicon Artist



Kadesh Flow

Creative Mind Frame


Tribe One

you already know about Sammus

MyMetalPony3 karma

I've missed seeing you at PAX East the last couple of years. Do you have any plans to come back?

mc_frontalot3 karma

As soon as they'll have me!

Strichnine3 karma

When will your crime spree end?

mc_frontalot3 karma

Upon the issue of any administrative bench warrant.

TheAeromarine3 karma

Hey Front,

I played your favoritism album all the time back in college, and my little sister (who was 7) learned to rap Stoop Sale in its entirely as a result. Have you ever written a rap that was too "serious" to put out under your nerdcord persona? Do you ever feel creatively boxed in by it, or do you just always naturally choose to write nerdy raps?

Ps plz play Toronto I'll bring donuts

mc_frontalot8 karma

I try to write whatever the heck I want. But maybe subconsciously I steer away from things I don't think the audience will dig. I've never run into a situation where I felt like I couldn't or shouldn't do something.

There are dozens of less-overtly geeky tracks on my albums: In Arrears, Solved (title track), Front The Least, Listen Close, the political songs, maybe the whole fairy tales album. I'm in this privileged position where anything that comes out of my mouth is automatically accepted as being legitimate nerdcore just because I coined the term. If I had the urge to dabble in other clearly delineated rap subgenres, like if I wanted to make a gangster rap song or a poppy autotuned sex jam, I bet I would run into some resistance. Luckily for me, my natural inclinations are all weirder than that.

Khabi3 karma

Many many years ago at PAX you signed my CD to the wrong name, and every year after you did as well (this was back when you had a little table and PAX was easy to get into). I never asked you to keep doing it, but I've always just assumed you remembered me and did it as a joke. Somewhere in a box I have a collection of CDs signed to names like Derek with the name scratched out and my real name written next to them. It always cracks me up when I think back and go "Yea, me and MC Frontalot had an inside joke for a few years".

I haven't been able to see you live in a long time, but I can only imagine things have gotten bigger. Do you miss those days when you were more niche and drew smaller more familiar crowds?

mc_frontalot4 karma

Folks who come meet me at con booths or at the merch after shows are unfailingly so kind and generous in their appreciation. It has certainly transitioned over the years from "I'm so happy someone decided to make this kind of music" to "I'm so happy you're still at it," but in every case I feel very grateful for the props.

And in terms of size, it's great when I can chat with everyone, but at a show that's so big that we gotta keep the line moving, that's great too just because it means I'll definitely be back to wherever I am.

jddennis3 karma

Hey frontalot, thanks for the AMA!

One thing I've been concerned about is the place of nostalgia in nerd culture. It seems we can become engrossed in the old things that we love and retreat from the hard facts about the world around us. I think that the desire for nostalgia act as blinders to the greater world around us.

Also, if changes happen that could affect the love of something we hold dear, it seems certain netizens go on the offensive. A great example of this is the response to the 2016 Gostbusters.

Do you think this is an issue? If so, how can we as community members work to make things better?

mc_frontalot4 karma

Yes indeed, we nerds are famously precious about our beloved media. And grouchy about every one of the iterations. I think the healthiest thing to do is for each of us to just let different versions of A Thing each occupy its own conceptual ground, sort of firewall it off from the greater franchise. That way we don't have to suffer that weird nerd paranoia that a young new viewer's acceptance of, say, The Phantom Menace, will reflect poorly on our own love of, say, The Empire Strikes Back. This also frees us to enjoy various modern retreads without having to demand that they hold the impossible torch.

In general, the nerd urge to yell at other people that they're enjoying stuff too much or not enough or in the wrong way is an ugly urge and hopefully most of us grow out of it at some point.

th3redhood3 karma

FRONT! What's next for the man who was once called a vehement regular by the staff at a fast food establishment? (That's... I'm talking 'bout you if that...if that wasn't clear.)

mc_frontalot3 karma

Next up! Going into that fast food establishment and insisting that they stop talking about my dining habits.

Then! Performing this Friday in New York City, off on the Mt. Nerdcore Tour at the end of April & most of May, planning the vinyl box set and the fall tour, and maybe even putting together another album this year! Sound ambitious. Might be too ambitious. But never say die.

Lost_vob3 karma

If you, YtCracker, and Int eighty were to compete against one another in a CTF event, who would come out on top?

mc_frontalot9 karma

In real life? Int80. He's wiry and quick. I'm a creaky old bastich and ytcracker is usually in a barbituate haze.

On the LAN? Also Int80.

BeauBWan3 karma


Ran in to you before a show in Carrboro at Carrburritos a while back. I let you eat and we ended up chilling at the show instead. But I've been wondering since then...

What is your ideal burrito?

mc_frontalot4 karma

I like chicken (stewed, not grilled) with cheese, pinto beans, salsa, lettuce, guac. Rice & sour cream are optional. Corn and broccoli and kale and all that weird extra shit is not acceptable.

To truly become the Ideal Burrito, it must also give me superpowers.

Rhesusmonkeydave3 karma

Woohoo new Frontalot? I got called into work both my days off and this week was off to a ugly start but this just turned everything around for the awesome!

mc_frontalot5 karma

Please present your kind flatteries in the form of a question.

Rhesusmonkeydave4 karma

ā€œWhat if... that thing I saidā€ -Fry

My boredom and crappy week got Solved, could this MC be any more majestic and awesome? :D

mc_frontalot6 karma

Probably at least a little more majestic and awesome, but let us not grieve unrealized potential, and instead savor the bliss-riddled now.

MasterRaps2 karma

Might not be the best place to do this, but here goes nothing: You inspired me to start making nerdcore hip hop music when I was in middle school. Now I'm 22 and I'm doing my best to be as innovative with the genre as I can. Here's one song I made, would love to hear your thoughts:

Couple other questions: MC Lars made a blog post in 2009 marking the death of nerdcore. What were your thoughts on this then, and what are your thoughts now, about ten years since the initial blowup of nerdcore? Furthermore, in the blog post, Lars talks about how a lot of people who wanted to start making nerdcore music got confused between the music side of it and the identity side. With people putting their nerdiness above making actual good music basically. Any thoughts on that and how it affects the genre?

Hopefully that isn't too much. You're one of my absolute heroes, I can't stress that enough. The new record is phenomenal.

mc_frontalot3 karma

Many thanks.

Just clicked on that track, sounding good! Keep at it for sure.

Ah yes, that nerdcore post. My dear friend Lars sometimes makes impulsive public maneuvers. He thought better of it soon enough, and still maintains for the catalog of his public appearances. As well as gladly participating in every article and interview that has 'nerdcore' in the headline. He's made his peace with it and come to love being associated, I believe.

For my part, I never understood the music connoisseur's obsession with relevance and currency. Part of the point of nerdcore was to sidestep coolness and trends, to make something that would never have to get buzzy in order to work, and so could never be 'over' when a trend died off.

There is something that a number of rappers do, though, which is: they start to get attention, and their management tells them to break from nerdcore asap so they don't get pigeonholed into a designation that the industry (and probably most hip-hop fans worldwide) would consider a niche, (or worse, get mistaken for musical comedy, a genre that nobody in the music industry respects and few in the comedy industry enjoy). That's a reasonable thing! What I always want to tell them is, you don't have to be nerdcore to make some nerdcore songs, and if you're smart and a bit weird and don't care about how cool you look, you've probably made some songs that listeners will call nerdcore. You don't have to be A Nerdcore Rapper just because you made a bunch of material that nerdcore fans are happy to call by that name, any more than you have to be A Trap Artist or a Jungle Artist because you did something (or a bunch of somethings) in that particular style. I also usually want to tell them: you will break up with that manager pretty soon so don't take his or her advice that you should insult your rapper friends who DO want to be called nerdcore while you're wrestling with your rap identity in public. Stand above the currents. Only your boot-soles need ever grow damp.

Lost_vob2 karma

What does the future look like for Nerdcore?

mc_frontalot3 karma

No clue! The younger or newer folks in the scene are doing amazing work and I hope they'll keep making it thrive. Check out the few I mentioned elsewhere in this thread & the many excellent ones I neglected to point out.

bmckinleywv2 karma

Frontalot! Iā€™m so excited to see you in Pittsburgh again. I made you all laser engraved tour logos last time.

If you were to get something else engraved, what would it be? Iā€™d love to gift you all something again.

mc_frontalot2 karma

Those were awesome! Are awesome. I certainly have kept mine.

I don't know how well the art for our Watchmen single would work without colors, but that might be worth considering. Probably have to hit up Lars or Ran for a hi-res source.

PIXeL_922 karma

What should I have for dinner ?

mc_frontalot3 karma

Something just barely healthy enough that you don't feel shitty afterward.

NGWitty2 karma

Why rap? What I mean is, why choose rap as a genre to be the conduit through which hardcore flowed? Surely you must of considered some other genre? Nerdcore Rock? Nerdcore reggae? Nerdcore death metal??

mc_frontalot5 karma

I have always made other kinds of music in small doses. If you did some sleuthing you'd find 30 songs or so not listed under Frontalot in the songfight archives. There's my pop/rock musical (w/ Gm7) called Young Zombies in Love. Etc!

But when the desktop computron got fast enough in 1999 to do 16b/44.1k audio mixing, that editing environment got me excited about hip-hop production. Pulling samples from CDs and chopping them up created something so far above my old 4-track attempts at hip-hop that I wanted to go deep. Also, the difference between doing a take on a 4-track and comping takes on the computer made me sound like I was 10-more-years-of-practice better at rapping, and that was thrilling too. Once the mp3s started getting a big response, my ego probably locked me into this continuing effort to make better raps.

Plus I love hip-hop and being allowed to participate in my small way is important to me.

Mr_Rippe2 karma

What's in your rider?

mc_frontalot5 karma

Waters and a towel, usually. If a place insists on something fancier, I do like a crudites platter and some hot black coffee.

Toonyam2 karma

You ever coming to Taos, NM?

mc_frontalot2 karma

We hit Albuquerque in October! If our touring is ever robust enough to play two NM dates on the same run, I assume Taos would be second.

Toonyam2 karma

Would you ever battle MC Paul Barman?

mc_frontalot6 karma

I'm a writer and not a battle rapper. All my frestyling is amateurish and weak. Plus, I like Paul and would not want him to feel bad because of my devastating battle pronouncements.

Toonyam2 karma

Have you ever thought of being in or directing a film?

mc_frontalot6 karma

I have always (always!) wanted to do voice acting in cartoons. I would happily hold down a live-action role if someone thought they could get a performance out of me that didn't detract from the project. I'm finally the right age to be some character's dad who you don't expect to start rapping competently but then he does.

ceilius2 karma

Hey Front, love your work and your new album - it's been fun to listen to it and to JoCo's Solid State together. Kind of feels like two different riffs on the same melody. Wanted to ask if there was ever a thought to revive the old BBS on I never quite put in the time to fiddle with the Painstakingly Concealed Secret Track and without the hints there I don't like my odds.

Looking forward to your next stop in Atlanta!

mc_frontalot2 karma

The old BBS is browsable at internet archive's wayback machine. I believe all the community hints/solutions are there. And the back end for the endgame is working again, thanks to some new coding by my Austin pal Wendall!

HappyTimeHollis2 karma

If you could only watch one and never get to know the results of the others, which of the following would you choose?

Avengers: Endgame

Game of Thrones Season 7

Wrestlemania 35

The Hellboy remake

Love, Death & Robots.

As an aside, thank you for all the music. You inspire me to be a greater musician every time I hear your songs.

mc_frontalot5 karma

GoT S7 for sure. But I'm not sure what kind of insane internet filters I'd have to set up to remain unaware of the Avengers Endgame plot by day 7 of that movie being out.

angelic-scars2 karma

Hi. I saw you live in Bristol at Thekla a few years ago. It was amazing. I was going through chemo at the time and managed to get my sister to take me to see your gig with Wheatus. I didn't manage to stay for Wheatus as I was worn out from getting as close to the front as possible and singing along.

I got my sister to ask you if I could have a photo with you as I was so nervous. You were lovely and I love that picture. It was probably one of the only good things to happen to me that year.

Sorry, I dont have a question, I just wanted to thank you for that brilliant evening and your music is amazing. Love the new album too!

Edit, comment got removed as I didn't ask a question, sorry, I'm a dumbass. Will you be coming back on tour in the UK?

mc_frontalot3 karma

I'll come back when Wheatus is kind enough to bring me again, and/or when I can team up with enough other rappers to make it a good run. It is very dispiriting to go from opening for Wheatus's thriving crowds to headlining in pubs where very few people know me. But I love touring there and I'll be back for sure.

Also: I'm glad the chemo worked out, or worked out well enough that you're still with us!

KingParris10222 karma

Out of all your song, which is most personal to you?

mc_frontalot5 karma

Maybe Listen Close? Or A Very Unlikely Occurrence.

Spoon1662 karma

What's your favorite song of yours?

mc_frontalot6 karma

Upthread I said Stoop Sale or Two Dreamers, but now I'm going to say This Old Man. That Spellah/Gm7 beat, in the current parlance, slaps.

thatmillerkid2 karma

If you could guest verse on any rapper's album, whose would you choose and why?

Also, I loved the Sarkesian feature on the album! Do you feel as if toxic internet masculinity is getting better or worse overall?

mc_frontalot6 karma

Its visibility will flare up WILDLY during the presidential election cycle. And the cultishly pro-misogyny cabal online is genuinely scary, and surely has room to grow even scarier and more destructive. But as a counterweight, the vast gang of woke children is also a lot bigger than it was in my own younger days, and has the potential to be the defining sensibility of Gens Y and Z as their adulthood solidifies and they take over the world. So that's heartening.

If I could guest on anyone's album, it'd be either Del or MF Doom.