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Breaking down cultural barriers, PAX’s influence on the Nerdcore genre.

Get the low down on the public and professional opinion of PAX's influence on the Nerdcore genre.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

Some would argue that Nerdcore has been taking the world by storm, even attracting the attention of mainstream media outlets. This is something that hasn’t been experienced since gaming culture was embraced by mainstream culture as witnessed in viral movies such as “Grandma’s Boy”. NerdCore, a once small and obscure subculture confined to small internet forums and IRC channels is now being embraced outside of nerd culture. For example, MC Chris’ Hoodie Ninja in a Honda Civic commercial.

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     MC Frontalot, a Penny Arcade eXpo (PAX) regular, is often cited as the first Nerdcore hip hop artist, but clearly nerd music has been around for some time bonded to other musical genres. If we remember “Revenge of the Nerds” there was a delightful musical number at the end, which allowed the nerd frat to defeat those menacing jocks. DEVO and “Weird” Al Yankovic are clear nerd music starters and shakers of geek music. Since the rise of the nerds in the 1980’s, nerds have made music. They also made music before, but the label “nerd” wasn’t around. Certainly the Theremin could be considered a “nerd” musical instrument, as it was created by scientist & spy Leon Theremin. Nerdcore has separated itself from nerd music and has grown legs to stand on its own.


     The Documentary “NerdCore Rising” introduced many mainstreamers and nerds alike to the Nerdcore scene but PAX may be the biggest influence yet. Some very influential Nerdcore artists like Mega Ran and McFrontalot argued points that insinuated PAX is responsible for the viral awakening of the nerdcore genre (see video). PAX East and Prime alike are both incredible avenues for fans to be introduced to this unique and intellectual music. Many of the people we interviewed were introduced to Nerdcore at PAX in the last few years alone. Surprisingly, more often than not these Nerdcore fans were not at all fans of conventional rap! 

     Nerdcore, filled with smart pop culture tie-ins and video game references brings laughs and memories to the hearts of many gamers. Nerdcore can make you think, it can make you cry, and it can turn up your energy levels. It gives many a genre that speaks to them, a community to belong to, and inspiration to let their nerd flag fly. Nerdcore is poetry that modern humans can relate to, and it’s current popularity may be all thanks to PAX!

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A gamer with a love for rap, gaming and all of nerd culture.