Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In A World Gone Mad (It's Hard To Think Right)

The last week or so has been mad, and I mean mad in the most positive manner possible. Things have been, from my standpoint at least, undeniably odd and getting weirder every day. It seems that, once again, everything is coming up… nerdy.

When nerdcore invaded CES, I didn’t bat an eye. It was surreal, sure, but I had steeled myself against the inevitable onslaught of such an occurrence; I had mentally prepared. When said event generated press buzz, if you will – I was pleased. It’s hard not to be proud when exposed to the spectacle of Doc Pop being interviewed in a luxury bathroom!

But that just didn’t seem to be enough.

The universe obviously wanted to geek things up another notch.

And thus came news that prolific producer Timbaland may have completely ganked the music for a track from Nelly Furtado’s new album Loose from the nerdiest of sources: a Finnish chiptune musician named Janne Suni.

Could it get any stranger than that?

How about rumors of a forthcoming mc chris interview at! Add to that additional mumblings that mc may finally be warming to the idea of the nerdcore scene!!

Surely things couldn’t get any more bizarre?

Things can. Things will. Things did.

Last night I spoke to a fellow named Jason Tanz. You may’ve heard the name before, as the gentleman in question is the writer of the soon-to-be released "Other People's Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America." The book, if memory serves, was recently mentioned by our own venerable MC Frontalot, but Front's link to a book about white guys rapping isn’t teh w31rdn3z of which I speak. Jason contacted me regarding a small article he was writing concerning nerdcore hip hop for Esquire magazine. Yes, the gentleman’s periodical that once played host to the works of Ernest Hemingway is considering publishing a piece on nerdcore.

I try not to get excited about things like this. The scene has, unfortunately, been burned before. To his credit, Jason was brutally honest concerning the article: 300 words, no guarantee that any specific quotes or names would be published, with the aforementioned Newsweek piece looming as a detriment to the actual publication of his. Still, he came off as a genuinely likable guy. He asked questions that were seemingly pertinent, and, as evidenced by the subject of his book, Jason seems to have an actual interest in hip hop.

So, questions of will it find its way to publication aside, I think we can agree that an actual writer working on an actual story for an actual magazine about nerd music is oddity personified… compounded, of course, by the fact that he actually contacted me on the subject.

After all, if nerdcore is a museum, then guys like Frontalot and Doctor Popular are the featured artists. Folks like High-C and Dan Lamoureux, the guys who put together the projects that make the world take notice of the creative energies exhibited by our little corner of the spectrum, are like the curators. Cats like Jason Tanz are the guides; they show the public the exhibits and answer all the questions they can. Me? I’m pretty much the janitor. I mostly just try to keep things presentable, keep the dust from settling.

And a world where you ask the janitor for his input is a world gone mad.


Beefy said...

So long as the words "funky fresh" aren't use I think it'll be a wonderful 300 words.

Z. said...

I actually made mention of the very same debacle. Hopefully, if the piece does make, Tanz will take a different approach.

matt s said...

Z you sell yourself short. You're not the janitor, you're the tour guide. And as more journalists start to look at nerdcore as more then just a space padding puff piece, more of them are going to come to you looking for context before they wade into the scene.

So, in short, the successful future of the Nerdcore scene rests squarley on your shoulders. Don't fuck it up.

Z. said...

Ah, Matt, you always know just the right thing to say.

"So, in short, the successful future of the Nerdcore scene rests squarley on your shoulders. Don't fuck it up."

You calm my nerves like an ice-cold espresso enema! ;)

steve said...

wow. Timbaland got inspired by someone else and made money from him. damn. that's pretty cool news, thanks for sharing!

Z. said...

You missed the big story, Steve: Doc Pop got interviewed in the bathroom! :D

Seriously, though, did you check out the YouTube vid? There are some pretty sharp similarities.