A Shop of Ideas: Nerdcore 101

A Shop of Ideas: Nerdcore 101

Hey Fandom! Welcome to the Shop of Idea’s Nerd-Music Special. You might be thinking to yourself, “Music? I thought this column was about dynamic and original concepts in comic shop retailing. What’s that got to do with music?” Nerdiness isn’t about dingy stores and basement-dwelling anymore, it’s a wide-spread and broad-sweeping lifestyle with integrity. In recent years, nerdy music and Nerdcore rap have risen to the forefront of the fandom’s self-expression and become an important part of nerd culture. The comic shop should be the hub of your local nerd community, and supporting nerd music is a great way to stimulate the fandom. There’s plenty of ways shops can start to add the fun of Nerdcore to their store and comic fans will enjoy listening to songs that reference things relevant to their interests. At “A Comic Shop” we’re sponsoring the upcoming second annual Nerdapalooza nerd music festival. There is some amazing nerd-themed music out there, and in this article we’re going to tell you all about it.

Nerdapalooza: http://nerdapaloozafest.com

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=178067355124

Nerdcore is a genre of hip hop characterized by subject matter of general interest to nerds – comic books, sci-fi/fantasy, video games, etc. The term was coined in 2000 by MC Frontalot in his song, "Nerdcore Hiphop", and thus the genre was born. Perhaps the best known Nerdcore MC is mc chris, who is well known in pop culture circles for his voice work on several of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim shows. Wordburglar, a former comic jockey at Canada’s Strange Adventures comic shop, rhymes about everything from Watchmen to girl trouble. These are rappers who are nerds and rap about what they know. At “A Comic Shop” we play only nerdcore and geek rock and have found that the music, beyond being appropriate, really energizes us. Video game remixes bring on an awesome nostalgic vibe while Weird Al’s “White & Nerdy” fills me with nerd pride. Any comic shop can experiment with adding nerd music to their playlist. Many nerd artists have a DIY ethic and are self released, some can be downloaded for free on http://www.rhymetorrents.org . Also, John “Hex” Carter, the guy who makes our playlist and runs Nerdapalooza, would


be happy to help any comic shop with a starter playlist. Just give him a holler at hex@nerdyshow.com . Some comic shops we’ve been in have no music playing, the radio with commercials, or the same tired movie soundtracks. Nerd music reinforces the coolness of the products we sell - and it’s fun!

mc chris: http://www.myspace.com/mcchris

MC Frontalot: http://www.myspace.com/mcfrontalott

Wordburgular: http://www.myspace.com/wordburglar

At “A Comic Shop” we also sell nerd music albums. Most of the time we get the CDs from the artists themselves, but some are distributed through regular music channels. There are plenty of arguments for not selling CDs, particularly when a lot of this music is available for free legal download not to mention the ever-looming specter of illegal downloading. Despite these very good arguments, the fact is when a customer likes something he or she hears playing at the store, they buy it. We feel that selling nerd CDs make a lot more sense than selling things like the same DVDs and mass market toys that Wal-Mart sells almost as low as our wholesale prices, and certainly higher than most store’s marked-up collector prices. Carrying a product line relevant to nerd interests that’s not in Diamond’s Previews catalogue can set you apart from other shops in your area and also endear you to the nerd music community for other team-ups. Yes, it’s a bit of a pain to contact several different artists to sell their CDs, but the upside is building a relationship with each of these up-and-coming artists. Some of the artists will link you on their sites as a place to buy their CD.


Another way comic shops can build synergy with the growing nerd music scene is sponsoring a local concert. When these guys go on tour, find out about it and sponsor it. You can get your shop’s logo and website on the flyers, possibly set up a table at the show, and get a shout out from the stage that your shop supports this stuff. There are plenty of people who identify themselves as “nerds”, but don’t read comics. To me, a nerd is someone with pop culture obsessions and comic books are the heart and soul of pop culture. Comics encompass every genre and every fan base – there’s a comic book for everyone, no matter their tastes. So a self-described “nerd” who watches comic movies, plays comic video games, and wears comic t-shirts, but doesn’t read comics is missing out on the greatest, most essential component of the culture. Odd as it may seem, a lot of these non-comic reading nerds flock to nerd music concerts. The fact is, any Boba Fett fan at an mc chris show will want Dark Horse’s graphic novel, Enemy of the Empire - it’s original content of their favorite bounty hunter! Nerds who don’t read comics just need more comic book exposure, and in order to pick up these would-be readers, comic shops need to make sure they’re in the right place to get noticed. Here in Orlando, we are lucky enough to be a hub for nerdy music, hence our sponsorship of the Nerdapalooza Fest, a two-day concert/party for everyone who’s a fan of nerdcore hip hop, chiptunes, comedy rock, video game music, VG remixes, and more.

Jason from A Comic Shop

For the last year and a half “A Comic Shop” has done all the stuff we talked about above. We play nerd music in our shop, sell CDs, sponsor local concerts - and now we’re part of this scene and the main sponsor of the largest nerd music festival ever, Nerdapalooza. All the big names in Nerdcore will be there, including MC Frontalot, mc chris, and MC Lars, not to mention the Protomen, a Mega Man-inspired rock group who just recently played at Boonaroo. The best part about the event, from the shop’s point of view, is the pre-party. The day before the concert we’re having several of the artists perform at “A Comic Shop” as the official kick off to the event. We’ll be supplying free beer (with proper I.D.), and we’ll be turning some self-described “nerds” on to comics! In addition to Nerdapalooza giving nerds their own place to rock, the event is a charity to benefit Child’s Play, a charity that gives video games to kids in need. That’s an idea we’re proud to sponsor!

Protomen: http://www.myspace.com/theprotomen

MC Lars: http://www.myspace.com/mclars

Child’s Play: http://www.childsplaycharity.org/

If you’re in the Orlando area, come out to the shop Friday July 10th at 8pm for a free concert and free beer!

Facebook RSVP:


Other Notable Nerd Artists:

Pixel8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opExJC12gIg

Zealous1: http://www.myspace.com/zealous1

Beefy: http://www.myspace.com/beefynerdcore

Schaffer the Darklord: http://www.myspace.com/schafferthedarklord

Harry and the Potters: http://www.myspace.com/harryandthepotters


aaron@acomicshop.com or jason@acomicshop.com

“A Comic Shop” is located at 114 S. Semoran Blvd Winter Park, FL 32792 (407) 332-9636. Established: 2006


Get Caught Up:

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A Shop of Ideas: How to Host a Successful Signing

A Shop of Ideas: Ideaology Epilogue 

A Shop of Ideas: Ideology Part 5, Future Vision 

A Shop of Ideas: Ideaology Part 4, Creativity Counts 

A Shop of Ideas: Ideaology Part 3, Format Neutral Story Advocates

A Shop of Ideas: Ideaology Part 2, My Free Comic Book Day

A Shop of Ideas: Ideology Part 1, NO MORE BACK ISSUES

A Shop of Ideas: Holiday Hullabaloo

A Shop of Ideas: Life at A Comic Shop 

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