At the intersection of underground hip-hop and all things nerd, with a DIY aesthetic and growing fan base, “nerdcore” is a unique phenomenon. Artists in this sub-genre tackle topics mostly ignored by mainstream rap, and while doing so, appeal to an audience that crosses musical boundaries. So, here are five nerdcore rappers who explored the Star Wars universe:
Mega Ran (featuring Phill Harmonix) – “The Force Pull”
Released on May 4, 2014, to celebrate Star Wars Day, “The Force Pull” is a nostalgic trip. The song’s autobiographical lyrics, versed with skill and taste by Mega Ran and Phill Harmonix over a smooth and subtle beat, are instantly relatable to anyone who grew up in the basking glow of Star Wars.
“The Force Pull” is a departure for Mega Ran, as he usually explores the worlds of horror movies and video games. Mega Ran garnered the term “chip-hop” to describe his music as he often pulls samples from old school Capcom releases – with the blessing of the company. While this song is a little different, the signature delivery that Mega Ran is known for is still there.
The force is strong with Mega Ran, who told FANDOM, “I feel like no matter how bad this world is, the fact that we’re getting a new Star Wars movie every year literally helps me get by.”
MC Chris – “Fett’s Vette”
MC Chris is one of the more recognizable names in nerdcore due to his easily identifiable aggressive style and tenor voice. This quality is, in part, what led to Adult Swim hiring him to voice characters in shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021. These roles also led to more exposure for his music and the nerdcore genre.
“Fett’s Vette” is a flagship song for nerdcore as the lyrics are from the viewpoint of one of Star Wars’ most iconic characters while the accompanying music is infectious and original. The soundscape includes everything from pulsing strings and synth to vinyl scratches, as well as the rapper’s voice used for instrumental effect in layered tracks. The song is one of four by MC Chris that sublimely yet bizarrely pairs an earthly vehicle with a bounty hunter from the Star Wars universe.
MC Frontalot – “Yellow Lasers”
MC Frontalot performs wearing a tie, glasses, and pocket protector, as if he just emerged from an office cubicle. In 2000, the San Francisco rapper coined the name of the musical sub-genre with his song “Nerdcore Hip-Hop”.
On “Yellow Lasers”, Front takes minimal instrumentation, including standup bass over drums and synth effects, and uses it to create a laid-back groove, adding lyrics about meeting a Princess Leia cosplayer at a convention. The song goes to surprising and strange places while shouting out to the films that brought the two fans together.
Richie Branson – “Cloud City Problems”
Along with releasing solo material and freelancing as a composer, producer, and game designer, Richie Branson has been a key collaborator in the nerdcore scene. He has toured with MC Chris and worked with other rappers like Mega Ran, with whom he released the Ghouls N’ Ghosts EP.
In 2012, Richie put out a solo release called The N.E.R.D. EP, which features the song, “Cloud City Problems,” a Weird Al-style tribute to Jay Z’s “99 Problems”. The song explores the daily life of an inhabitant of Bespin with humor and style. Whether it’s saving up enough credits to buy back the Millenium Falcon, making bets in cantinas, or laying low from imperial forces, the references flow like blue milk.
MC Lars (featuring Brian Mazzaferri)- “If I Were a Jedi (That Would be Hella Awesome)”
A rapper, instrumentalist, cartoonist, producer, and owner of his label, Horris Records, MC Lars is a nerdcore mainstay. His pop sensibility includes post-punk influences which means the rapper even performs with live bands at his shows.
With an intro that pays tribute to Run DMC, lyrics that consider the possibilities of real-world Jedi powers, and a syrupy sung chorus, MC Lars gives us his Star Wars take with “If I Were a Jedi (That Would be Hella Awesome)”.
MC Lars’ music covers a wide range of subject matter, from the works of Edgar Allan Poe to Game of Thrones. Another hard working musician waving the nerdcore flag, this Californian rapper is a force to be reckoned with.