Movie note: Ridin’ nerdy


According to MC Frontalot, “the godfather of nerdcore hip-hop,” nerdcore rap is precisely what the name implies: nerdy rap.

Nerdcore Rising, a documentary film directed by Negin Farsad. Screening at the St. Anthony Main Theater on October 29 (7:15 p.m.) as part of the Sound Unseen film festival. Admission $8. For more information, see

In her documentary Nerdcore Rising, director Negin Farsad trails the journey of Damian (a.k.a. MC Frontalot), Brandon, Sturgis and Gaby—four guys who got together and started producing a new kind of music that they decided to term Nerdcore. It’s rap that addresses subjects like computers, math, science, Magic the Gathering (if you have to ask, you’ll never know), Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica. At the beginning of the film, the four band members are preparing to set off on their first national tour across the United States. On the road, the four (un)hip-hoppers discover music’s power to unite.

The film moves by at a good pace; it is witty and light-hearted. Riding along with the band members in their van, hanging out with them in hotel rooms, and witnessing their banter back and forth, by the end of the film you feel like you’ve been having fun and getting to know a regular group of guys—guys you could have sat next to in high school geometry.

The film is both entertaining and thought-provoking, exploring what it means to go against the mainstream. It includes interviews with musician “Weird Al” Yankovic, hip-hop artist J-Live, and hip-hop producer Prince Paul (De La Soul), plus interviews with nerdcore rappers with names like Ultraklystron and Nursehella.

In the film, one young fan sums up the nerdcore movement: “Nerds rising up against everything that people think we are…rising up against our stereotypes and being cool [not] despite what we do [but] being cool because of what we do.” Nerdcore is about encouraging people—particularly nerds—to be who they really are, and Farsad’s documentary conveys this. Whether or not you speak Klingon, the film will inspire.

Emily Byers-Ferrian ( is a freelance writer. She is assistant editor at Alive Magazine in Minneapolis.

Sound Unseen in the Daily Planet:
• Cyn Collins on Heavy Metal in Baghdad, Heima, and Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake
• Jay Gabler on Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes
• Melissa Slachetka on Largo