San Francisco, CA, USA
The original mastermind of Nerdcore Hip-Hop and still its Final Boss, MC Frontalot (nee Damian Hess) takes great pleasure in identifying himself as a professional rapper in polite conversation.
Front was born in San Francisco and grew up in Berkeley. He was tall and gangling, scrawny, had trouble breathing, and could not see well. A special teacher was called in to help him attain basic competence on the monkey bars, another to privately administer standardized tests (his were three grade levels advanced from his classmates). Thusly, he was the most popular kid in his elementary school. Just kidding! He got pushed down a lot and called "nerd." Did he maybe even deserve it? I mean, really - who strikes out at kickball?
He spent the next twenty years or so trying to get over it. And kind of succeeded! Flash forward to 1999: the dotcom bubble is maximally inflated; nerds everywhere imagine themselves to be popular and/or hip. Damian is getting overpaid to code web pages, which leaves him free in the evenings to play with audio software. A longtime idolizer of rappers, he has been committing his own esoteric hip-hop compositions to four-track tape since high school, revealing them to nobody. Suddenly! Multi-track desktop studios, cheap pro-grade recording hardware, skyrocketing bandwidth, semi-anonymous web publishing - these factors converge on Damian's rap hobby like a flock of winged monkeys. He posts an MC Frontalot web page, dubbing his output "Nerdcore Hip-Hop" since his audience is composed of several Star Wars figurines who live on his desk (and also random internet people who click on his MP3s by mistake).
Now it is 2010. Nerdcore has metastasized into an internet phenomenon and underground touring powerhouse, with dozens of live acts and more than a hundred home-studio rhymers self-identifying within the subgenre. MC Frontalot, called alternately the movement's godfather or grandfather (thanks, kids), leads the charge, performing for thousands around the country and at prominent geek gatherings such as the Penny Arcade Expo and BlizzCon. He's been featured in Newsweek, CNN, The New York Times, Spin, Wired, Blender, XXL, XLR8R, The London Daily Telegraph, NPR, G4TV, Esquire, The Guardian (UK), The Wall Street Journal, and scores of city papers nationally and internationally. He has released four studio albums, Nerdcore Rising (Sept 2005), Secrets From The Future (Apr 2007), Final Boss (Nov 2008), and Zero Day (Apr 2010). The documentary feature, Nerdcore Rising: The Movie, which focuses on Front's live band and the Nerdcore phenomenon general, debuted at the South By Southwest Film Festival, March 2008, and is currently distributed by Virgil films / B-Side.
Convention Guest Appearances
- MAGFest 2019 - January 3-6, 2019 in National Harbor, MD, USA 2018
- JoCo Cruise 2018 - February 18-25, 2018 in Departing from San Diego, CA, USA 2017
- PAX West 2017 - September 1-4, 2017 in Seattle, WA, USA
- Liberty City Anime Con 2017 - August 18-20, 2017 in New York, NY, USA
- TooManyGames 2017 - June 23-25, 2017 in Oaks, PA, USA
- PAX East 2017 - March 10-12, 2017 in Boston, MA, USA 2016
- PAX West 2016 - September 2-5, 2016 in Seattle, WA, USA 2015
- PAX Australia 2015 - October 30 - November 1, 2015 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 2014
- Orlando Nerd Fest 2014 - August 7-11, 2014 in Orlando, FL, USA 2013
- Florida Supercon 2013 - July 4-7, 2013 in Miami, FL, USA 2012
- PAX East 2012 - April 6-8, 2012 in Boston, MA, USA
- JoCo Cruise Crazy 2012 - February 16-26, 2012 in Departs from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA 2011
- Nekocon 2011 - November 4-6, 2011 in Hampton, VA, USA
- Anime Boston 2011 - April 22-24, 2011 in Boston, MA, USA
- PAX East 2011 - March 11-13, 2011 in Boston, MA, USA 2010
- PAX Prime 2010 - September 3-5, 2010 in Seattle, WA, USA
- Florida Supercon 2010 - June 18-20, 2010 in Miami, FL, USA 2009
- Castle Point Anime Convention 2009 - March 29, 2009 in Hoboken, NJ, USA 2008
- Penny Arcade Expo 2008 - August 29-31, 2008 in Seattle, WA, USA
- Anime Boston 2008 - March 21-23, 2008 in Boston, MA, USA
20 confirmed guest appearances