on August 25, 2011
In a day and age when your average hip hop artist relies on arrogant posturing, conspicuous displays of consumerism and misogyny while displaying all the verbal dexterity of a trout wearing a ski boot, along comes MC Frontalot to solve our woes. Not only does he entertain us with his lyrical acrobatics, his dope beats, and tales of keeping it real in the server room, but his crew composed of such comedic geniuses as K-dawg Schaal, Wyatt Wiggedy Wiggedy Wa-Cenac and Not Aqua But Mirman, offer us nuggets of joy about life, love and baby making. Some favorite tracks of mine are "Invasion of the Not Quite Dead", a how-to for braineaters, "Victorian Space Prostitute" a tale of steampunk cosplayin' shawties, and "I'll Form the Head", a narrative on intra-gang conflict that goes down prior to a turf war. For the ladies Front shows his soft side (possibly his pastey white underbelly) in "Just Once". "Stoop Sale" is also a chilling tale of crime in the hard streets of Brooklyn.
on August 26, 2011
Say what you will about "nerdcore" hip-hop - it may be a fake genre only as relevant as its distant cousin, "Christian rock," but there is and has always been an undisputed master of it, and it's MC Frontalot. Typical in an album Fronted by the eponymous wordsmith would be rhymes regarding the enhancement of his statistics via potions, a deep (and disturbingly detailed) pornography addiction, a loathing for the game "Magic: The Gathering," or even an anthem warning of the inevitable fall of society via robot and hacker uprising. His latest album, "Solved" offers a handful of fascinating reflections on nerddom, but in general has a more modern feeling than past endeavors, which often feel like shout-outs to old-school hip hop stylings (old school, but really old school. Yes, kids, hip-hop existed before Kanye. It even existed before Jay Z, Dr. Dre, or even Will Smith, for the kids not in the know). Examples include "I'll Form the Head," a collaborative track that features an argument between pilots of Voltron-like robots over who would have the privilege of creating the head of the super robot when they combine their vehicles.
Considerably less nerdy are a handful of perceptions on the state of his career and the sub-genre he helped define. "Captains of Industry," a track cut with MC Lars, discusses the fact that, since their main demographic are savvy computer users, it's ludicrous for them to assume that they could make a career out of selling music, and, instead, must resort to a model where they sell physical wares that can't be pirated - t-shirts, in this case. It's a fascinating reflection, particularly if you've just BitTorrented the entire album. You get the sense that Front has grown tired of being considered a novelty act. He's got two narrative tracks in "Stoop Sale" which is among my favorites by the performer throughout his discography, and "Invasion of the Not Quite Dead," which has a really great production mix and aggressive tonality not super common in indie rap. But possibly the two most stand-out tracks, that sort of define the album's tone, are "Front the Least" and "Critical Hit," both of which discuss the rapper in plain terms - since it is always assumed that MC Frontalot is fronting, we know everything he says is false, and thus, by extrapolation of the very American idea of truth and justice having a binary functionality, we know what he really means is the exact opposite of what he says. It's a very subtle criticism with the mindset of society at large, and, frankly, brilliant. "Critical Hit" would appear to play off of his nerd persona even more aggressively, referring to a concept common in both video and classic pen-and-paper games with the title, but it's actually a treatise on the futility of...well, what I'm doing right now. Being incredibly talented, unmistakably brilliant, and devoted enough to produce five (5!) albums in just six short years of dedicated studio work (without the support of the mainstream media or record labels as other captains of industry have) - none of these things allow MC Frontalot to make a living doing his music. None of these things offer nerdcore or his brand of hip-hop any sort of validity. Indeed, in an anecdote to correlate the message of the song, a tweet that confers the implied praise of a fellow rapper's fandom of Frontalot (in this case, Crooked I), didn't warrant much more than a celebration that legitimate rappers "don't believe [he's] completely horrible."
"Solved" is the most mature effort from the indie rapper. If you buy only one album from MC Frontalot, let it be this one. It's not a definitive representation, but it's his most progressive, and that deserve monetary reward of some kind.
on February 13, 2014
Frontalot delivers the hits that gives the kids with the spectacles spectacular fits yet again. This album has a much higher Quality than his previous ones, and honestly points to the new direction of Front's music. Critical Hit is one of those songs that makes you want to start your day off right, and songs like Power User or Colonel Panic make the nerd in you foam at the mouth in glee. The album starts off solid with Front The Least and ends wonderfully with a skit with Eugene Mirman and a song titled Just Once, which i'm guessing you would never relate to being about sex.
The skits are great (Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac and Mr. Mirman), and if you pay attention, there's a part of each one that identifies the theme of the next song.
on September 12, 2012
I enjoyed this album a lot. My favorite songs here are "I'll Form the Head" and "Captains of Industry", both collaborations with other artists. While MC Frontalot's rapping has always been consistently smart and sharp on all his albums, the thing that strikes me about this album is that his music keeps getting better as his career progresses. Songs like "Stoop Sale" and "Critical Hit" really show off the music behind the lyrics.
The only small negative for me was that I could do without the "Problems" tracks. These conversations with comedians about Frontalot's life problems are funny on the first listen, but they get in the way of the flow of the album on subsequent listens. They're not as endlessly replayable as the rest of the music. So I hit the skip button on those, and there are still 12 other high quality music tracks on this album.
If you're new to MC Frontalot, start with the "Nerdcore Rising" album, which has the highest density of classic gems of nerdcore rap. If you like that, try this one too.