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Sunday, February 28, 2021

If Eminem and Luke Skywalker got into a shouting match over a rap beat, and they referenced Halo, Harry Potter and hard drives, the result might sound like nerdcore.

Simply put, nerdcore is rap music written by nerds and gamers for nerds and gamers, and according to Drew Love, who is organizing two Gainesville shows, the quirky and often goofy genre is picking up steam.

In mid-July, about 700 people attended Nerdapalooza, an annual nerdcore music festival.

Love, who works as a waiter and grew up playing Pokemon and Street Fighter, is trying to help nerdcore gain momentum in Gainesville, where he says nerds are plentiful.

Rob Tobias, a UF computer sciences graduate who is friends with Love, said nerdcore is about being true to oneself.

"People would rather hear a nerd rap about being a nerd then someone who is not gangster trying to rap about being a gangster," he said while sipping on a PBR.

"There's the traditional jocks versus geeks stereotype, he said, but even some jocks are nerds deep down, whether they collect Magic The Gathering cards or baseball cards."

"Everyone has got something they geek out over," Tobias said.

Like traditional hip-hop, nerdcore has its share of controversy and feuds, most of which play out online.

Artists have publicly argued over women, and there were feuds over control of the music sharing website, Rhyme Torrents.

Some nerdcore artists have made fun of traditional hip-hop in their songs, prompting accusations that the genre is racist.

"I'm not going to say that none of it is insensitive to racial barriers," Tobias said. "But it's more of a rookie mistake ... a poorly executed attempt to pay respect to something that's not completely understood."

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At its base, nerdcore is about having fun, and the shows reflect that, Tobias said.

An Aug. 14 show will feature HDNinja, MagiTek and Emergency Pizza Party.

Krondor Krew, a group in which all the band members dress up like ninjas, and Epic-1 will perform Sep. 18.

Both shows will be at The Laboratory and will offer a friendly introduction to nerdcore, Tobias said.

"There's no pressure. There are just nerds."

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