Compound: It is a compound of the words “Nerd” and “Core”. A genre of alternative hip hop that attains to interests of so called “nerds.” Topics could include politics, science fiction, or the stereotypical nerd favorites like Star Wars, computers, or role-playing. The genre of music is noted for the lyrics rather than the sound or music.

Etymology: The etymology of the word nerd has uncertain origins. One of the first mentions of nerd was in a Dr.Seuss book as an animal

Core (n.) came from Old French meaning heart, or from Latin cor, which also meant heart. Appears in the 14th century. Throughout the ’80’s and 90’s, core started to be used as naming subcultures or music genres

The first known use of the word was in 2000 by nerd-core artist, MC Frontalot. Previously, some artists like the Beastie Boys would bring up nerd topics in their lyrics. Although these artists are said to not to have been apart of the nerd-core genre, they seemed to pave the way for well-known nerd-core artists today.

Sociolectical Information: This genre is mostly listened by self-proclaimed nerds. Again, the topics of the songs include the topics that nerds are usually interested in. The songs are usually self-published and proud. While, nerds do know the genre, it do not know if society knows the genre. Nerd-core is categorized as a sub-genre of underground hip-hop, so society might not know it because of it’s underground nature. It’s meant to be an exclusive genre, just for nerd or people who are interested in the class.

Survival Predictions: I think that the nerdcore genre will continue to grow. There is already a sub-genre that has branched out from it called geeksta rap that differs in lyrics and attitude because usually these artists are computer scientists that boast about their abilities. Also, nerd culture is now seen as popular in society. Before, nerd culture was seen as something that is shameful and should not be addressed. Now, nerds have become a part of the fashion world (glasses) and also it is cool to be a nerd. Because of these advances in society, nerd culture will grow and flourish due to the change in attitudes of people. Also, on a different note, because the genre is exclusive to nerds and is targeted to the group, I think it will be hard to expand and grow. Again, because it is part of the underground hip-hop sub-genre, I think that it will continue to grow, but in the dark. So, it will grow in the underground society.

Lexiopionions: When I first heard about this genre of music, I thought it was amusing. I actually thought that the genre of music was made as a joke. I think that the music was made for passionate supporters of the “nerd lifestyle.” I also think that it is amusing because hip hop and nerds are seen on two different spectrums. Nerds are viewed as introverted, shy people while hip hop is characterized by aggressiveness and its upfront nature. Personally, I do not listen to the genre of music, but I can see why “nerds” are so fervent about their love for it.


The video was shot by my brother, who actually informed me about the word nerd-core. As a so-called “professional” in the genre, he interviewed my sister, who knew nothing about the music genre. He wanted to see and hear a new perspective on the class. Here it is:


  1. kaavery says:

    This is a really interesting word! Not only in formation, but in its subject matter. I’d been peripherally aware of “nerdcore” music, but hadn’t actually known that there existed a term for it. I definitely agree with your statements about its survival – nerd culture is growing, and continues to grow as time goes on. I have no doubts that this will continue.

    That being said, I feel that this word – by its very nature – is such that mainstream society’s recognition of it is wholly unnecessary for its continued survival. The groups creating this content generally can’t do so for much (if any) profit, and instead are compelled by their passion for the work upon which their own is based. That passion, more than anything else, endows this term with a strength that will enable it to last for however long those whom it defines need it to.

  2. clbiesecker says:

    I really like this word! It definitely is new and applicable to your category. For sure I agree that nerdcore will increasing become popular as the nerd trend increases and stabilizes in society. It is now cool for people to proudly display their love and obsession with certain science fiction stories and different affiliations. I’m not sure though that it will ever become widely known for casual conversation. I’ve never heard it used, and this type of music is definitely not for everyone. Like you said, it is kind of underground. I find this word very applicable and admit to having listened to some of this genre, though not religiously. I actually didn’t know that that’s what it was called, but it for sure fits. I listened to Chameleon Circuit, a fan-based artist who bases their songs off of episodes from the science fiction show, Doctor Who. I’m not entirely sure you would call the music hip-hop style, since it doesn’t rap very much, but the basis of the music is definitely similar to what you’re describing. Also- I really like your etymology! I had no idea Dr. Suess coined the word “nerd” and it was really interesting to see that. I thought nerd was older than that, it’s amazing how widespread it is today. And I’d like to hear what your brother has to say about nerdcore too, since he’s such an expert! Thanks for such an interesting entry.

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