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monday

Nerd culture is hardly marginalized these days, so it’s ridiculous to assume that “nerdcore” hiphop exists as the mouthpiece of a disenfranchised minority. No, the rap subgenre—fueled by techie boasting and home-rolled electro beats—is simply a contrivance founded on the idea that smart kids are torn between celebrating their skills and shrinking away in embarrassment. Your average IT paycheck makes stereotypical insecurities moot, of course, but the baldheaded MC Frontalot, nerdcore’s putative godfather, still wants you to believe that it’s hard out here for a geek: BitTorrent bandits are skimming his sales, yo. “It’s true/Frontalot is destitute/I need you/To buy my CDs/So I can buy food,” he rhymes in an Eminem-ish cadence on “Charity Case,” one of the better tracks on 2005’s Nerdcore Rising. Like most shticky white rappers (Gold Chains, Paul Barman, Cex, and so on), Frontalot is forced to stay in character because the meta-narrative (the thriving and surviving of the geek) is more interesting than the actual person doing the rapping (he’s written a rock opera and songs for Sesame Street). Gangstas have the same problem, for sure. And like any gangsta, Frontalot faces questions about his realness. “Haters diss him for being a mere Web designer, not a true coder,” Wired magazine reported last month. On that note, maybe gangstas have it easier: When they have credibility problems, they can just go outside and catch a bullet. MC Frontalot performs with Optimus Rhyme and Doug Powell at 9:30 p.m. at the Red and the Black, 1212 H St. NE. $8. (202) 399-3201. (Joe Warminsky)