They say you should write about what you know. Canadian East Coast hip-hopper Wordburglar grew up in Halifax reading comics, watching sci-fi, listening to baseball and delivering the local paper on his BMX. So when the self-confessed geek decided to become a rapper, instead of writing about guns, gangstas and the rap game he wrote about the things he knew best.
On his third album, 3rdBurglar, you’ll find Wordburglar rapping about ninjas, Optimus Prime, Blue Jay Brett Lawrie, zombies, the X-Men, croque monsieurs, ED 209 and really minor Star Wars characters.
Wordburglar is wanted by the cops – and the Robocops – in his latest single, “Rhyme O'Clock.”
This is not the first time rap has heavily referenced popular nerd culture. In 1986, one of the pioneers of hip-hop, Kurtis Blow, released a jam called “I’m Chillin’.” It heavily sampled the Transformers theme – you know the one: “Transformers, robots in disguise.”
Blow was a respected hip-hop artist. He made it cool to sample the theme of a geeky kids TV show about robots in a legitimate rap song.
Rap has always been nerdy and rappers have always pinched their references from the fringes of popular culture. “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang directly references Superman.
Staten Island rappers Wu-Tang Clan are obsessed with Shaolin kung-fu films and B-movies about killer bees. They also love Japanese anime, and when the Wu-Tang rap collectively, they compare it to forming as Voltron. Check it out!
Ghostface Killah from the Wu also goes by the name Tony Starks, a slight variation of his favourite comic book hero Tony Stark, a.k.a Iron Man. So as you see, even the hardest hip-hop crew has a nerdy core.
Wordburglar is one of many fresh Canadian rappers who fully embrace popular nerd culture in their music and lyrics. Here are a couple other nerd-hop rappers who fly their geek flags loud and proud:
Backburner, the Canadian rap collective, deals with a “Heatwave.”
More or Les ain't goin out like that. In fact, he “Aint Goin' Out.”
Jesse Dangerously invites you to “Bring Your Girlfriend To Rap Day.”
As always leave your comment on the blog and follow along with the show on TUMBLR where you'll find a feast of fun stuff for your ears and eyes.
Wordburglar’s nerd-hop playlist
Allow me to reintroduce myself: More or Les
Nardwuar vs. Ghostface Killah
on Jun 20, 2012