mc chris tonight in the Entry


mc chris onstage with Pinback, photographed by adam.e.bryant.

What's in a name? For Chris Ward, plenty. To him, nerdcore, the genre he helped create, is the farce that launched a thousand ships.

Many is the long winded, typographically troubled blog that Ward, also known as mc chris, has launched both for and against the niche he carved for himself. Nerdcore is a branch of hip-hop that eschews the gats and girls that usually populate a hip-hop song, replacing them with coded references to nerd culture-- Nintendo, Star Wars, failblog, so on and so forth. And iIf you close your eyes, unplug from the internet, and just listen to chris' Dungeon Master of Ceremonies, you'll hear an outstanding, incisive MC which a quick wit, immaculate diction, a swift flow, and catchy production.

mc chris on Kingdom Hearts II and Resident Evil 4.

But all dreams must end in waking. When you open your eyes, there is the man himself, constantly ruining his own snapshot. His professed hatred of nerdcore is pure bitter grapes, founded mostly in the infamy into which the genre has fallen since he started it. He complains that the moniker is limiting, and that he was far from the only kid raised on Star Wars and Beastie Boys.

But any limitations of which chris now crows so very loudly were there on the blueprints, plain to see. Knowing is Half the Hassle? Dungeon Master of Ceremonies? His turn as MC Pee Pants for Aqua Teen: Hunger Force, Adult Swim's painfully hip entrant into absurdist anti-comedy ? These are not the works of an artist who has outgrown his genre.

Qualifiers are unfortunate things. The Beastie Boys might surely cringe at being called white rappers, in the same way that Denzel Washington would never accept an Oscar for "Best Black Actor." But as descriptors go, nerdery is decidedly self-imposed, and chris' blustery polemics against the genre that stuff his coiffers actually smell quite rankly of the very self-loathing and shame that most nerds cope with every day, and his repellent denials actually make his performances a slightly more personal affair, even if the effect is inadvertent.

The show will sell out, the crowd will know the words, and chris will rip through an exact, rote recital of his works, peppered with legitimately amusing, acidic asides regarding his personal and professional life.

But when you approach him after the show for a photograph with your Boba Fett jet pack, just remember-- the scowl and middle finger he gives your digital camera aren't just for show.

18+. 8:00 P.M. $16.00. with Whole Wheat Bread, and I Am the Dream. 7th Street Entry, 701 First Avenue North, Minneapolis; 612.338.8388.