The 8-bit plumber crushing his enemies, the teenage warrior out to save the princess,
these are people a lot of us have cut our ties with since childhood.
But not ytcracker – he’s still well acquainted with these neglected friends from our past.
ytcracker is the undisputed king of nerdcore, which probably is a new term for you.
It’s nerdy rap, rap that is conscious of technology, er.. he puts it best himself:
“I am a computer criminal - a web graffiti artist - basically taking the essence of hip-hop and gangster culture and integrating it with the new society. Making money, making music, ensuring that the message of the downtrodden geek who made something of himself against all odds are all part of my mantra, and it reflects in my lifestyle.”
Nerdcore is best presented in his brilliant (and free) concept album,
N.E.S. (Nerdrap Entertainment System),
where he raps over the revamped soundtracks of our youth, dirty south style.
You can download this album by clicking here.
Or you can just listen to each individual track below:
No Asher Roth.
Check our interview below.
(This interview is unedited, because I can’t help but keep it realcore)
RH: What was growing up and going to school like for you? Were you a quiet guy or all over the place?
yt: looking back, i was a pretty annoying and loud kid. i had it pretty easy in elementary school and spent 98% of my time in the computer lab. thanks for keeping me grounded, computers!
RH: When did you get your first computer and was there anything you considered your first big accomplishment with it?
yt: my dad was an engineer at martin marrietta (later merged as lockheed martin) so i had a personal computer in my house when i was literally a baby. no one really believes me, but i was reading at 2 years old AND i have the cassette (lol cassettes) recordings to prove it. at 4 is when i started programming in basic, and my greatest accomplishment at that age was coding a dancing "mr. bojangles" on my ti-99/4a. actually, that probably is still my greatest accomplishment. i lead a sad existence.
RH: It seems like regardless of music, computers could take you far. When did you decide to create music with your abilities, and what motivated you to start?
yt: i've always been a big music junkie. i play a variety of IRL instruments and produced a lot of electronic music in scream tracker/fast tracker in my youth. hiphop and electronica are my two favorite genres, and they go together well when rapping about being a dork.
RH: You call yourself "the undisputed king of nerdcore" - have you always embraced your nerdy ways?
yt: always. see this picture for more info.
RH: A lot of artists are able to throw together songs quick these days – do you think a great song needs painstaking effort and time, or can classics be made with a drum machine and a half hour?
yt: the latter, most definitely. nothing is wrong with pining over a track or album a la chinese democracy, but these days it is so easy to record and strike when the iron is hot. hell, the iron can be lukewarm and you're still in good shape.
RH: Is there any technique to your flow going into a song, or do you just go with whatever pops in your head?
yt: pretty much whatever comes to mind. i'd like to think of myself as a versatile rapper with different rhyme schemes and cadence and not be a one-trick pony, but i am probably just delusional.
RH: Hip-hop and video games - when did you make the decision to blend these two ?
yt: both are favorite pastimes of mine, so i suppose the fusion was inevitable. once i find a way to combine them with eating play-doh, the trifecta will be completed.
RH: The Nerdrap Entertainment System is an amazing concept. You use some classic NES soundtracks for each song, why'd you choose the ones you did? And how has reception been of this album?
yt: i think my choices were semi-arbitrary, but sometimes instead of playing my stereo, i would clean my room to mega man theme music. The limitations of the 2a03 sound are very apparent, and the composers of those nintendo games got such slamming beats out of such lo-fi tools says something about the brilliance of our ancestors.
most people love the album - i did a side project called the 8bitboys (http://www.myspace.com/8bitboys) where we destroyed some more 8 bit music. i just like the nostalgia.
RH: I'd love to know, can you think of your top 5 classic games?
yt: for the nintendo, i'd have to go with dragon warrior, tmnt, zelda 2, battletoads, and double dragon 2. for the computer, it is a million-way tie with all the old sierra games (space quest, king's quest, leisure suit larry, etc.).
in the arcade, i love spy hunter and galaga.
RH: What's the hardest game you've ever played? (Anything that can contest Super Ghouls N Ghosts?)
yt: there's this hacked rom of super mario 1 called "air" that is the biggest pain in the ass ever. back to the future was retardedly hard, and so was gauntlet.
RH: You're a hacker-turned-rapper, can you talk a little about your hacking history? Ever get in serious trouble?
yt: i'm just a criminal, period. if there is a way to break the law doing something, i'll probably do it for the lulz.
i lucked out with my high-profile hacks - no jail time, just fines and restitution. i'll probably get slapped with a RICO suit for digitalgangster.com, but i'll cross that bridge when i get there.
RH: Why do you think there's so much nostalgia in music nowadays than ever before? Mostly towards the 80's/early 90's.
yt: if you think about it, the history of recorded music in general is VERY recent, as are motion pictures and the like. i think every decade going forward is going to see a resurgence in style, fashion, and music from (n - 20) because it is easily rediscovered and reminds people of their youth. get off my lawn!
RH: How do you feel about your hometown, and would you like to stay there forever or try living somewhere else?
yt: i love colorado springs - i always get homesick. i'll definitely keep a base of operations here, but i love the ocean. my mom's side of the family is all hawaiian, so i will probably wind up dying there. also, they take american money.
RH: Is there anything you can't wait to achieve in the near future?
yt: i just want to have fun and live life to the fullest. if i develop alzheimer's as a result of my unapologetic hedonism and debauchery, i pray that i will have done enough moronic things that i can hold on to at least two or three memories i can be embarrassed about.
A huge thanks to ytcracker for taking the time for an interview,