Kanye West once rapped, "They say you can rap about anything, except for Jesus." Adam Warrock, part of a second generation of what are known as nerdcore rappers, is proving the first part of West's verse true. The 33-year-old writes songs about comic-book characters, actors, his favorite television shows — and makes a living at it. His most recent song is about charismatic British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, titled "Benny C."
Last year Warrock released 130 songs by way of his blog, in addition to his third studio album, "The Middle of Nowhere." Now he's on a tour of comic-book stores and makes his first visit to Richmond this week. From his home in Memphis, Tenn., Warrock talks about nerdcore, his future and what happened when he stopped being angry.
Style: Your roots are in traditional indie rap. How did you start rapping about comics and pop culture exclusively?
Warrock: When I started making music again, I just realized I wasn't really as angry or angsty as I used to be when I was like 20 or 19. So all this stuff that used to be the subject of like indie rap, which is about how much better you are at rapping, how awesome you are, political stuff, anger and whatever — it just kind of seemed stupid. And so I just kind of started making music about whatever I was into. At the time I had a lot of friends who were into blogging about comics, making Web comics. … It kind of started with me making little songs for my friends' sites and podcasts, just having fun with it. I was just less emo and angry and decided to make something about something I was into.
You're a part of the nerdcore scene. Can you explain what that is?
I don't know that anybody has a good definition for it. It is scene of rap that was kind of started by a lot of guys who are here making songs about nerdy subjects, like programming, pop culture or comics, things like that. The term kind of rose to prominence with a guy named MC Frontalot, who had an album and song called "Nerdcore Rising."
Has any publisher or movie studio ever asked you rap about their project?
It's been talked about, I've been approached, but nothing ever came of [the offers]. I can't really talk about it. I just have to be vague about it.
Where do you see this taking you in the next few years?
I don't know if I think about it like that. I'd like to see it grow, keep releasing albums and keep working with people that I'm very honored to work with. Hopefully, just being able to pay bills, keep making good music and seeing how much I can blow this balloon up before it pops. S
Adam Warrock and Tribe One come to Velocity Comics on Saturday, Feb. 15. The show is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5. velocitycomics.tumblr.com.