Few artists are more immediately accessible than MC Lars. With his celebrity-referencing rhymes, clean delivery and junk-food beats, there’s virtually no barrier to entry. And the Northern California nerdcore MC can definitely be charming. “True Player for Real,” the second track on his latest album, This Giant Robot Kills, features “Weird Al” Yankovic on the accordion and an inspiringly geeky singalong chorus: “I’m MC Lars!/True player for real/TPFR/True player for real.” Coming from a white guy with a substandard flow, it’s irony at its most palatable.
But on much of the rest of the album, he’s too clever by about, um, seven-eighths. On tracks such as “It’s Not Easy (Being Green),” it’s hard to tell if he’s mocking or celebrating environmentalists, and you can say the same thing about hipsters and rappers on other tracks. If he insists on maintaining this silly façade, his moment has probably passed, and the same can likely be said of nerdcore itself. On the album’s opener, in fact, Lars notes, “I saw nerdcore come/I saw nerdcore go.” If that’s true, hopefully Lars will reinvent himself as a sincere rapper who is less dependent on gimmicks. One suspects he has it in him.