MC Frontalot is more than the world’s 579th greatest rapper. He’s designed a quest for the online game “Kingdom of Loathing” and his first tour was the subject of the documentary “Nerdcore Rising.” Although he didn’t start Nerdcore (I remember MC 900 Ft Jesus and Deltron, do you?), he did give the genre its name. BUZZBIN: When did you realize that creating music was going to be more than a hobby? MC FRONTALOT: At one point in San Francisco I received one of these emails from a fan that said “I wish I could buy a CD from you! Why don’t you have one for sale?” and I thought, “I seem to have collected a lot of these. I wonder if there’s actually a substantial number of people out there who are itching to pay for this stuff that I’ve been posting for them for free.” The other email that I kept getting was, “When can we see you perform?” And that would always make me spend five seconds wondering if I should try to put a band together. But the music industry was already falling apart at that point, and of course as a minimally aware adult person I knew that even at its height, the music industry didn’t just hand careers out to people, and the extreme majority of aspirants never get anywhere. So I kept assuming it couldn’t be anything but a hobby, ever. Moving to New York lit a fire under my butt, and I recorded a sample-free album (“Nerdcore Rising”), more out of my interest in home recording and desktop music production than out of any notion that I could make a career out of it. You can see me in the documentary a year after that, still basically assuming that I’m going to have to stop this nonsense at any moment and do more realistic things with my weekdays. It very gradually became apparent that the fanbase was interested enough and generous enough to let me turn this into a full-time thing. I mean, very gradually. I didn’t get rid of my very last freelance web design client until I was recording the second CD. And the idea that I get to do this rapping thing for a living still seems kind of surreal. I might wake up at any point and discover that I in fact am late to work over at the accounts payable department at Sears. B: How did “Nerdcore Rising” affect your career? What did you think of the filming and touring process? M: The documentary has definitely exposed me to a lot of folks who otherwise would never have stumbled across the material, and I hear from them all the time that they became fans after seeing it. Negin Farsad did a great job making that movie, and she and Kimmy Gatewood were fantastic to have in the van that whole time. I hadn’t toured before, so I had no frame of reference at the time. But on all the subsequent tours, we’ve missed them. They’re hilarious and they kept us from farting constantly. B: Where did you get the inspiration for Professor Jacking’s Laboratory [the quest in “Kingdom of Loathing]? How involved were you in the design process? M: I wrote up maybe 20 pages, with almost all the encounters, details on the puzzles, the whole thing. I left some blanks where they could add monsters, and I wrote hardly any of the descriptive text. I didn’t expect them to implement it — it was kind of like a piece of fanfic for KoL — so when Jick decided to do it, I got pretty excited. They had to scale down some of my more ambitious nonsense. I wanted it to be more annoying and frustrating than in was, particularly in how the machine in the lab worked. But they made it into a very manageable, playable quest, and I’m psyched that I got to design a corner of the world. B: I enjoyed “Rappers We Crush,” and being as Kompressor is from Ohio I have to ask: any plans on doing another collaboration? M: I wish! But he has retired, as I understand it, and now crushes only prescription drug benefits and daytime television. B: As one of the loudest voices of Nerdcore, what other artists would you suggest to someone just discovering the genre? M: Random (AKA MegaRan), Dr Awkward, Dual Core, ytcracker, Supercommuter, Beefy, ZeaLous1, MC Lars, Whoremoans, Schaffer The Darklord, and of course mc chris. B: What do you think of Cleveland? How are the shows here compared to other areas of the country? M: Cleveland is one of the towns where people do not go out to shows in order to stand around nodding. They get into it, they jump around, they holler, they dance. I suspect that they drink. It is always a cheerful and gratifying show when we come through. B: You started growing legs when you were battling on songfight and you’ve shown that you can freestyle. Any chance of doing some live battles? Maybe a Nerdcore version of “8 Mile.” M: I love watching rappers freestyle, but I never do it in public. And I don’t like telling people how terrible they are, even when it’s just a formal exchange such as a rap battle. If they really are terrible, I’m being mean. And if they are not terrible, I’m being disingenuous. It is a lose-lose situation. If I ever get over my fear of freestyling in front of crowds, maybe I’ll institute a battle ritual where the participants have to rap only about their awe and admiration for their opponent rapper. And afterward there can be hugs. Lots of hugs. B: Anything else you would like to add? M: I’d like to add a real number and i, but I haven’t figured out how. MC Frontalot is playing the Beachland Ballroom on the 14th. Attendance is mandatory.