The Nerdcore VPC Is Back | Stiborge Reviews Round One

The Nerdcore VPC Is Back | Stiborge Reviews Round One


The annual Nerdcore Vocalist Producer Challenge is back for a fourth outing. Teams of producers and vocalists go head to head through a series of challenges over several months with the ambition of being crowned the VPC IV champions.

Submissions are in for the first round of VPC IV, a now annual competition, where producers and vocalists form teams of two to compete in challenges set by the organisers. Each round has strict criteria to be met by both the beatmaker and the vocalist as well as adhering to a theme or key component in the makeup of their track.

Points are awarded by a team of four judges for how well the teams have achieved the tasks set out whilst a public vote makes up the fifth component of the scoring system.

As is tradition The Unheard Nerd has its very own resident VPC critic ready to heap praise or cast damnation on each of the tracks in each of the rounds. It is our great honour to welcome back once again Forrest aka ‘Stiborge’ to review round one.


Round One Challenge | Meshing of Style

Each vocalist and producer has their own sound and their own story, this challenge is about the individual and the team. Tell the story of the vocalist, the producer, and then mesh the two together to tell the story of the team. Maybe your producer has a story about that time he saved 22 puppies from Vladimir Putin in a hot air balloon – or that time your vocalist had to run for his life after faking the funk on a nasty dunk. We don’t know – so you will have to tell us. This round, it’s all about your team.


For the full rules for round one, to find out about round two and for everything you need to know about VPC IV visit the VPC IV website – and to keep up with all the chatter surrounding the competition like the VPC facebook page. To hear a playlist of each of the tracks check out the soundcloud page.


Stiborge Reviews Round One

Ah it’s the VPC, that magical time of year where everyone in nerdcore is a little less dickish… besides me I guess. I sometimes have nightmares that there will be a round of the VPC where I’ll have nothing to criticize. It’s terrible; I wake up in a cold sweat. No no, I definitely have some thoughts and opinions on all the songs.

As always the opinions expressed are entirely mine and in no way reflect that of Will or anyone else at The Unheard Nerd, obviously. I don’t know what the scale everyone is officially using for the VPC is but I’m going to use a ten scale like god intended.

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on songs in the VPC.

 


Annex Dote – Daily Showmanship
Vocalist: Kordlyss
Producer: Ardamus

Well first of all, I have to say this is one of the more unique premises I’ve seen for a song. The song idea of meeting at a taping of the Daily Show is certainly a novel one. The Daily samples are well integrated and don’t overstay their welcome. The flow was impeccable, and the lyrics were clever and told a fun unique story. While I wasn’t super amazed with the beat it worked well and I enjoyed the scratching quite a bit. Overall I’d say this was good entry and a good start to the playlist.

Rating: 7 out of 10


Aural Sex – TheSound
Vocalist: Johnny Hacknslash
Producer: Code E

This song starts up with the war drums which are interesting but I’m not sure if I’m a huge fan. This song is conceptually about the team both being horrible monsters that fight each other and destroy towns I think. It’s an alright concept, if we’re being real I’m not a huge fan of the flow Hacknslash uses through most of the song. I don’t think that the flow is terrible or anything but it’s not my favorite. The synth note on the instrumental hook is nice tho. If there’s one major saving grace of this song it’s the 90’s alternative singing in it that precedes the instrumental hooks. That singing tone is kind of a musical weakness of mine and I really like it.

Rating: 6 out of 10


CamOflage – Abomination of Man
Vocalist: Osiris Green
Producer: Cam3

Ah, a team that I’m unfamiliar with. I mean, I think I’ve seen both of these names before but I’m not like familiar with any of their stuff. This song went in a sci-fi direction, in concept and sound. The beat is less rooted in traditional instruments than most and the hook has some autotune over it, which is where the song loses me. The particular autotune tone they strike here is severely unpleasant to me. The beat isn’t my favorite either. They’ve got various mood setting sounds layered under the beat of power plants exploding and gun fighting which doesn’t bother me but I don’t really know if it adds much for me either. The flow itself is pretty decent and the story told isn’t terrible even if it’s kind of typical sci-fi fair.

Rating: 3 out of 10


Beat Tape Bandits – Needle Drop
Vocalist: Lex Lingo
Producer: Klopfenpop

I gotta be honest when I say the title “Needle Drop” my first thought was “is this song going to be about Anthony Fantano” because I’m ruined as a human being. But no, the song is about growing up a music geek in a very vinyl idolizing way. I dig it. It’s a concept that hits home with me pretty well. I dig the instrumental and the singing for the most part was pretty on point although there were a couple moments where I was hoping for a little variation although I can’t say exactly what that would be. I wasn’t a huge fan of the distorted samples either the “Yeah yeah yeah” part that rose up in the beat or the trash sample that interrupted the instrumental breakdown. I don’t feel like they added a whole lot for me and in the case of the trash sample it felt a little jarring in a way that I wasn’t a huge fan of. Altogether I dig it tho.

Rating: 8 out of 10


Custom Prize Joker – Nightmare On Bourbon Street
Vocalist: Memory Fades
Producer: Untested Methods

I had no idea that Memory Fades was Projekt Zero’s new name… unless it’s not and this dude just has a freakishly similar voice to Matt. Anyway, first thing first I REALLY like this beat. The horns on the instrumental hook make me very happy, but I have to talk about the singing. The singing isn’t terrible or anything, it’s similar to what Memory Fades did on Getting To Know You and I liked that album a whole lot (again assuming that he is in fact Projekt Zero and not just a clone of some kind). But on that album the singing blended with the beat nicely and in this song the singing stood out sharply from the beat and it becomes pretty apparent in some moments that the syllable count is too high to comfortably fit into the melody making some of the lines sound kind of awkward. It’s not the worst thing in the world but it was something that I found very noticeable.

Rating: 7 out of 10


Dappersaurus – Savage (Heel – Turn Mix)
Vocalist: An Hobbes
Producer: 2-Ton-21

This song starts by lawling me into a false comfort with a sample from a classic movie only to assault me with airhorns. Why airhorns? 2-Ton-21 do you hate me? I’m sorry for what I did; please just don’t put any more airhorns in your beat. I’m sorry, I know it’s like played out to hate on airhorns at this point but I do legitimately hate airhorns so I don’t know what to do. Other than that the beat is… okay. It’s not my favorite but the classic movie sample stuff is kind of fun. I don’t think the flow worked very well over the beat either. I dunno, maybe the airhorns set this track up to fail in my mind right away because I’ve liked stuff from this team in previous VPCs a whole lot but I’m not feeling this here.

Rating: 2 out of 10


Dick Gang – They Don’t Want Us To Eat
Vocalist: Ekaj
Producer: Krivus

You know I wasn’t expecting to be into this track but I kind of really dig it. There’s an interesting juxtaposition between Kaj’s gruff flow and the light airy beat. The instrument hook part gets maybe a little busy for my taste but I don’t think it really detracts from my enjoyment much if at all. This song feels really quick even though there are shorter songs in there. I dunno, I like it.

Rating: 8 out of 10


Disstopia – A Fistful Of Ballers
Vocalist: MC-117
Producer: Flexstyle

This song has a very duel at a saloon feel to it… which, if I’m not mistaken is the exact concept of what is happening in the song. I’m not gonna front, I really dig this. The flow fits the beat which fits the concept and it all makes a neat package. I enjoy this type of song and I enjoy this type of story. There are some clever moments in the lyrics. This is up there in terms of my favorite entries.

Rating: 9 out of 10


The EL Solo Act – Legends of Nerdcore Vol 1
Vocalist: Vincent EL
Producer: Shawn Solo

I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty excited for this song. This challenge is right in Vincent EL’s wheelhouse. Story song and bizarre concepts seem to be their thing. So, was I disappointed? Eh… kinda? I kind of expected the song to be a little more outlandish to be honest. However, that doesn’t make this song bad at all. The beat is good. It’s not amazing but it’s good. It’s got kind of 90’s west coast Dr. Dre flair to it, definitely not bad. And the lyrics are descriptive enough to make the story told interesting. I do like it.

Rating: 7 out of 10


Fated Rebellion – 2088
Vocalist: Lady J
Producer: Benjamin Banger

This is like a futuristic dystopia track about violent overthrow of the system. It’s something I’ve heard quite a bit of in my time in the scene and this one absolutely isn’t terrible. It’s okay. It tells a story and sticks to that story which is admirable. It definitely sounds like the start of a concept album of some kind. I’m sorry I just don’t have a whole lot to say, I’ve heard this song before and I’m going to hear it again. There weren’t any major slip ups or anything that I hated, Lady J’s flow was pretty good for the most part. There were a few moments where the rhyme scheme made things sound a little weird but nothing too awful. And I feel the song overstays it’s welcome a little bit.

Rating: 5 out of 10


Flying Fortress – A Lil’ History
Vocalist: Illgill
Producer: Nameless

I see what this song was going for with the beat and the lyrics and everything. I’m not really an Illgill fan. I’m not huge on his flow or his rap voice so that’s obviously going to affect my enjoyment of the song. In general I don’t think that the beat was awe inspiring enough to do what this song wanted to do tho. Like, the song wants to be this big cosmic thing and it falls short of that. It’s lyrically pretty cliché but I think that’s intentional. This was never going to be my thing and I don’t think it exactly succeeds at doing what it wants to do but I do see where it’s coming from at least… at least I think I do.

Rating: 3 out of 10


Go to Bread – 01 – Intro
Vocalist: DynamoDash
Producer: Rukyss Duhki

Well, right away I like that Go To Bread used the sample that explains their name but I think they let it play for too long and it definitely didn’t need to be reprised in its entirety in the middle of the song. Second off, I’m pretty sure that having both Dynamo and Rukyss rap was against the rules of the round. I’ll say that while the original sample overstayed it’s welcome a bit the chopped up pieces of the sample used in the hook were cool. I liked that. Other than that I don’t find the beat all that compelling. It’s not terrible I guess and both people’s flows are decent enough. Definitely improved from some of the previous years.

Rating: 4 out of 10


Helephino – Moloko Minus
Vocalist: Adam Selene
Producer: Navi

This song isn’t actually as weird as I was anticipating but I do like it. It’s interesting I’ve had to listen to every Helephino song like 3 or 4 times before getting it. I didn’t like this at first and I didn’t like their intro track at first either but after a few more listens I think they made my favorite intro track and I’m digging this a lot too. I immediately liked the distorted singing on the hook but it took me a bit to fall in love with the rest. This song is mostly about the respective relationships to hardships; Adam’s relationship to gender and Navi’s relationship to race. I’ll be completely honest with you I’m not entirely sure I get the milk thing. It’s obviously important because it was the entire ad campaign leading up to the competition but I dunno. In my experience milk tends to be representative of alcohol or drugs because of the use of milk in censorship of alcohol but I don’t know if that’s the case here. Honestly I like it a little more every time I listen.

Rating: 8 out of 10


JC’d Less – The Origin
Vocalist: Broken Pixels
Producer: ? (Cool)

What the fuck? Do I like this? Do I hate this? I dunno but it’s fucking weird. It’s got like a kind of chiptuney inspired beat I think in the instrumental hook parts at least and the vocals are layered super weird obviously with the main voice sounding like a gruff rapper and another voice that sounds much like the skeksis from Dark Crystal. I dunno what else to say about this song.

Rating: 4 out of 10


Magical Beer Squad – Magical Beer Squid
Vocalist: Twil Distilled
Producer: B-Type

Well… this team certainly sounds like they’re having fun. I uh… I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the song but it DOES sound like you had fun making it. Like, okay let’s start with the positive, I think that the instrumental hook part would be fine in a game soundtrack of an RPG played in like a marketplace or something. It’s kind of a catchy upbeat little groove that I don’t find too annoying. It sounds like one of the songs from that Scott Pilgrim beat em up game and those were fun. I don’t really care for much else about the song tho.

Rating: 2 out of 10


#NoCuteShitAllBangers – Always Read the Comments
Vocalist: Lavos
Producer: whoremoans

I don’t know if I’d call this an origin story. It’s more of a diss track. I do find it… kind of funny that dude was like “I’m gonna make sure everyone listens to this diss track by dropping it in the biggest competition in the scene” but it’s a fleeting kind of novelty. I’m honestly surprised nobody has addressed this yet. But I mean I guess I can grade it for what it is? I’m not like an official judge or anything. And I think it’s pretty decent. There are some hard hitting lines in the track as far as diss tracks go. There are also some moments where the beat and rapping don’t fit perfectly together. Where it sounds like Lavos isn’t really paying much attention to the beat and just kind of rapping along. Lavos’ flow is good and Moan’s beat is good tho. I dig both elements individually for sure they just sometimes feel like they’re competing for my attention then working together.

Rating: 6 out of 10


Ohm-I 1-Up – Cougar Flirtin’
Vocalist: Ohm-I
Producer: 1-Up

I fuck with that sax. This beat is smooth as hell and I love it. I will say I don’t know how many more songs I can take from ya’ll about picking up women. This joke well is definitely going to mine itself dry eventually but this song made me chuckle at the pull back the foreskin joke at least so I guess it isn’t completely done yet. This is pretty decent and I’d probably like it a lot more if it weren’t the 50th song I’ve heard with a similar premise. Also you dig get some origin story stuff in there which I almost forgot was the prompt of this round so that alright.

Rating: 6 out of 10


P4STRAMI – Meat Cute
Vocalist: C0splay
Producer: Zilla Persona

I enjoy listening to this because I’m pretty sure that it’s 100% true. Like, every word of this song is exactly how this team up went down. This song is fun. The beat by itself probably wouldn’t be one of my favorites but C0splay works well with it. This is a very cohesive team.

Rating: 7 out of 10


RA – CROW – A Strange Encounter
Vocalist: Rhyme Artist
Producer: Angry Crow

Alright, it’s probably worth mentioning right away that the recording quality on this song is poor. The vocals are also leveled way too high so it sounds like I’m watching an open mike at a shitty dive bar where they’re playing their music from an iPod speaker behind them. In fact everything about this track screamed that it’s a demo from the poor mixing to the abrupt end. Other than that the beat seems fine. It’s not my favorite thing ever and like I said it gets completely drowned out by the vocal mix but I think it could have worked fine.

Rating: 2 out of 10


Saints Of San Secuestro – The Background
Vocalist: Yugen
Producer: Max James

Mmm… well let’s get the positive out there first. I liked the instrumental hook a bunch. Like, I really dug the instrumental hook actually. Unfortunately, the negative was everything else for me. The beat underlying the verses doesn’t really support them at all in a way that’s pleasing to me. And the verses themselves are really simple and awkwardly cobbled together at times. But I like the instrumental hook enough to save it from a 1 star rating at least.

Rating: 2 out of 10


SeXoC – The Art Of Foreplay
Vocalist: Jollimus
Producer: N/A

Nope

Rating: Nope


SWERV – The Origin Story
Vocalist: Josh Krow
Producer: Chuck Dastardly

This song is alright. It’s a basic origin story jam, I’ve heard a lot of songs like it and this one isn’t a terrible one or anything. Everything about this song is okay but I don’t know if I’d call any particular element of the song amazing or anything. The flow you used makes you sound disinterested in the story you’re telling which doesn’t really give me a reason to be interested. I dunno, I think some variation in the flow or a little more energy would have gone a long way to bring this song from decent to great. I felt similarly about the beat. It’s nowhere near bad but I find it pretty forgettable.

Rating: 5 out of 10


Team Fat Smith – Probably the Best Entry
Vocalist: Smithy
Producer: Mr. Fat White

This one is going to be rough and I’m sorry about that. See, I thought that this song was bad. The flow is awkward, the beat is like a club banger beat that I’m not a fan of at all, there were these moments where Smithy is kind of just talking to himself over the instrumental hook parts of the song that I didn’t find very entertaining at all but it was a manageable type of bad. It was the type of bad I’ve seen a lot of in nerdcore the “nerdy white kids first major effort” bad. That’s fine. I can deal with that. The thing that pushes this song over the edge into 1 star territory is the fact that it’s 7 fucking minutes long. I’m sorry. I’ve talked about other songs overstaying their welcome but this is too much and I can’t handle it. I didn’t want to be as mean this year but this was the only song I couldn’t listen to a second time through. I’m sorry dude. Your track title is pretty funny tho.

Rating: 1 out of 10


Team StarboRob – ManaHP
Vocalist: Starby
Producer: DJ RoboRob

You have no idea how tempted I was to just make this review say “I mean, Rob’s beat was pretty good but he’s no Chadley or anything.” But I didn’t do that because I’m a professional… or something. Honestly I really like this beat. It’s probably one of my favorite RoboRob beats that I’ve heard. This song is really cute. It’s a nerd love song type deal which I’ve heard a few of before but it’s actually a topic that I enjoy most of the time and this is no exception. This song is just a really nice song in beat and lyrics and I like it.

Rating: 8 out of 10


Tha Go Hamurai – DORIYA!!
Vocalist: Ish1da
Producer: Scotty Wu

Ish has definitely gotten better. I dug this song it’s generally pretty good. I think my biggest problem with this was with the beat. It seemed a little simple, like it was trying to stay out of the way and let the vocalist do his thing which I usually appreciate in a beat but it made the “instrumental hook” part a little uninteresting to listen. It kind of just made it feel like an awkward silence in the song. I dug the “chaos rules everything around me, CREAM” nod tho btw. This song was pretty decent.

Rating: 6 out of 10


West Coast Finest – Shubz And Bill – The Track
Vocalist: Shubzilla
Production: Bill Beats

Oh yeah. Let’s end this shit on a high note. The first time I heard this I knew “this is going to be one of my favorites of the round for sure” and here we are. I love the beat, the story is one of those true stories but it’s told in an interesting way with emotion and I love it. I love that Bill Beats ass scratching. Now here’s the thing. I don’t know if Shubzilla hook is legal in the competition but again. I’m not an official judge so who gives a shit what I say. I love this fucking song. It’s my favorite song of the round. Shubzilla is great and Bill Beats is great.

Rating: 10 out of 10


Huge thanks to Stiborge, be sure to check out his Round Two Review. Lead Image by Ally Desu for VPC IV.


Guest Contributor

About the author | Guest Contributor

The Unheard Nerd welcomes contribution from guests whether it is on a regular, infrequent or one-off basis. Get in touch with us via the contact page to find out more.

1 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    July 06, 2016

    Thanks Stiborge! I’m really hyped that you liked our track. 👍

    Reply

Your best comments are read out on our podcast: Jump The Shark

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.