SAN ANTONIO, TX – Everybody remembers the climax to Napoleon Dynamite. We spent the first hour or so of the movie watching the eponymous character get shoved into lockers, ditched at a dance, and constantly humiliated by his family and classmates. Our ginger hero dances himself into redemption via the best song  by the best dance artist of the 90s who wore a dumb hat . Napoleon’s two and half minute dance singlehandedly wins his best friend, Pedro, his bid for class president and transcended the movie from a potential cult classic to an unlikely blockbuster hit of the summer of 2004. That same year, MC Lars was prepping material for his breakthrough album The Graduate.
Where Napoleon Dynamite was a triumph for the nerd hero, MC Lars The Graduate was a triumph for an underappreciated genre of nerd rap. MC Lars’ entire persona can be wrapped up in that dance sequence. On surface, it’s easy to dismiss him as a novelty act rhyming about literature and nerd culture. However, just like Napoleon, Lars comes off as so sincere and genuine, you can’t help but smile and cheer him on.
Unlike Napoleon, MC Lars maintains a strong self-awareness that is reflected in everything he does. He played the Korova on Oct. 19 to a diverse crowd of fellow nerds. Performing with his laptop on hand, Lars sped through track after track spitting about Moby Dick, Public Enemy, Hans Moleman from the Simpsons, and how Hot Topic is not punk rock all the while extending a posi-energetic fervor that lets everybody in the crowd know “it’s okay to have a good time.” MC Lars is a lot like a camp counselor who uses rap to educate, but instead of laughing at him, all the kids are laughing with him.
MC Lars isn’t alone in the nerd rap genre. While his most famous contemporary, MC Chris, is probably the only emcee who has a hit song about Boba Fett, MC Lars has a peer in local up-and-coming rapper Critchinbaby. He is a part of local hip hop collective She Tastes Like Texas  and utilizes southern rap swagger while flooding his lyrics with so many nerd references that even Milhouse’s flood pants can’t save him. While maintaining a very different delivery and style, Critchinbaby considers MC Lars a personal rap hero of his. Lars invited him up on stage to perform his ode to Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous poem “Mr. Raven.” He did not disappoint. Critchinbaby brought his charisma and charm to one of MC Lars’ signature songs and showed that San Antonio has an MC knocking on the chamber door of nerd rap.
1.“Canned Heat” 2. Jamiroquai; the 90s were peak period for musicians wearing dumb hats. 3. His debut mixtape Graph Paper is due out soon. 4. Fun Fact: he actually has at least two songs about Edgar Allen Poe.