Top 10 Nerdiest Rappers of All Time If you want some education with your rhymes, these MCs deliver

Nerd rap is more popular these days, but it wasn’t always so. At the turn of the century, gangsta rap and success stories ruled the rap game. Underground rappers from across the country started changing all that, and these days, YouTube makes it ok for any nerd to rap. These are the nedry emcees who reign supreme though.

10. Canibus

Canibus

Germaine Williams is mostly remembered for his beefs with LL Cool J and Eminem (along with his KOTD Vendetta freestyle fail). He was one of the first rappers to truly embrace the internet, long before it was cool. Rip the Jacker truly is a rap poet laureate, and reminds us of what Slim Shady would have been if he weren’t white.

Nerdy Lyric:

Mix the blood so it don’t coagulate
The sex magik won’t work if the bitch masturbates
I put her on cloud nine, look at her face
A cumulus lenticularis, a capsule in space
You will become acquainted with my cryptic language
And my mystic manners, Rip spit bananas
Systematic global geographic systemic neosynapsis
Reload the graphics, notice I spit it rapid
Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility
Most MCs try to clone me lyrically
My cell chemistry is a mirror of who I am physically
But my true symmetry is energy

Mic Club: The Curriculum – “Poet Laureate”

9. Aesop Rock

Ian Matthias Bavitz defined the sound of underground hip-hop in the early 2000s. As one of Def Jux’s founding artists, Portland-based Aesop Rock was a fundamental member of The Weathermen, Hail Mary Mallon, Two of Every Animal, Malibu Ken, and The Uncluded. And his lyrics run deep.

Nerdy Lyric:

Life’s not a bitch, life is a beautiful woman
You only call her a bitch ’cause she won’t let you get that pussy
Maybe she didn’t feel y’all shared any similar interests
Or maybe you’re just an asshole
Who couldn’t sweet talk the princess
Kiss the speaker wire Peter/pacifism pegging threshold
Stomach full of halo kibbles
Wings span cast black upon vigils
Here to Duck Hunt ticker tape vision and pick apart the pixels
I got a friend of polar nature, and it’s all peace
You and I seek similar stars but can’t sit at the same feast
Metal Captain, this cat is askin’ if I’ve seen his bit of lost passion
I told him: “Yeah,” but only when I pedaled past him

Labor Days – “Daylight”

8. Mac Lethal

David McCleary Sheldon’s name is David McCleary Sheldon. If that’s not enough, the Black Clover Records head is the mascot for white Kansas City rap. He’s corny, makes dad jokes, and corrects your grammar. When Mac Lethal isn’t rapping on YouTube, he’s touring bookstores. Nardwuar goes to more hip-hop festivals.

Nerdy Lyric:

And I come smart when I argue over major issues like war
But all these stupid idiots keep misusing you’re
Look. I dont wanna be a bitter, arrogant, american, elitist
But I think you better go and read a book
R I P to m c a I’m makin you all study english comprehension you ain’t sleepin til we get to brook-lyn
Look friend, I could understand if you’re just a kid
But if you’re older than 13 years old you better see these words
And know exactly what the difference is
This one is a contraction, like you
Apostrophe, are, ready for action
You’re at risk when the gem star slash your skin
You’re an idiot like kim kardashian
This one’s your. possessive. yours
Your beer, your gun, your mom’s a whore

YouTube – “You’re vs. Your”

7. Asher Roth

Before Mac Miller and G-Eazy cemented frat rap into the lexicon, Asher Paul Roth paved the way. He’s the answer to the question “What if Eminem were a conscious rapper?” and spent a few years with Scooter Braun before going indie. Roth’s super group with Lupe Fiasco and others was named “All-City Chess Club,” if you’re curious how much of a nerd he is.

Nerdy Lyric:

My aura takes the form of the Aurora Borealis
Or a floral pattern, more or less a forest to your salad
The neural path I’ve traveled has immediate reaction
Can’t you see that I am beaming? I’ll be leaving in a second
Sipping magic from a chalice, detached from the distractions
At last, I can relax, looking past all of the action
A fraction or a fragment of me actually is present
The rest of me is heavenly, the seventh house’s zenith
Yes, the fence intimidates, it’s meant to keep you out
But let your senses resonate and leap it in a bound
Cause freedom isn’t found inside a visa or a crown
And even the voice of reason couldn’t speak it out loud
But mortals are immortal when their soul has been imported
To a source that is more sovereign, important to the whole
This is the warmest moment of a poet turned heroic
As he slowly comes to focus, go ahead and watch me glow

All City Chess Club – “We Beamin’ (Remix)”

6. Mos Def

 

Yasiin Bey is an artist, activist, and academic who always teaches you something. He’s an underrated genius who rode to hip-hop infamy alongside such legendary wordsmiths as De Le Soul and Talib Kweli (with whom he formed the group Black Star). Mos Def is a brilliant actor and rapper who made being nerdy cool across all media.

Nerdy Lyric:

Yo, check it one for Charlie Hustle, two for Steady Rock
Three for the fourth coming live, future shock
It’s five dimensions, six senses
Seven firmaments of heaven to hell, 8 Million Stories to tell
Nine planets faithfully keep in orbit
With the probable tenth, the universe expands length
The body of my text posses extra strength
Power-lifting powerless up, out of this, towering inferno
My ink so hot it burn through the journal
I’m blacker than midnight on Broadway and Myrtle
Hip-Hop past all your tall social hurdles
Like the nationwide projects, prison-industry complex
Broken glass wall better keep your alarm set
Streets too loud to ever hear freedom sing
Say evacuate your sleep, it’s dangerous to dream

Black on Both Sides – “Mathematics”

5. Kanye West

Kanye Omari West made being a nerd cool, and he brought fellow Chicago rappers like Common into the spotlight with him. He rode the perfect line between cool, nerdy, and gangsta, until he married Kim Kardashian and started speaking the truth in radio interviews. Now he’s just full-on nerd.

Nerdy Lyric: 

I get down for my grandfather who took my mama
Made her sit in that seat where white folks ain’t want us to eat
At the tender age of 6, she was arrested for the sit-ins
And with that in my blood I was born to be different
Now niggas can’t make it to ballots to choose leadership
But we can make it to Jacob’s and to the dealership
That’s why I hear new music and I just don’t be feelin’ it
Racism’s still alive, they just be concealin’ it
But I know they don’t want me in the damn club
They even made me show ID to get inside of Sam’s Club
I done did dirt and went to church to get my hands scrubbed
Swear I’ve been baptized ‘least three or four times
But in the land where niggas praise Yukons and getting paid
It’s gonna take a lot more than coupons to get us saved
Like it take a lot more than doo rags to get you waves
Nothing sad as that day my girl’s father passed away

The College Dropout – “Never Let Me Down”

4. El-P

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 02: El-P of Run The Jewels performs during the 2015 Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on October 2, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)

Jaime Meline is better known these days as half of Run the Jewels with Killer Mike. The amount of times their songs end up on shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley is enough to show what a nerd he is. But even before that, El-P was the head of Def Jux records, a member of Company Flow, and a producer for rappers like Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, and Cage.

Nerdy Lyric: 

Oh dear, what the fuck have we here?
These motherfuckers all thorn no rose
Egads what a bad dream better not sleep
Take a No-Doz, do some blow
Oh shit what the hell have we done?
It’s alive and it’s hungry as fuck
Better hide all the snacks and the dough
But it is out of my control, you are shit out of luck
I don’t wanna be unfair but the pair
We got beat that weak shit you got (True god)
Blew up the spot with that new bop
(Crew drops) Do up ya squad without nuance
I don’t wanna sound unkind but the
Sounds I make are the sounds of the hounds that are howling
Under your bed I’m here growling
Same time under the blanket you’re cowering

Run the Jewels – “Run the Jewels”

3. Logic

Sir Robert Bryson Hall II is the epitome of nerd rap, ushering in the new generation. Logic is an author, his biggest hit to date is a suicide prevention hotline number (hopefully he doesn’t go the way of Mac Miller), he plays video games on stage, and his name is bookmarked by “Sir” and “II.” Consider the nerd bar raised.

Nerdy Lyric: 

I’m like what’s good, been fine
Tell me what’s on your mind, rewind this shit
My message is beyond this shit
I put that on everything, I’m just being honest, shit
So what’s up, hold up
Tech I’m sorry for the hold up but I been on the road
Should have had this verse to your ass a long time ago
When I put that on everything, I ain’t had a minute to myself
But I been living like I ain’t finna see tomorrow
I ain’t focused on no wealth
I been living good, I been feeling fine
Pass the Sriracha, I put that shit on all of mine
Busting like Columbine combined with a terrorist’s mind
That’s been confined in four walls for some time

The Storm – “Sriracha”

2. Lil Dicky

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9448593af)
Lil Dicky performs at the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival, in Okeechobee, Fla
2018 Music and Arts Festival – Day 3, Okeechobee, USA – 04 Mar 2018

David Andrew Burd spent the 2010s making everyone simultaneously laugh and clap. He’s a complete nerd, but he’s also really talented on the mic. He’s like a family-friendly Eminem, although he’s quick to remind you on every freestyle that he’s on this planet to fuck. Just like one of the nerds in the movies. Also, like Logic, he’s determined to use hip-hop for a good cause.

Nerdy Line:

Even though the speeding limit sixty five
I’m doing seventy five without a seat belt on
And I’ve been texting, driving reckless
I was seventeen when I first tried a Guiness on the tennis team
We used to haze a lot of freshmen
Lil Dicky put a hoop up in the street
Without obtaining permission
From the city, and every Christmas day
I’m going to cinemas with single tickets to single flicks
But go to additional pictures, sorry, but your boy is malicious
And back when I was eighteen, statutory raping
This little ho, even though we was dating
And if I am taking public transportation
On the quiet train I might have a conversation
Fuck it I’m the man
Puitting trash up in some other people’s cans though
At the work fridge, stealing can coke
And up at the holiday party, I’m grinding colleagues on the dance floor
Dick been rubbing against their assholes, say it’s not…

Professional Rapper – “White Crime”

1.  Childish Gambino

Donald McKinley Glover Jr. came to everyone’s attention on NBC’s Community as Troy Barnes, the lovable goofball. Soon he was making music under the names Childish Gambino and mcDJ. While Drake hit it big and Hopsin was largely ignored, Childish Gambino hit the sweet spot, because the internet. He ushered in a new generation of conscious rap for those looking for intelligent lyrics.

Nerdy Lyric:

Okay, it’s Childish Gambino, homegirl drop it like the NASDAQ
Move white girls like there’s coke up my asscrack
Move black girls cause, man, fuck it, I’ll do either
I love pussy, I love bitches, dude, I should be runnin’ PETA
In Adidas, with some short shorts, B-O-O all over me
My green is where it’s supposed to be, your green is in my grocery
This Asian dude, I stole his girl, and now he got that Kogi beef
My dick is like an accent mark, it’s all about the over Es
Hot like a parked car
I sound weird like nigga with hard R
Fly like the logo on my cousin’s four forty
Eatin’ Oreos like these white girls that blow me
Vodka for my ladies, whiskey for a grown man
Hangin’ in the islands, lookin’ for Earl like toe jam

Camp – “Bonfire”

Versability

Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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