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Nerdcore's Poet Laureate

Christopher Ward, known as mc chris, is considered the king of nerdcore rap. Filmmaker Kevin Smith once called him the “poet laureate of pop culture” due to his entertainment-inspired lyrics.

Mc chris is not the first rapper to make hip-hop songs about his geekier side. The Wu-Tang Clan, for example, has made more than ten references to Star Wars while also giving shout outs to Marvel comic book characters in their songs. But Ward is one of the most successful hip-hop stars to ever make nerd culture the focal point of his career.

As a self-described frustrated improviser and comedian, Ward will rant on stage as another creative outlet in front of a live audience. 

“I know that’s a weird part of my show,” says Ward, who is ranting between five and 10 minutes about The Empire Strikes Back on this tour. He says his live show is more of a cabaret experience (e.g. telling stories and singing songs) than a typical rap concert. “My resting form is screaming,” he says.  

Ward, a versatile talent, has studied at the Upright Citizens Brigade improv group since the late ’90s and has worked at Adult Swim as an animator and voice actor for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. He recently moved to Los Angeles and hired an agent to work as a voice actor.

Before that, Ward collaborated with Donald Glover on early Childish Gambino mixtapes. Glover was a colleague at the UCB before his status become stratospheric.

During Ward’s 10 years as a traveling performer, however, he has had plenty of bizarre moments. This includes an oddly successful show at the Insane Clown Posse’s “Gathering of the Juggalos.” 

“My life is very much like the Blues Brothers,” Ward says. “I go from bar to bar and surviving every live experience by the skin of my teeth.”

Mc chris performs with MC Lars and Mega Ran 8 pm Sunday, Nov. 20, at WOW Hall; $15 adv., $17 door.