Down to the Core

We asked hip-hop emcee Adam WarRock to share his five favorite albums of the moment. Known as the internet’s foremost comic book nerdcore rapper, WarRock also nabbed the grand prize at Kollaboration’s Atlanta competition last month. His debut album, The War For Infinity, is available at, along with a follow-up EP, This Man… This Emcee!, which drops this month in digital format.

by Kai Ma
photograph by Victoria Ruan

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Here We Rest by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (Lightning Rod Records, 2011)

Having grown up and lived in the South for most of my life, I no longer fight the fact that I love country music. When a guy like Jason Isbell comes along with a whiskey bottle and shotgun in his arms, it makes it easy to love. “Alabama Pines” is perfect driving music.

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TSOL by Shad (Fontana North, 2010)

On his way to grad school, Shad somehow became the best rapper you’ve never heard of. “Yaa I Get It” is one of the best lyrical songs I’ve ever heard. Positive, spiritual hiphop that deserves attention.

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The Illustrated Guide To 9 To 5 by Brother Reade (Record Collection, 2005)

A Los Angeles duo that somehow slipped through the cracks of public consciousness, this short EP creates a sound that hovers somewhere between ambient electronica and the best of indie hiphop. The title track’s haunting beat swells with one of the best hooks I can remember.

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Audition by P.O.S. (Rhymesayers, 2006)

The first time I heard Audition, I vowed to make music in a different way. It’s personal, dirty, angry and lovingly emotional in the best possible ways.

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Act II: The Father of Death by The Protomen (Sound-Machine, 2009)

When people talk about the fallacy of good “nerd” music, I simply play them “Breaking Out” by The Protomen. Their albums create a fictional backstory to the video game Mega Man, and are still as heartbreaking and powerful even if you’ve never touched a controller in your life.