The lost TheUnheardNerd.com OGDV interview...

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OG Don Vito
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The lost TheUnheardNerd.com OGDV interview...

Post by OG Don Vito » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:42 pm

Back in March 2012, Will H. aka The Unheard Nerd reached out to me right around the time that RT.org was changed to :nn . He wanted to provide some background to his readers concerning how RT.org came to be initially. Recently, someone reached out to me on FB asking me many of these same questions. My first instinct was to hunt down that old interview and just link it as opposed to re-typing out pages of info. Unfortunately, it seems that Unheard took the interview down sometime during the past few years. Luckily, I still had the original email from him in my gmail inbox along with my answers to his questions. This interview was done right after the site had been changed to nn.com, so it reflects my feelings and thoughts directly from that moment in time. It goes into some of the controversy at the time, some of the beefing, and why certain decisions were made. Below, I'm making that information publicly available again, and I guess in a way archiving it online for anyone curious about this particular moment in the history of Nerdcore. These are the raw, unedited answers, probably a bit more comprehensive and complete than what Unheard had on his site...

(TheUnheardNerd = bold)



March 5, 2012

Thanks again for your time.

In order to give some accurate background information in the feature the first few questions focus on your early involvement with the nerdcore scene, your time running Rhyme Torrents and the lead up to your relinquishing control of the website and the inception of Roll A Twenty Records. Subsequent questions will focus more on RATR. Please feel free to write a much or as little as you feel is adequate. Obviously, the more information you give me, the more I can draw on when writing the piece and the less likely I am to need to come back to you with follow up questions.



Section 1 – rhymetorrents.org

## How did you first become aware of and involved in the nerdcore scene? Which artists influenced and inspired you to start making music yourself?


Back in about 2007, I was running an mp3-hosting site called Favoritetrack.com. Basically, it was a bridged phpbb/Jamroom site where members could upload music and create their own page a la myspace, which was all the rage back then. But the focal point of the community was the board. I have always believed strongly in the community aspects afforded by the online forum system. In my opinion, no other social networking format or design (such as those of Facebook or Twitter) can even come close to creating digital facsimile communal group-type environment. So I was building up the site, creating a member base largely from inviting over people from Soundclick.com (where I had been a member since 2002). It was a small but tight knit community. And we counted a couple of admins and most of the mod team from soundclick as members along with a bunch of talented musicians.

It was there that, one of the soundclick mods, a Canadian dude named onemob, heard one of my early raps that I uploaded to FT.com, which had to do with computers, and posted some MC Chris and Optimus Rhyme tracks. My interest was instantly piqued. He informed me that there were whole compilations based around this type of music, which they were calling “Nerdcore”. He linked me to the Rhymetorrents.com compilations page. I grabbed them all.

In no time, I made my way to the forums aka “BBS” there. I felt instantly at home. This was precisely the type of music I had been formulating in my head for myself for some time, and to know that there was already a community of support and resources established seemed like a perfect fit. I began making and sharing beats there. As I got more involved with the RT artists and began getting involved in producing for others, I found that I had less and less time to run FT.com. It literally was a full time job running the site. Being as how the two components (phpbb and Jamroom) were integrated together by a sub-beta level bridge (which was all that was available at that time), there were constant software errors and breakdowns. So it was with a heavy heart that I chose to close the site down in order to pursue my own musical goals.

The hype building up on RT.com at the time was surrounding the upcoming compilation CD, Rhymetorrents Volume 7. I had enjoyed the previous 6 releases from the site so much, that I decided that I had to make it onto volume 7. I began approaching artists on the site to see if anyone was interested in collaborating with me. As it turned out, the opportunity to create a great track for the comp fell into my lap. During one of the many and on-going debates on whether Fun vs Quality should reign supreme in the Nerdcore community, I saw a topic where The Ranger and MC Gigahertz were just going at it. It was an interesting debate, but I observed that things were getting a little heated between the two. So, largely against my better judgment, and perhaps harking back to moderating my own board, I intervened and proposed that all of this energy would be best directed towards making music. Just to suppress the flaming, I suggested that the beef be squashed and that they should collab together. Both sides of Nerdcore (the fun AND the quality) together on one track. If I could keep that antiquated bridge between my old phpbb/Jamroom working, shaky as it was, this union couldn’t be much harder to pull off, right?

I presented them both with an in-progress piece of a beat I had just started that morning. Looking back, what I sent them was really in the preliminary phase. The bassline was out of tune, and the drums had not been layered and were sounding soft as hell. But when I got each of their vox back, I was like “WOW”. These guys both tore it up. That motivated me to finish the beat and sequence the track. With a couple of months to go until the set release date of RTv7, I had asked a new member of the RT.com community, TyT, if he would round out the ensemble and drop a third verse for the song. I had a hook made and the song eventually came to be “Welcome Back to the Web". Link: https://soundcloud.com/don-vito/og-don- ... -gigahertz

At this point, the RT comps had zero quality requirements for submissions, but I wanted my track to really bang. HT had utilized his RT.com signature area to promote the fact that he was willing to do mixing and mastering on the cheap. I worked out a deal with him and paid to have the track polished. Everything was in place. I had the right track. It sounded great. I really could not wait to unleash it on the community with the release of Rhymetorrents Volume 7. I sent the track in to High-C and waited.

Then the RT community collapsed. Within a few weeks of the new comp’s release, for whatever reason, the site imploded. Depending on whom you believe, apparently High-C had been promised a set at Nerdapalooza that year if he promoted it on the RT site and around the Florida area. From what I observed at the time, he did just that, but as the show grew near, was informed by Rob Tobias [Nerdapalooza co-organizer] that he would not be given a slot to perform after all. This kind of drove High-C crazy with fury. And I can kind of understand why. So he began flaming Rob and Hex [the other Nerdapalooza co-organizer] on the RT.com board. The two showmen, who already had considerable cred in the community for putting together the previous Nerdapalooza shows, had supporters on the board though. So lines were drawn. Big lines. Like earthquake, crevice in the ground, mantle fissuring-type lines. So many people were flaming High-C, that he just started arbitrarily banning people. And he seemed to be incensed at the whole community. Everyone either left because of the flames or was banned.

Well, everyone but me. And I think nYgel still posted a bit at this time. But it was basically just us two, with High-C stopping by every once in a while to try and troll us. Why did I stay? I had set my hopes on RT volume 7 being released, and after all of my hard work, I still really wanted to be a part of it. Then one day, a week or two after the meltdown, the phpbb portion of RT.com just went away, a few lines of syntax error in its place. Just prior to this though, around the highest level of flaming on RT.com, there had been rumbles of a new site and board. Created by HT and the guys of EMPulse Records out of Florida, Crossplatformmusic.com promised to be a safe haven for all of the Nerdcore artists and fans that suddenly found themselves without an online home.

I reluctantly joined. Not because I didn’t think that these guys were capable. But there was something to be said about a community that wasn’t run by a clique of the scene. That is what High-C had provided. I would discover that a bias did indeed exist. I found that most of the peeps from RT.com had indeed converted over to CPM.com. So it was indeed a lively enough replacement. Being that it was a largely RT member base there, and not willing to let all of the hard work I’d committed to making my RTv7 comp track, I innocently enough created a topic that would, in a lot of ways, come to shape the next 3 years of my life.


## How did rhymetorrents.org come into being and how long did you run it for?

Since CPM.com was filled to the brim with former RT’ers, and I knew that many of them, like me, had been working hard on making tracks for RT volume 7, and that many of us already had finished and polished tracks just waiting for release, I made a topic proposing that we release RT Volume 7 ourselves. After all, I reasoned, we were RT. It’s the members that make a community. Why shouldn’t we present our work? Well, I received a less than stellar response from the mod team over on CPM.com. Many of them being involved with the flaming of High-C over on RT.com, I got a lot of flack. Some accused me of trolling. Others told me to drop the idea now. But something else happened. Again, it is not the powers that be that shape a community, it is the members. And the members spoke up. My topic began to get positive replies. RT orphans like myself, with tracks ready and waiting, started to support the idea. Realizing that I was skating on thin ice, and not wanting to cause any unneeded drama on the CPM.com board, I took the reigns and began to formulate the compilation quietly.

I figured that CPM.com would not support the release or probably allow it to be publicized on their site, so I figured that, at the very least, we would need webspace to host the album on. I registered rhymetorrents.org (.org because I felt it only right to keep the non-profit credo that the .com adhered to) and purchased a very minimal amount of monthly transfer. Again, at this point, the whole idea was just to have an easy to find domain with just a link page where people could grab the comp. That was it. I knew we needed space online to host the Volume 7 compilation from, feeling that I would not be able to count on CPM to help out.

In that same vein, I started getting pm’s on CPM from artists that dealt with the logistics of getting their songs to me in time for the comp. At that point, I started to come to the conclusion that maybe I should install a free phpbb on the webspace just to handle the final preparations of the release with the artists who were donating and to keep everyone on the same page as to things like due dates, choosing artwork, etc. Again, cause sending individual pm’s on CPM just was too much work and I did not feel comfortable posting publicly these types of things on their board, being as how I felt that they really did not like what I was doing.

It was then hat I installed the board on RT.org. Already having experience with FT.com, it was quick. I initially told no one and whole board was composed of one forum, “Rhyme Torrents Volume 7”. I don’t recall who showed up first, but I do recall making someone (I think nYgel) aware of the new board’s existence, and before I new it, we had about 5-6 members. I recall The Ranger being one of the early registrations as well. So it was quiet word of mouth that the place grew. Just for simplicity’s sake, I chose to stick with the initial release date that High-C had promised for the comp to drop. So at this time, we were maybe a month out from that date. There was a lot of caution and distrust early on. I remember that someone asked me to post from the admin account to confirm that this new RT incarnation wasn’t being secretly run by High-C in some elaborate ruse to troll them once more.

The comp pretty much came together on its own. I was really shocked at how much interest and excitement there was from artists and fans alike to get this thing done. As is typical, many of those members began posting goofy posts and suddenly it became apparent that the site just might have to expand into a whopping two forums now. So I created the “Garbage Can” forum [named after the junk dump forum at Soundclick.com at the time], where nonsensical posts not related to the work being put into Volume 7’s formation could continue on to their creator’s content. It was like a chill place for members where anything kind of went and where I could snip and drop posts that were diverting us from serious business in the main forum. Eventually this forum would be renamed “The Shark Tank” on NCN years later, largely keeping the same theme and purpose.

Eventually, after a couple of weeks, we had accumulated an impressively sized member base of maybe twenty or so registrants. Being as how a lot of those folks had their own music that they were releasing, I decided to create a third forum, “Music”, where they could share and discuss their non-Volume 7-related creations. More forums followed. Mostly, the site’s growth was guided by the requests of the members. That was always my central belief. I never once felt as though the site were mine. I am just one person. I could register all of the domain names in the world. But to create a lively community, to release a dope compilation… that takes the help of others. That, and the fact that I never felt any ownership over the Rhyme Torrents name. So for most of the major decisions for the site, I always implored the opinions of the members. I figured, they were keeping this thing alive, they should decide where it goes. And again, by making the site an outright democracy, I was able to avoid feeling as though I just stole High-C’s sandbox and made myself king. I always felt that I had simply liberated it and returned it to the members. That is why I tried to always handle any board maintenance via the “admin” account. That account was a faceless servant of the community. A custodian. It had no friends or previous ties. It simply did what was needed to maintain peace when unrest erupted, regardless of who was involved and without bias. If I had simply given myself power, I would have run things different and perhaps taken sides with those who I had worked with in the past or who had seniority. The admin account didn’t care. It allowed me to separate myself from the equation.

To make an exceptionally long story perhaps a slight, nearly imperceptible bit shorter, Rhyme Torrents Volume 7 was released. And it really was unarguably the most polished and all around strongest RT release to date, no question. We went on to release 8 the next year, and then Volume 9 was released the year following that with Danger Aaron taking on a big role in its creation. I wanted him to learn how to put one of these things together because I had the sense back then that he would be doing that and more. Of course, all of that was unknown to him at the time. So the fact that he was willing to donate all of that hard work and time of his own with no guarantees of any sort of personal pay-off really went far to strengthen my suspicion that someone worthy of building upon this initial foundation had arrived. So I ran the Rhymetorrents.org domain for roughly 3 years, all said and done. The longest of any administrator to date, I believe.


## What do you feel was your biggest achievement related to the site whilst running rhymetorrents?

The biggest achievement was returning a community that had been utterly obliterated and lay in complete and utter shambles, and making something that not only got by and survived, but actually thrived and progressed into a legitimately great community in its own right. We didn’t just start from zero like, say, CPM. After how RT.com had ended, we were starting at like -5000. Quite a hole to dig ourselves up from. But we did it. And we kept moving up.

## Towards the end of your involvement, some accused you of forming a core group of members, a clique if you will, and shutting out others involved with the boards. What are your view on those claims?

Favorites were never chosen. In fact, via the admin account, I had to temp ban people who I actually considered online friends, like tyt, because they got out of hand and unfortunately they pushed things too far to the point of inciting unrest. Likewise, when I removed Madhatter from mod status, I allowed him to vent, bait, and publicly attack me as much he wanted, with no moves made against him or his account at all. So if my intention was in fact to allow my friends slide while punishing those I didn’t like, I did a horrible job.

## Your decision to relinquish control of the site came unexpectedly and as suddenly as the announcement of Roll A Twenty Records. There were teasers of a big announcement shortly before, but why did you feel a grand announcement was the best way of getting the news out?


Well, if you want the most truthful answer, it all comes down to simple psychology. I knew Aaron was going to have take the reigns. And I knew that, just because of the dynamics of the RT community, he would have a lot of detractors coming in. I assumed it would largely be from the self-proclaimed “vets” who didn’t think [Danger Aaron] deserved the power. So I tricked them in advance. I made them hate me so much, that they would be happy with anyone but me running the site. In fact, I made him their saviour by having it be him who unbanned them once I was out of office.

Unfortunately, the RATR concept had to suffer. It was my deep hope to get that off the ground. But where RATR was my personal project, in the end I felt that the overall community’s stability was more imperative. The way I saw it, I could quit being admin as a good guy and have lots of support for the RATR label all while Aaron got terrorized by the wolves. Or I could make most of the more vocal members hate me, whereby they would be more open to Aaron’s fresh take on what the community should be post DV. Of course, as mentioned, the downside would be that anything tied to me would be generally panned out of spite.

## Choosing Danger Aaron as your successor and handing full control of the site over to him seemed a strange decision at the time. He was fairly new to the scene. Hindsight shows that he was the perfect choice to take things on. But how did you decide that he was the right guy and how much thought did you give to that decision and choice?

I had always struggled with running the site. I never wanted to do it. But at the same time, I didn’t want all of the hard work that had gone in to be for nothing because someone who is unevenly tempered or prone to biased behaviour was given control. So I stuck in there and did my best. As one year, turned into two, and so on. Aaron contacted me early into his joining the site in a pm and offered his services as a web designer to work on our phpbb template, in an effort to professionalize the site’s look. I had no idea who he was, so I asked him to create a couple of ideas and I would check them out, as I was always looking for help and contributions to the board. That’s how we started working together. I like his work, and most importantly, his work ethic. When he said he was going to have something done, he delivered when he said, if not earlier.

Like I said, I had been looking all along since RT.org was just one little forum for a proper successor. I instantly noticed his potential. So it was that when it came time form Rhyme Torrents Volume 9 to start getting rolling, I asked if he would co-Exec produce it along with me. I don’t know if he knew, but essentially I was grooming him on how to put these type of comps together. Around that time I made him co-admin of the site. Partially it was a test to observe how he would behave when placed in a heated position where he was expected to intervene and fix things. But likewise I wanted to show him how I had organized things behind the scenes and allow him to get a feel for running a beast as unique as an RT community. In fact, there were times when his judgment countered mine, and I asked him to just trust me. Although I know he didn’t understand why I was doing what I did, he always did trust me. He never became vengeful or turned on me publicly in the forums.

I should mention that Aaron was not my first ever choice. Earlier on I thought I had found the right person to take over for me, Madhatter. After seeing his skill in the 2v2 Tourney and being exposed to his very obvious love for the Nerdcore community as a whole, he seemed to me to be a really likely candidate. Like I said, literally the moment after I registered the .org domain name I was looking to find someone worthy to carry on the mantle. I thought I had found it with MH. So immediately after the 2v2, I began MH’s ascension towards possible adminship of the site by making him mod of the Battles & Beefs forum (what is now called the Battle Arena on NCN). He did fine for a while. But I noticed that, in a weird way, he was always trying to steer traffic away from RT.org to his board, Geekamigo. That alone was not a deal breaker. But I just noticed that, in his mod duties, he would tend to take sides as opposed to moderating, typically backing someone who he just happened to like, and using his mod powers to mess with the posts of those who he didn’t. It was around this time where I began getting pm’s from him where he started asking for global mod power. Which I thought was great initially, him showing interest in running things. That was what I was searching for.

At one point, the RT.org community was looking to create its very first quality-controlled compilation. MH, in a private mod-only forum I had on the site, offered to release it on his label, Scrub Club. This was no surprise, as the project was shaping up to be quite dope. In the post where he proposed this idea, he mentioned that if it turned into a Scrub club release, he would promise us heavy publicity on the Scrub Club board [Geek Amigo] as well as on the Scrub Club homepage and their social networking pages. Well, I inquired as to why he couldn’t just support the release and promote it without it being a Scrub Club release, and simply do it as a favour for a site that he was not only a heavy contributor to, but in fact a certified member of the staff. The way I saw it, RT.org had persistently been there to promote all Scrub club releases on our front page with no strings attached. Now, if there actually existed this sense of community, support and unity in Nerdcore, how come we had to slap the Scrub Club logo on our site’s releases to get the favor back?

After that incident, things between MH and I were never the same. He began only showing up to post various cut-n-paste Scrub Club release promos on the board, and all but gave up his duties as Battle mod. In fact, I had to step in and was modding that forum myself. As it was always too much work on top of running things in the other forums, I asked Krymestarone if he would be the new battle mod, and I announced that MH had been replaced. I honestly thought he wouldn’t care, since he hadn’t carried out a single mod act there for about two months. I was wrong. He showed up and began challenging me, and at even one point called for a vote to have me removed as admin. So it was kind of at around this point I was sort of maybe thinking he wasn’t of the exact right temperament to run a community as diverse and off-the-wall as RT.org.

I was honestly saddened, because for a brief moment there, I thought he would be the one. So after that incident, I realized that I would have to be more careful and watchful of whom I even considered as a candidate. On the positive, lessons were learned that made the selection process that much smoother when I came time to consider Aaron. By way of that interaction with MH, I at least knew what characteristics would not work out for any would-be successor.


## There are persistent rumours that you troll nerdcorenow every now and again. How do you answer these charges? Guilty or not guilty? Do you ever visit the site?

I posted at the end of last year, dropped by just to see how everyone was doing. As for those rumors, I recall seeing High-C’s name mentioned time and time again on RT.org during the time I ran it, as he was blamed jokingly for various things that went wrong, mostly by the older members. I guess it is a bit of a tradition or reoccurring joke for the former RT admins to be hazed I guess. I don’t mind. I guess it shows a connection to the past, and that folks remember you.
Last edited by OG Don Vito on Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Ham-STAR
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Re: The lost TheUnheardNerd.com OGDV interview...

Post by Ham-STAR » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:43 pm

Illuminating.

*tips cap*
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Re: The lost TheUnheardNerd.com OGDV interview...

Post by DavidBlakeMercer » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:42 am

Hey Don Vito would you like to do an audio interview for the SSS podcast?
http://davidblakemercer.itgo.com

Jesus Christ is the Lord. -KJV1611
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OG Don Vito
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Re: The lost TheUnheardNerd.com OGDV interview...

Post by OG Don Vito » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:56 pm

I’m totally down
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