O.R. They? Credit: Courtesy of Artist

Hip-hop has a great way of encouraging nerdiness. By that I don’t mean nerdcore, a rap subgenre so focused on geek culture that it reeks like a Trekkie who’s stayed at C2E2 too long to shower between days. I’m talking about how accepting the hip-hop community can be of people who are singularly focused on cultural artifacts that the outside world considers niche at best. Which brings me to Chicago rap duo O.R. They?, easily the world’s best hip-hop homage to director Wes Anderson. Jed Sed and Walter J. Liveharder named their project after a line from Rushmore: it’s what protagonist Max Fischer considers a witty response to the O.R. scrubs worn by an imagined romantic rival. But while Jed and Walter are clearly enamored with Anderson, they’re not hamstrung by their fandom. On their new self-released EPs, Either They Can’t Hear Us, or They Don’t Understand Vol. 1 and 2, the duo deploy a barrage of pop-culture references (only occasionally to Anderson movies) to color their vision of Chicago—a place where locals still call the tallest building the Sears Tower and where Wicker Park officially died with the closing of Rodan in 2015. And whether or not your take on the city lines up with theirs, it’s hard not to be charmed by O.R. They?’s wacky, rubbery raps and self-deprecating lines about falling asleep to Point Break.   v