Le Roy
Comedic rappers Le Roy -- Bearclaw,left, Nasty Nate and Zilla, not shown, -- are Moline natives coming back to the Quad-Cities to perform this weekend. Contributed photo

It was born out of boredom at a Bettendorf sandwich shop.

"Business was really slow there, and in the time between customers, we'd just kind of write filthy rap songs for our friends to laugh at when they'd come in on a slow shift," said Nasty Nate (aka Nathan Veach, 25).

From there, the rapping comedy - or the comedic rap, take your pick - of Le Roy bloomed into steady gigs in the Moline natives' new hometown of Chicago.

From their start at the sandwich shop, they posted videos and songs on MySpace, which got the attention of a radio DJ in Chicago.

After an appearance on his station, he told the three that he produced weekly comedy nights in Chicago, especially on the South Side, and booked them for several dates.

"We've slowly - very, very slowly - developed kind of a niche following among young people who understand that it's meant to be satirical," said Zilla (aka Nathan Finn, 26). The third member of the group, who was unavailable for a telephone interview from Chicago, is Bearclaw (aka Sean Turnipseed, 25).

"We do it to be funny, but we also really like rap music, so it's kind of like a labor of love with a little bit of absurdity that's deliberate," Nasty Nate said.

The trio, opening Friday night for their friends Mondo Drag and Is World at the Redstone Room in the River Music Experience, downtown Davenport, says their bookings have been evenly split among music/rap clubs and comedy venues.

"We kind of fit in a little bit in both places," Zilla said. "I feel like usually the best result is when people don't have any expectations and they're taken off-guard by us. We're kind of average-looking white guys, and we'll play on the South Side of Chicago to middle-aged, mostly African-American crowds. They seem to enjoy it.

"They think it's funny, not because of what we're rapping about, but who we are," he added.

The music comes from their own samples of other songs, not filling in the words on someone else's rap.

The ideas for the songs range from pop-culture subjects such as video games or science-fiction to their own amorous conquests, or lack thereof.

One song talks about trying to hook up with girls in supermarkets for a one-night stand, while another raps about the hardships of living with his sister when he brings a date home. And a third complains about the cramp in his style from having a loft bed 9 feet off the floor and 4 feet from the ceiling.

"We are deliberately dirty in the things we say, but we try to be playful in the way we say it," Nasty Nate said. "That's just what our group of friends finds funny, to talk about different angles of certain things."

Whether Le Roy (pronounced Luh Roy) has the legs to move on to bigger things, the group members themselves say it's "debatable."

"A lot of people who come see us ask for CDs and tell us we can go places," Zilla said. "On the other hand, there's so much luck involved that it would take one person to see us who had connections that could make it happen.

"Or we could keep playing in peoples' basements," Nasty Nate added. "No matter what, it's just a lot of fun."