Howdy folks. G4techTV.com Web Content Producer Frank Meyer here with my bi-weekly rundown of what’s cool, what’s hot and what’s rockin’ in the world of music. This week’s theme is…
Halloween horror-core: One trend in hip hop that emerged in the mid-‘90s and has remained an underground sensation is horror-core. Though road tested by gangsta pioneers like Ice-T and Geto Boys, horror-core really took shape in the form of Detroit’s Esham and Insane Clown Posse, Houston’s Ganksta NIP, L.A.’s Insane Poetry, and New York Gravediggaz (from the Wu Tang fam). The style combined shocking lyrics inspired by horror movies over moody, hardcore beats. Murder, rape, butchery, torture, mayhem, Satanism, drive-bys – all fodder for horror-core lyrics. So with Halloween upon us, I thought I’d point out some horror-core classics and a few newer nuggets for you to get your fright on:
Esham - Judgment Day 1 & 2 (Real Life)
Esham was the King of Detroit before Eminem came around and flipped Esham’s style into multi-platinum success. Esham makes up for his limited rapping skills with twisted, hard-rock inspired psychedelic beats he calls “Acid Rap,” and an endless supply of ways for people to kill or get killed. With an album a year out since the early ‘90s, the “Boogie Man” has amassed quite a back catalogue of demented, yet quite creative hip hop, sampling from rock, metal and obscure movie soundtracks.
Insane Poetry - Grim Reality (Ichiban)
This was one of the first albums I remember where every song was dedicated to murder and killin’, as is evident by horror movie inspired titled like “House That Dripped Blood” and “Bring Ya Daughter to the Slaughter.” Combining West Coast Ice Cube style beats with an East Coast vocal style, lead rapper Cyco came out slicin’ and dicin’ with tracks like “Angel of Death” and the single “How Ya Gonna Reason With a Psycho,” and explained in great detail how he’s busy “Choppin’ up a Body.” Sort of like Ozzy but set to hip hop. Their most recent album, Faith in Chaos, carries on in the same tradition but adds politics and social statements to the mix.
Ganksta NIP - The South Park Psycho (Rap-A-Lot)
NIP is the dope-ass sicko who ghost-wrote Bushwick Bill’s “Chuckie” songs, which were some of the earliest horror-movie inspired raps on wax. NIP’s debut, The South Park Psycho, made headlines when some guy killed a cop to it right after it’s release. The controversy didn’t make him a star outside of Texas, but I’ll be damned if this ain’t one of the craziest albums I’ve ever heard. Cannibalism, insect sex, surgical steel, mutilation – it’s all here folks, painted in vivid, blood red strokes for your demented pleasure.
Insane Clown Posse – The Riddle Box / Great Milenko (Psychopathic)
1995 / 1997
Arguably the most hated group in rap, ICP has actually made a few genuinely great albums, and these are the best of the lot. The Riddle Box was their first to intertwine rock riffs with old school beats and featured the terrific “Chicken Huntin’” and the savage “Dead Body Man,” while Great Milenko successfully dives head first into rock-rap (with Sex Pistols' Steve Jones, Guns n’ Roses’ Slash and Alice Cooper in tow). They may dress like clown, but ICP will slit yer throat, so watch out.
Gravediggaz – 6 Feet Deep (V2/BMG)
Wu Tang Clan’s RZA teamed up with producer Prince Paul and members of Stetsasonic to form this four-piece wrecking crew of MCs hell-bent on suicide, challenging the church, insanity and awakening the mentally dead. The beats are incredible, the rapping is top-notch, and they don’t take themselves very seriously. Plus, Biz Markie makes an appearance, so you know your dollar is well spent.
Necro – I Need Drugs (Psychological)
How can I describe Necro to the average music fan? He's the Slayer of rap? The Cannibal Corpse of hip hop? Hmmm... Necro is a white kid whose skills on the mic put most brothas to shame, whose production rivals the best producers in the game, and whose fan-base goes way beyond horror-core. With his own label and a roster of equally edgy artists like Ill Bill, Non-Phixion and Mr. Hyde, Necro is the most likely to breakout of the underground without changing a damn thing that he’s doing to appeal to the masses. Why? Because despite his graphic lyrics (and they are very, very graphic), the kid has style, substance and charisma. He has a unique, if not F-‘d-up vision, and sticks to it. Like Metallica, Megadeth, and Kool G Rap before him, Necro is forging his own path and simply used horror-core as a mere jumping-off point. His new album, Pre-Fix For Death, is already moving waaaay beyond the confined of the genre.
And if you dig this stuff, check out CDs by Natas, Brotha Lynch Hung, Spice 1, South Park Coalition, Mr. Hyde, and Jedi Mind Tricks. A diverse slew of acts to be sure, but all on the Dark Deal.