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Ahh yes, horrorcore. If hip-hop were a video store, it would be the horror section. A sub-genre rooted in a love of soul-shattering violence, grizzly imagery and the darkest of pitch black humor, its cult following is one of the most loyal despite a widespread legacy of pigeon-holing and dismissal. While some of the artists celebrated for their work in the sub-genre won’t even embrace the term (Esham prefers “Acid Rap,” Necro prefers “Death Rap”), its fanbase dictates the jams, which often leads to some particularly ghoulish playlist. Halloween in mind, here’s our choices for the five most memorably horrifying horrorcore “cuts.”
5. Geto Boys – “Assassins” 1990
Scariest lyric:“I dug between the chair, and whipped out the machete
She screamed, I sliced her up until her guts were like spaghetti
A maniac, I stabbed the girl in her tits
And to stop her nerves from jumpin’ I just cut her to bits”
Texas’ Geto Boys are one of the most innovative and consistent groups in hip-hop history. While their song “Assassins” has had a few different incarnations, our favorite is the one found on their 1990 self-titled release. These guys could write an intimidating song about going to the supermarket, so when they put their minds particularly in the horror realm, chances are you’ll find yourself “scared as Hell.”
4. Esham – “9 Dead Bodies” 1992
Scariest lyric: “The bigger they are, the harder the fall,
Then their head pops off and rolls down the hall.
Blood stains all on my shoe strangs,
Two bodies swingin’ in the back, and they hang.”
Esham’s “9 Dead Bodies” is horrifying for more than just the lyrics. Rather, his unsettling flow and sinister vocal intonations make the creepy storytelling all the more haunting. As hard as it was to choose a particular Esham song for this list, the almost minimalist elements of “9 Dead Bodies” puts it severed head and shoulders above the rest.
3. Big L – “Devil’s Son” 1993
Scariest lyric: “Cause being bad I couldn’t stop
When I was in pre-school, I beat a kid to death with a wooden block”
While that’s only the first atrocity of Big L’s controversial 1993 single “Devil’s Son,” it’s probably the most shocking opening boast on this list. Those wooden blocks were small, lightweight and challenging to stack above seven, let alone bludgeon a human being to death with all the strength of a toddler. That’s cold.
2. Brotha Lynch Hung – “Return of da Baby Killa” 1995
Scariest lyric: “You ain’t even seen me in my prime
Eatin’ baby brains, baby veins, baby spines
I know they be cryin’ when I’m cuttin’ off the neck
I’m peelin’ off the skin for some bacon-fried croquettes “
Predicated on the premise that “my kid’s gotta eat,” the entire second verse of Brotha Lynch Hung’s “Return of da Baby Killa” is about eating babies. It’s important to have rap music with a message on your Halloween playlist.
1. Necro – “Dead Body Disposal” 2001
Scariest lyric: “But if you want to take your time, don’t rush it either
Cut each piece up like Pizza Hut pizza
With a rusty cleaver
Then put each piece up in a freezer”
Again, we had a challenging time deciding which Necro song to put on this list. Eventually we settled on “Dead Body Disposal.” Not only does Necro graphically depict in a gruesome step-by-step fashion how to get rid of a dead body with a hauntingly stoic demeanor, but he has the absolute gaul to mention Pizza Hut along the way. Good luck keeping your stuffed crust down after this one!