What Rolling Stone said would be a short-lived trend has and is increasingly becoming a fixture in the music industry. Horrorcore Rap, a sub-genre unpopular with mainstream audiences, has gained attention through the recognized talents of horrorcore rap groups like Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, and Philadelphia's own Jedi Mind Tricks. But you may ask, why so much resistance to this particular genre? Well, the subject content is usually a bit......disturbing to say the least. Stories of coldblooded murder, explicit descriptions of violent sex (consensual? Hopefully?), and song titles like "Assassins", "Devil's Son", and "C.P.K.(Crooked Preacher Killers)", all mixed with sounds of hardcore rap and heavy metal, aren't the most inviting illustrations from the genre, but make up the core essence of horrorcore rap.
So how is this form of entertainment flourishing? The genre is sustained by a loyal internet culture and each year horrorcore rap artists and affectionatos around the globe get together in Detroit for what is called, wait for it, Wickedstock. And on Halloween each year, artists release a free digital compilation titled Devil's Nite. Regardless of the negative content portrayed in the lyrics of this genre, there are songs and groups, new and old, that have revolutionize the way we listen, perceive, and accept this form of music.
Credited with being the originators of the genre, the group gained notoriety through their misogynistic, psychotic, and necrophilia-based content. Their 1988 debut album, Making Trouble, put them on the map as horrorcore artists with the single "Assassins", and after reinventing their sound, inspired the "Dirty South" trend along with artists like Ludacris, UGK, The Notorious B.I.G., T.I., Goodie Mobb, OutKast, and a host of others.
Most people never think that these guys were ever thought of as a horrorcore rap group. But on their rise to notoriety, their first EP release Faces of Death (that nobody seems to remember) was all horrorcore. It was the EP that got them signed to Eazy-E's record label Ruthless Records. In 1994, BTNH released another EP titled Creepin on ah Come Up, and it included a song, well - a chant of some sort - titled "Mr. Ouija". No beat. No music. Just chanting, "Mr. Ouija are you with me? Mo murda, mo murda, mo murda me now." Repeatedly they ask, "Dear Mr. Ouija, Can you please tell me my future?" It was the only horrorcore song on the album at that time but that EP also included one of their first hits "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" which broke through to the mainstream audience and reached #22 on the Hot 100. This early success led them to their first #1 single "Tha Crossroads" released in 1995. The rest is history.
Three 6 Mafia:
When formed in 1991, members DJ Paul, Juicy J, Koosta Knicca, Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo, and Lord Infamous came together and made up the menacing sounding group Triple Six Mafia. Their lyrics included dark themes like violent revenge and occultism, much of what we still see even in mainstream rap today through rappers like 50 Cent and Meek Mill. But even with such dark and violent content, Three 6 Mafia still was able to break through to the mainstream audience with their album Mystic Stylez, and, in 2006, ultimately legitimatized the genre when they won an Oscar for Best Original Song for their single "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" (is that really the name of it?) featured in the movie Hustle & Flow. Even more interesting, not only were they the first hip-hop act and horrorcore group to ever to perform at the Oscars in all 78 years of its existence. They went on to release two platinum albums. Today, Juicy J is one of the most featured rap artists of the moment. R.I.P. to member Lord Infamous who quietly died in his sleep in December to a heart attack at the age of 40.