Though its popularity has subsided in recent years, horrorcore remains an essential, if halfway embarrassing, rap subgenre. Of course, even within the genre, there have been variants both good and bad—some were undeniably excellent (see: RZA’s Gravediggaz), others were rap’s shock jocks (remember Esham?), and others, still, were generously lumped under the genre umbrella (think Odd Future and Eminem’s Relapse). Whether horrorcore’s performed by slasher-obsessed rap vets or by violence-obsessed suburbanites, though, the genre’s bound by several things: An affinity for scary movies, excessive brutality, and NSFW violence, usually backed by horror movie samples. It’s perfect for Halloween—and here are 12 of the grossest horrorcore acts around. So like, Juggalos, rejoice.
DISCLAIMER: All these songs are in absolute poor taste.
Who he is: The self-described king of “death rap.” While he writes about everything from human trafficking to eating jizz, he’s mostly remembered for tracks like “Scalpel” and “Dead Body Disposal,” which read like procedural ways to dismember people. The latter song, quite happily, features a twist on Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex,” where the New York rapper sings, “Let’s talk about death, baby / Disintegration of flesh, you’ll see / Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things / Of hacking up your meat.”
Sample lyric: “You could hang a fuck upside down in your tub / And slit his throat from ear to ear to remove a large amount of blood / Most of it’ll gush out on its own at once / But to get that last couple of pints drained work his arms like pumps / For dismemberment, gentlemen, I recommend heavy duty bone saws that cut through gendleums [sic] like pendulums.”
Who: Unlike much of the stuff that passes as horrorcore—usually, it’s either metalheads who got into rap or suburban kids living out their violent fantasies—The Gravediggaz weren’t embarrassing to listen to. That’s because their seminal album, 6 Feet Deep, was excellent: It was a collaboration between Prince Paul and RZA, a.k.a. RZArector, which added a sometimes-kitschy obsession with death to East Coast hip hop. “1-800 Suicide,” for example, is a tongue-in-cheek guide to committing the act. Our fave? “Be like Richard Pryor and light your balls on fire.”
Sample lyric: “And get some LSD or a drink from the bar / Get behind your wheel and crash the car / Like Desert Storm got bombs for the war / Confront an alligator, let it eat ya raw.”
Who he is: Now, a transformed horrorcore rapper who’s found his place on Definitive Jux—and he’s also being featured in a biopic directed by Shia LeBoeuf. He’s best known for feuding with Eminem and for the ultra-violent lyrics that dominated his early career, like on the RJD2-produced “Among the Sleep,” in which he fantasizes about murdering a sex worker, shooting up a high school, and taking his life in a church.
Sample lyric: “I wake up on a red floor, axe in a dead whore / My dick chewed up, why I let this bitch give me head for? / Pigs trying to kick down the door, I’m out for me / Opened the sliding glass door and hopped off the balcony / Fell 30 flights to cars on 10th Ave. / Landed on a FedEx-disguised meth lab.”
Jedi Mind Tricks
Who they are: A hardcore rap act, led by Vinnie Paz and Jus Allah. Though they’ve also veered into hyper-conscious territories, Violent By Design was their horrorcore opus, brimming with creative way to murder folks and esoteric Lawnmower Man references.
Sample lyric: “Lawnmower man, sharp blades slash your vitals / Recitals will fight you and entice you to burn Bibles, homicidal / Hologram burn churches, murders by stickin’ a crucifix through your cervix / Divine purpose, for the Remi that’s in my thermos / Wait and see we’ll stick you with needles that’s hypodermic / You heard the verdict, I’m with Allah ’cause he chose me / Broke into the Vatican, strangled the Pope with his rosary.”
Brotha Lynch Hung
Who: Brotha Lynch Hung is hailed as one of horrorcore’s forefathers, and for good reason: His most celebrated (or reviled) work, 1995’s Seasons of the Siccness, covered plenty of splatter-worthy topics, from killing babies to cannibalism. “Return of the Baby Killa,” which covers both topics, might be the best introduction to Brotha Lynch Hung’s work—no offense to “Rest in Piss.”
Sample lyric: “Guess what daddy’s bringin’ home for supper / Nigga nuts and guts and slabs of human meat, motherfucker / Now eat! Cause daddy’s workin’ hard for you, real, huh? / Killas run around everyday that’s why I’m hard for you, nigga! / … / Nigga, what? 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 / Baby villain spine, that baby-killin’ mind.”
Three Six Mafia
Who: Arguably, Three Six Mafia aren’t a horrorcore act anymore; they’re best known for their influence on Southern rap. But in their formative years, they dabbled with darkness, especially on 1995’s Mystic Stylez. On it, they dabbled in ritualism and the occult, including the iconic “Fuckin Wit Dis Click,” in which they hail themselves as the antichrist while sampling Brainscan, a sci-fi film starring a post T2 Edward Furlong.
Sample lyric: “Totin’ the dead body over my shoulder / And sure to break out with my shovel / Or let evil look forward and I start to dig up and toss in the body / And give up more money as bank of the sore / Three separate bodies hacked up with a axe and I think a big sack / Been chewed up by rats.”
Who: Back when the Geto Boys started their career in 1990, they were censored by their own label—Geffen—for having necrophiliac lyrics. Thankfully, the band signed with Def Jam, and the rest is history, and the album that followed, We Can’t Be Stopped, is considered one of the earliest horrorcore LPs.
Sample lyric: “My father was a priest, cold blooded he’s dead / Hypocrite, I caught him basin’, so I shot him in the head / Poured on the holy water, “Bless the dead” is what I said / Then heard the demon screamin as his body bled.”
Insane Clown Posse
Who: You know who they are. Even if you don’t want to.
Who: “Usually chop wood, but that ain’t all / It’s a bit strange, all up in your mid range / Cut a hole in your head til I hit brains / Left a cop in a pile while maybe / It’s the night of the chainsaw baby!”
Who: Gore Elohim, a.k.a. Goretex, is probably best known for his work with hip hop crew Non Phixion, but solo, he’s a horrorcore artist who’s gearing up to release his second album, Electric Lucifer. Predictably, dude also loves metal: As commenter xHektik420x notes, “Lord of the Plagues” also references Possessed, St. Vitus, and Bestial Mockery. Also, he named himself Goretex, so of course he’s horrorcore.
Sample lyric: “Hearts freeze when I’m axing your chest like Paul Allen / Huey Lewis, background all static / Hash ‘em on two medallions / Infamy, winter corpse paint like Euronimus / Killer purple fatigues, Brittany Murphy coffin, we droppin’ it”
Who: It should be no surprise that Tech N9ne collaborated with Serj Tankian—he has plenty in common with contemporary metal. (He even has a Deftones-esque goatee.) His video for “Am I A Psycho” is a mini horror flick in itself, with Tech N9ne holding a couple hostage while terrorizing them in a Greek Tragedy mask. Sophocles and Aeschylus would be stoked, y’all.
Sample lyric: “Maybe she never let a fine nigga stare at her breasts, and get vexed, so N9NE bit her neck / Open! I try to contain it but that bang thang’s soakin’ / Alter ego say why you let them gang bang folk in.”
Who: The seminal Detroit rapper who notoriously influenced Eminem. While he was often called “acid rap”—a ruse for horrorcore, just as Necro’s “death rap” was—he produced fire-and-brimstone music that had a less-than-hidden affinity to devil-worshipping rock. Most notably, though, was his influence on ICP’s Psychopathic Records, who’d sign him based off his horrific early work, like “Kill the Fetus,” which balanced the sunny topics of suicide and self-administered abortions.
Sample lyric: “Jam a hanger in ya asshole until your water break / You better use some caution, Givin’ yourself an abortion / Death’s the only way to solve a suicide solution.”
Who: The most credible horrorcore rapper around. Why? Because he has a real-life horror story behind him. After being found wandering the streets covered in blood, it had been discovered that Lurch murdered his roommate and chewed up her body parts while on a PCP binge. No surprise: In “I Did it to You,” he listed his heroes as Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees (check out their own ), Jeffrey Dahmer, and Charles Manson.
Sample lyrics: “Killing for the simplest things, twenty dollar bills and even quarters / I’m like a vampire, nigga, fresh meat, I can’t pass it / Walking down the street with a seringe, injecting fools with battery acid / Leaving your mama singing the blues, nigga I’m bad news / I watch you sink to the bottom of the ocean wearing cement shoes.”