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Horrorcore

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This isn't the climax of the latest Stephen King book or Jason, part 17.

"I'm gonna slice and dice cause murder's my vice. I'll stab you once, twice maybe even thrice. Carve initials in your liver. Make you quiver, deliver. Yeah, that'd be nice. I'll dissect your heart. Rip your entrails apart. Hack off your head. And that's just the start."
L.I.F.E. Long
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Horrorcore rap music is essentially Gangsta Rap meets Horror Tropes, with a touch of bloodthirsty metal for good measure. Musically, they're basically "what if you rapped Death Metal lyrics?" The production style usually also favors dark and often dissonant textures, as well as horror movie samples. Rock and metal guitar samples are also common, while many Soundcloud horrorcore artists from the 2010s were more rooted in trap and mixed in elements of nu metal and extreme metal.

There's dispute over where the genre originated, but it's agreed that the Geto Boys, Ganksta N-I-P, Brotha Lynch Hung and Insane Poetry were the forebears of the genre. Horrorcore is more or less gangsta rap turned up to 11. Expect subject matter to cover cannibalism, rape, torture, infanticide, occultism, necrophilia and other horrible things For the Evulz. However, it's common for horrorcore to have a strong social conscience, often incorporating elements of Christian redemption, portraying the protagonists as Dark Shepherds, or allegorising the misery of being a criminal, drug addict, or victim of injustice. Due to horrorcore allowing protagonists to be irredeemable and often fantastical, it avoids the Do Not Do This Cool Thing problem that has been known to occur with Gangsta Rap. It also allows it to be much funnier than conventional gangsta rap, with quite a lot of the genre aiming to be satirical and cartoonish as much as it is scary.

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In the 2010s, this split into two main strains. The dominant style from 2009-2013 was a lyrical shock-rap style based around describing the most extreme, sensationalist, and darkly comedic scenarios possible, often with exploitative celebrity namedrops, explicit drug use, Rap Rock elements, and political incorrectness used for shock value, a style popularised by Eminem's 2009 Cult Classic Relapse and the early work of OFWGKTA. From 2014, this fell out of favor for the "SoundCloud horrorcore" or "Memphis horrorcore" style influenced by early Three 6 Mafia and popularised by SpaceGhostPurrp - a less lyrical, more lo-fi and 'vibe'-driven style frequently mixed with Emo Rap, as best exemplified by $UICIDEBOY$ and Ghostemane.

While horrorcore artists can and do come from anywhere, the genre is generally associated with Memphis and the Midwest — in particular Detroit, one of the only rap scenes in America where the horrorcore style is so dominant that most emcees will at least dabble in it. The reason for Detroit's love of horrorcore is complex and related to Detroit's unique combination of racial segregation and urban decay, but can be traced back to the influence of Esham, who pioneered the idea of "acid rap" alter egos (meant to reflect Higher Understanding Through Drugs + Go Mad from the Revelation), and to Insane Clown Posse, who invested a lot of money and time into nurturing the local hip-hop scene to the extent that their mythology became widely adopted.

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Could be said to be to Hardcore Hip Hop what Death Metal is to Thrash Metal. See also Gangsta Rap. The Memphis horrorcore style (popularized by Three Six Mafia) also wound up being a major influence on Crunk, mostly through its signature aggressive, insistent, and repetitive synth lines.


Artists in the genre include:

  • Anybody Killa
  • Argento (Ардженто) (Russia)
  • Axe Murder Boyz
  • BobENite: Evil Sounds Deep Averted.
  • Bad Meets Evil
  • Big Hoodoo
  • Big L: Trope Codifier, according to Wikipedia. Highlights include his first single Devil's Son.
    Wikipedia: Big L (...) is known for helping to pioneer horrorcore.
  • Big Pun: Mostly on his album "Capital Punishment".
  • Brotha Lynch Hung
  • Bone Thugs-n-Harmony: Early works from the rap group.
  • Bloodshot
  • Blaze Ya Dead Homie
  • Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
  • Boondox
  • Butchers' Harem (Australia)note 
  • Cage
  • Cannibal Carib
  • Chapa Blasfemo (Mexico)
  • Chuckklez
  • Claas
  • clipping. (depending on the album, but There Existed an Addiction to Blood and its follow-up Visions of Bodies Being Burned are absolutely horrorcore releases)
  • City Morgue (also Trap Music, Nu Metal and Hardcore Punk)
  • Con Crete
  • Corpse Circus: Parody the genre
  • D12
  • Dark Half
  • Dark Lotus
  • Delusional Thomas. A character created by Mac Miller who released one self-titled mixtape.
  • Death Grips
  • Denzel Curry (in his darker tracks, such as "VENGEANCE" and "Psycho"; normally Gangsta Rap, Trap Music and Hardcore Hip Hop)
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - no, seriously. Two of their early tracks ("Nightmare On My Street" and "Then She Bit Me") were among the earliest examples of horrorcore, though not as gruesome as other rappers would take it.
  • DMX on his first two albums, before shifting away from the style on his third album.
  • Donnie Menace
  • Dope D.O.D. (mixed with grime, Drum and Bass and dubstep)
  • Eazy-E, in some tracks from the album "Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton".
  • Eminem note . He's significant as one of few horrorcore artists to fuse the style with mainstream, commercial pop — in part because of his skin color, in part because his approach to the genre is primarily comic, with a Subverted Kids' Show aesthetic. His conceit of having an evil alter ego, Slim Shady, allows him to move easily between making violent and offensive songs as Slim, then drop the act to make more serious (and radio friendly) material.
  • Esham
  • Evil Pimp
  • Flatlinerz
  • F-Dux
  • Ganksta N-I-P: Believed to have created it.
  • Geto Boys: Pioneered this style.
  • Ghostemane: Inspired by Bathory, he got his start in hardcore and doom metal bands.
  • Gravediggaz, featured as the page image.
  • Grewsum
  • Grimm Real (the side project of Mike Smith of Suffocation fame, only released one long out-of-print mixtape, but Smith has stated that he intends to revive the project)
  • Heaven (Russia)
  • Hirntot Posse (Germany) (style often referred to as "Psychokore".)
  • Ho99o9 (mixed with Hardcore Punk and Industrial Hip Hop)
  • Hopsin
  • House Of Krazees
    • ROC, as a solo rapper and as a member of the above group
    • Twiztid is a duo formed out of the other two guys from House of Krazees
  • Redman, a primary influence on Eminem above.
  • Ill Bill (older brother of Necro)
  • Insane Clown Posse
  • Insane Poetry
  • JakProgresso (aka Jak Tripper): . The most prolific artist in the genre by a long shot. note  He's also one of the only prominent horrorcore battle rappers currently active. (And, supposedly, was battling before the other prominent horrorcore battle rapper mentioned on this page.)
  • Jedi Mind Tricks
  • The J. Hexx Project
  • Kannibalistik
  • KGP
  • King Gordy
  • Kid Crusher (Australia)
  • K.I.Z (Germany)
  • Komatose
  • Kool Keith (claims to have invented it; in any case, the Dr. Dooom persona absolutely qualifies)
  • Krucifix Klan
  • Lil Ugly Mane, whose work is essentially one long tribute to Triple 6 Mafia.
  • LoKey
  • Lord Tagman (Brazil)
  • Mars
  • MC Basstard (Germany)
  • MC Bushpig (Australia)
  • MC Frank Hatchett
  • MC Val (Ukraine)
  • Natas
  • Necro
  • NWA protege The D.O.C.'s Helter Skelter album.
  • OFWGKTA sometimes shows hints of this, particularly on the early releases from Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, although they deny this constantly. Later releases from Tyler (Wolf and onwards) and Earl (Doris and onwards) abandoned horrorcore elements entirely.
  • Prozak
  • Psych Ward (Canada)
  • Raider Klan
  • Razakel
  • Razor Ruckus
  • Reverend Fang Gory
  • Rozz Dyliams
  • Scum
  • Shy One
  • Sicktanick
  • $INNER$ (South Africa, side project of Duncan Bentley and Chris van der Walt plus Duncan's fiancee)
  • Skabbibal (Russia)
  • Smallz One
  • Sodoma Gomora (Czech Republic)
  • SpaceGhostPurrp
  • Stitch Mouth: Deep South Horrorcore.
  • $UICIDEBOY$
  • Sutter Kain (alter ego of DJ Bless, who incorporates Rap Metal into his songs, which he dubs "Ghetto Metal)
  • Syko Sam, who released an EP called I Kill People For Real... and proceeded to do just that, murdering four people in Farmville, Virginia.
  • Symen Haze (Germany)
  • TechN9ne
  • The D.O.C. recorded a horrorcore album called Helter Skelter, making use out of his mutilated voice box.
  • Three 6 Mafia's underground work when they were called Triple 6 Mafia.
  • Tink Da Demon: The prime example of the genre's elements being incorporated into battle rap. Rather infamously had a prison sentence (unlawfully) extended due to the judge in charge of his case coming across footage of one of his battles.
  • Tommy Wright III
  • Tupac Shakur: While much of his output always had a dark undercurrent, it wasn't until his signing to Death Row that he began flirting with horrorcore elements.
  • Ware-Wolff, or just simply "Wolff".
  • X-Raided, whose lyrics were used to convict him of first-degree murder.

Record labels centered around this genre:

  • Psychopathic Records
  • Lyrikal Snuff Productions
  • Serial Killin Records
  • Slaughtercore Entertainment
  • Prone Records
  • Murder House Records
  • Hirntot Records
  • 666 Kartell Records

Horrorcore often provides examples of the following tropes:


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