Horrorcore is easily one of the scariest hip-hop subgenres of all time. Described as horror-themed raps, most categorically “horrorcore” acts these days are just labeled extremely weird or utterly terrifying (shout out to Waka Flocka Flame). The game’s done changed, but just in time for Halloween, a trip down memory lane is very necessary. While some of these demons on the mic have faded into obscurity, others are still on the rise. No matter who they are or what they’ve done, they’re still f***ing scary in their own special ways.
RZA led the charge on these forefathers of horrorcore. Gravediggaz recorded songs titled “Diary of a Madman,” “1-800-Suicide,” “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide” and they all sound like total horror flicks (in title and music). As self-fulfilling prophecy would have it, this group dug their own graves by coming off like one trick ponies and their whole schtick deflated. Oh well.
Russell Simmons‘ nephew, nicknamed “Redrum,” founded the collective Flatlinerz. Along with the Diggaz, the Linerz basically made the horrorcore scene a thing. Their album didn’t sell, partially because MTV banned their videos and Def Jam dropped them. No one could take horrorcore seriously at the time, so the group flatlined.
3. Insane Clown Posse
Who’s scarier: ICP or the Juggalos? The world may never know. These Faygo-guzzling wicked clowns continue to gather their circus-painted posses by the thousands. White guys with dreadlocks, long painted nails, hard-core Detroit roots…hell, we’re scared by their whole aesthetic–even before we get to their really creepy lyrics.
Going by an abridged version of “necrophiliac” is enough to make you a whole city on the horrorcore map. Necro coined the term “death rap” to describe his sound, a mixture of hard-core rap, death metal, pornography, pulp fiction, gore and everything in between. While horrorcore has subsided, Necro’s reign of terror lives on.
5. Tech N9ne
Tech N9ne founded Strange Music more than a decade ago and made it his mission to live up to the name. Groups like Grave Plott and Deadman passed through the doors, but none have embodied the complete scare factor Tech N9ne possesses. From his hip-hop interpretation of a Fu Manchu, coupled with face paint and howling rhymes, Tech still delivers the fright.
6. Tyler, The Creator
Despite being a horror-come-lately crew, the Odd Future crew still carries the horror torch. So we’re adding their gruff-voiced ringleader Tyler to this list. Ever since the original “Yonkers” video, where he eats a bug and hangs himself at the end, Tyler has been the poster child for scary imagery. His album is called Goblin for crying out loud. Need more substantiation? Watch Earl Sweatshirt’s video for “Earl,” where Tyler is foaming at the mouth faking a seizure.