Insane Clown Posse's Violent J Picks 11 Horrorcore Classics
By Christopher R. Weingarten on October 28, 2011 11:29 AM
Violent J Picks 11 Horrorcore Classics
Halloween is obviously a very important time of year for the greasepainted gorehounds in the Insane Clown Posse. "Of course, it's the only day of the year where we seem to make sense," says Violent J. "We have a license to be us and not get as many stares and double takes. There is no holiday anything like Halloween. How is it OK to have a guy's head stuck to your fence? You go to the doctor's office, they got a Frankenstein with blood coming out of his head — really?"
Beyond their undying love for the haunted holiday, the duo always rocks Hallowicked, their annual October 31 homecoming show in Detroit, dousing their hometown faithful with gallons of sticky Faygo for 17 years running. To mark the occasion, we traded goodie bags with Violent J, avowed hip-hop geek and wicked shit historian, and learned about 11 of his favorite horrorcore classics, sure to juice your Halloween party playlist if you want something a little bloodier than Monster Mash. "Wicked shit, or horrorcore, is very near and dear to my heart, so I want to do it justice," says J. "These are 11 really bomb-ass horrorcore songs. They're not the best, they're not the most influential. They're 11 of my favorite, and that's it."
11. The Dayton Family – "What's On My Mind" (1995)
"Later in their career they went more toward gangster shit, more selling cocaine… but when they first came out in Flint they were straight wicked shit, straight horrorcore. Up in Flint, about an hour north of Detroit, I'd be bringing our cassettes up there to put 'em on consignment in record stores. I'd go up there and ask, 'What do you have locally from Flint?' The Dayton Family was sold behind the glass, under the counter. It was like, this shit is the hottest shit in Flint. It's so hot, it's hard to keep your hands on it. It's magic. They had an EP album, about five songs, and it's called What's on My Mind? What I ended up doing was trade the guy $150 worth of ICP cassettes and CDs for this one EP he had under the glass. He had one EP left and it was sold out everywhere. I remember putting it on on the way home and there it was, What's on my mind is the muthafuckin murder. And it's just so ruthless! The beat is so haunting and heavy, and they were singing straight wicked shit. I fell in love with it on that hour drive home. Of course they reprinted it on CD and years later now they're on Psychopathic Records, yo. They were just magic to me, man."
10. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – "Mr. Ouija" (1994)
"Next on my list are guys that many people don't consider horrorcore at all, but their first record is easily what I consider horrorcore. It was their EP. And before that they had an album called Faces of Death and it was all horrorcore. They did like a chant, almost like a Motown, harmonics, falsetto-type singing skit and under it is some wind blowing, and it's this long song where all of them are singing in harmony, and they're singing about the fuckin' Ouija board, you know what I mean? Of course later they became huge famous and stopped doing the wicked shit, but I'll always love 'Ouija.' "
9. Boondox – "They Pray With Snakes" (2006)
"He's from Covington, Georgia. I discovered him on a demo he sent in. He had a super Southern twang to his throat and he raps about being the scarecrow from the middle of nowhere, you know? Instead of coming from the city or coming from the 'hood he comes from the boonies. He comes from the barn, Texas Chainsaw Massacre style, you know, or Wrong Turn, style. And for people from the city, that shit's scary, you know? So, I don't know if you saw a documentary about this, but way down in the South they have these crazy churches where they pray with snakes. They bring the snakes into the church-house and they put snakes all over their body and they're praying and they're speaking in tongues with snakes crawling all over them and shit… I drove down to Atlanta in a van with two of my camera guys from our company and we shot this video and I directed it. We were knee-deep in the swamp."
8. Dark Lotus – "During An Eclipse" (2008)
"It's ICP, Twiztid, and Blaze. The chorus goes, 'during an eclipse better move fast the gates are open.' The gates to what? I don't know. But we just found it funny. When an eclipse is happening, the gates to beyond are open, man. We released a special album of Opaque Brotherhood with three bonus songs, and 'During an Eclipse' was one, so most people don't even know about the song. We should've put this on the albumalbum! Maybe the fact that it's obscure adds to its freshness, you know what I mean?"
7. Twiztid ft. The R.O.C. – "Murder, Murder, Murder" (1997)
"They're masters of the craft. I could fill 30 lists with just Twiztid. 'Murder, Murder, Murder' is one of the earliest Twiztid songs. When we do horrorcore we dive into the character of a certain person and we tell the story through their eyes, you know? Like if Jamie's verse is talking about his wife cheating on him, he comes home and he kills her. Now he's not doing this rap as Jamie Madrox, he's telling the story through the mind of this killer. That confuses a lot of people. 'Cause I rap about being a drunk and I have a low-end job and no education and I'm full of stress and I come home and beat my wife up, you know? And what I'm doing is trying to tell a story about some guy living in the Midwest, but I'm not telling that as Violent J. 'Murder Murder Murder' is a well-done song doing that formula… Somebody will use our records and don't have any idea about what we're about or anything, and they listen to it and totally miss the boat. How would a major magazine or newspaper have somebody review our music that doesn't know anything about our type of music? That's like having me review a classical piano album. I don't know how good it is, I'll tell you it sucks because I don't listen to that shit. Why don't you get a Juggalo to review our record?"
6. Necro – "Billie Jean 2005" (2005)
"It's a Michael Jackson diss. I found it online. I don't know if this ever came out on CD, but he murdersMichael Jackson! He murders Michael Jackson for being a pedophile. And I love Michael Jackson. And Necro just destroys Michael Jackson, man [laughs]. And I can't help but appreciate it. It's really, really heavy, and he just goes after Michael Jackson from the gut and there's no turning back. If horrorcore is meant to shock and surprise then he served up a masterpiece. I love Michael Jackson. I don't agree with what Necro's saying, but I love what he's saying. I love the art, the passion, the anger. The fuckin' anger! You know I don't feel the same as him. It's like when you're looking at a painting: I appreciate the colors and everything about it, even though I'm not actually feeling what it's about."
5. Esham – "My Last Words" (1992)
"He's the one who influenced us in Detroit. If I were to make a list of the top 10 most influential songs he'd be on there four or five times. From day one in 1990 to current day he is just one of the most slept-on and underrated artists. Right now, his last couple albums have been all about hating us to death. He even has a song about killing me on Halloween [laughs], but despite that I gotta give it up to him as an artist… To be honest with you, brother, we were friends. We were tight. All the way up until the Gathering two years ago. We both love Ice Cube, and he came to the Gathering that year. I put Esham on right before Ice Cube went on in hopes that he'd see Esham perform. Then at the Gathering one of his friends walked up to me and said I want to be the first to give you this. And I looked at it. And it had a clown on the cover with a gun to his head, and I was like, "What is this?" I didn't even know he had anything coming out. And I started looking for him and Esham was gone. Then I went into the back and played it, and it was just a total dis album. And we were hanging out with the guy every day! How can we ever hang out again? I didn't know you felt that way about us. You know, you'd hang out with us during the day then you go home and write that shit? That's insane, you know. So, we're not talking. And I've known him all my life. But like they say, man, geniuses are also lunatics. But I'll still give it up for 'My Last Words.' "
4. Project Born ft. Insane Clown Posse – "Graveyard" (1995)
"It's a classic. To be honest, we're on the third verse, but it's their song. They kind of strayed away from the wicked shit after their first release, they started getting more into gangster rap and what everyone else was doing. Now in their most recent records they're going back to the wicked shit again, because that's where most of their memorable shit came from. We're still friends with them to this day."
3. Blaze Ya Dead Homie – "Casket" (2001)
"His character is so awesome. A lot of time horrorcore is a lot like wrestling [laughs] we've all got gimmicks, and characters we use and portray the stories through them. It's like Gene Simmons was the KISS demon. He actually looked like a demon, but he never wrote songs about actually being a demon, and that's where we take it a step further. Blaze was a gangster who was killed in the late '80s/early '90s, and he's got a clock around his neck because that was popular back then, but the clock has a bullet right in the middle of it. And now he's back from the dead as a zombie. All his music is reminiscent of the gangster rap from the late '80s/early '90s, I'm talking N.W.A, I'm talking beats like Paris. Hard bounce-claps, Parliament samples and hard gangster shit. When he handed us this first batch of songs, it was there, and it was like a classic, you know? Blaze is one of the greats, man. He's real tall and he gets on that stage with this deep, heavy voice, and he's a zombie king, you know?"
2. Michael Jackson – "Thriller" (1982)
"Check it out. This man got Vincent Price on that shit, right? If Vincent Price were alive today, and if Twiztid or us were to get Vincent Price on a record, we'd be the shit for that. And yeah he did the family-friendly style and kind of corny, but then again it was 1982 when he did that fuckin' song, you know what I mean? 'Thriller,' man. I mean, he's got zombies dancing on that song. We've got songs exactly like that… the only difference is we're cussing in that shit. But that was so ruthless at the time that he even put that thing at the beginning of it saying, 'due to my strong beliefs, this is not what I believe in,' and all that, you know? Was that the first wicked shit ever? Who knows, man! I remember being a little kid and I was scared. My kids are scared right now watching the video."
1. Geto Boys – "Assassins" (1988)
"To my knowledge this is hands down the first horrorcore song. To my studies this is the first time anybody ever spit the wicked shit. You look at the Geto Boys now and you've got Willie D, Scarface, and Bushwick Bill. Well these Geto Boys who did 'Assassins' was the original Geto Boys. I think Bushwick was in the group, but it was two other guys. But brother, they had the album out and 'Assassins' was the only song on the record like that. Everything else was pretty much standard, what was going on at that time, but 'Assassins' came on 'I heard the demon screaming as his body bled' and all that shit. Nobody, NOBODYwas talking like that. Shit, this is even before NWA was even doing their thing. They came out with 'Assassins,' talking about chasing someone with a chainsaw, and 'My father was a priest, cold-blooded he's dead, hypocrite I caught him basin' so I shot him in the head.' Just the craziest shit, man! Whoever those two dudes are who wrote that shit with Bushwick, they have no idea what they pioneered. It all leads back, technically and officially, to the Geto Boys, and the song 'Assassins.' I was 15. It totally changed my life. It totally rocked my world. The feeling I had, I wanted other people to feel that through my music. I want them to stand back and be like, 'Are they crazy? What are they like? Who could say that shit and then go home and be normal?' All that shit. Just so cool, so awesome, man. I love the wicked shit. I love it, I love it, I love it!"
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