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What is Horrorcore?

Simply put, horrorcore is a sub-genre of hip hop with lyrics and imagery that focus on the darker side of things — death, mental illness, the supernatural, etc. Think of horror films in audio format…

The term “horrorcore” wasn’t officially coined until 1994 when groups like the Gravediggaz, which featured the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, and the Flatlinerz, a group including the nephew of legendary hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, began getting more mainstream exposure. The origin of the sub-genre can be argued until your blue in the face, however.

Whether you believe it was the Geto Boys who were the first to take the rap genre into darker territory or even credit The Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, along with DJ Jazzy Jeff and their track entitled “A Nightmare on My Street” or the Fat Boys’ similarly-themed Nightmare on Elm Street tune, “Are You Ready for Freddy,” there is no denying that this type of music has been around for at least three decades.

Detroit MC, Esham, called his take on this gritty new style Acid Rap or more simply, “The Wicked Shit;” Los Angeles, CA rap group, Insane Poetry, called it their “Terrifying Style;” Brotha Lynch Hung dubbed his version “Tha Siccness,” while Ganksta NIP had his “Psycho Rap” perfected and NY rapper, Necro, was introducing everyone to “Death Rap.”

Whatever you want to refer to it as is up to you, but to all of us long-time fans, horrorcore will forever be the go-to genre and, to some, the only one that matters.