Take a look at some of the most twisted, horrific and cringeworthy moments in hip-hop history.
It’s Halloween, and while some might see the holiday as an opportunity to dress up, dress down, and indulge in guilt-free candy, others may be seeking a darker alternative. Halloween, and October in general, have become synonymous with horror, and even those who generally avoid the genre tend to make an exception or two. For some, that means turning the lights off and soaking in a terrifying film classic, like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the ever-appropriate Halloween. For the more adventurous types, Halloween thrills might include indulging in some substances and exploring an archetypal spot, such as an abandoned asylum or the classic “woods at night.”
For others, October is the time to listen to some fucked-up, disturbing, horrific music. And as it happens, there are few genres as violent, expressive, and visceral as hip-hop. While the outsider stereotype often falls along the ignorant lines of “rap promotes violence,” and various other platitudes of that nature, there is in fact a dark underworld of music driven by the macabre, in which violence is not only promoted, but celebrated. It must be said, however, that as with any form of artistic expression, the onus is on the listener to refrain from emulating the content of their favorite song. Yet some rappers have made an art form out of the horrific, depicting such acts as murder, senseless violence, and self-harm with shocking clarity.
Needless to say, researching this topic took me down some dark roads. But, as a proud horror fan, it felt necessary to explore the topic of hip-hop’s most disturbing songs. Doubtless to say, I surely overlooked a few choice cuts, but I’ll leave that for ya’ll to remedy. Because surely, over the course of your hip-hop listening careers, you’ve encountered a song that made you wince, or cringe, or even look over your shoulder. And if you haven’t, maybe you aren’t looking hard enough.
15. DMX - Bring Your Whole Crew
While this Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood track goes undeniably hard, it contains one of the most disturbing opening stanzas ever put on wax. “I got I got blood on my hands and there's no remorse, and got blood on my dick cause I fucked a corpse.” DMX, forever immortalized as hip-hop’s most vocal lyrical necrophiliac. Throw in an onslaught of violent and brutal lyricism, and “Bring Your Whole Crew” makes for an easy entry into the list, albeit in a periphery spot. While It's Dark And Hell Is Hot's "X Is Coming" and "Damien" might have made for viable alternate suggestions, consider the Flesh Of My Flesh album cover the next time you listen to this track, and ask yourself why DMX is actually drenched in blood.
14. Ill Bill - Anatomy Of A School Shooting
Ill Bill’s “Anatomy Of A School Shooting” has been accused of being celebratory of Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, and it’s not difficult to see why. Bill raps from the perspective of Harris, detailing his thought process as he prepares to massacre his classmates, and the insight Bill provides is eerily close to the actual tragedy. For anyone who might have experienced Columbine, or any bout of public gun violence, this track may hit close to home.
13. Royce Da 5’9” - Part Of Me
While “Part Of Me” isn’t as overtly violent as some of the other entries, Royce Da 5’9”s allows his tragic tale some breathing room. A master storyteller, he lures you into a false sense of security, weaving a narrative of a would-be player who finds himself tempted by the prospect of the ever-coveted threesome. Unfortunately for our doomed protagonist, his dreams will quickly become the stuff of nightmares. This “Twilight Zone” inspired cut is made all the more disturbing by the music video.
12. D12 - American Psycho
Honestly, Bizarre has way too many songs eligible for this list, including some that seemed too overtly reliant on shock value to merit inclusion. Still, his verse on D12’s “American Psycho” finds him at his most effective, half-mumbling horrific lyrics like “my girlfriend had a miscarriage, I had to eat it” (complete with a stomach turning ad-lid). When Devil’s Night dropped, this was the song that truly challenged the mettle of its young, impressionable core audience. Throw in some equally depraved verses from Eminem & Kon Artis, and you’re looking at lyrical horror at its best.
11. Notorious B.I.G - Suicidal Thoughts
Unlike the majority of its compatriots, Biggie’s “Suicidal Thoughts” features a glimpse into the disturbing inner turmoil of a suicidal mind. Big’s storytelling prowess is in full effect, and he spares no detail as he reflects on his darkest thoughts. Some of the most haunting sections arises when he wonders if his own mother even loves him, rapping “I know my mother wish she got a fuckin' abortion, she don't even love me like she did when I was younger.” It’s powerful stuff, made all the more disturbing by the sincerity of Big’s performance, and the brutal nature of his merciless self-analysis.
10. UGK - Pregnant Pussy
There’s no disputing that UGK are legends, but both Bun B and the late Pimp C were on some other shit with this one. “Pregnant Pussy” may very well stand as one of the most bizarre concepts of all time, as both rappers celebrate the “added benefits” of having sex with a pregnant woman. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bun B reflected on the infamous song, stating:
“I was 18 years old when I made that record, and it was probably one of the worst things I did when I was that age. I've said some crazy things, but, hopefully, I've outweighed that with positive, inspirational things. I would hate for anybody to be judged the rest of their life for what they did at 18, you know.”
9. NWA - One Less Bitch
The casual and cruel misogyny of N.W.A’s “One Less Bitch” would surely shatter the collective spirits of 2017 internet users if it had dropped today. Yet as it stands, N.W.A’s ode to murdering and prostituting troublesome women has been largely forgotten, swept under the rug as a blight in the legendary group’s discography. Dr. Dre's callous and depraved storytelling draws a bleak conclusion, and the fate that befalls poor “Clara” is among one of the most disturbing outcomes yet. Considering the ongoing controversy Dre soon found himself embroiled in, it's made all the more cringe-worthy.
8. Eminem - Stay Wide Awake
Relapse was largely understood to be a conceptual album, the product of recovering Eminem binge-watching horror films and losing himself in their twisted world. The result was an accented alter-ego who enjoyed disemboweling, raping, and terrorizing women. While the beat from Dr. Dre is undeniably hard, the lyrical content renders “Stay Wide Awake” a risky public listen. The second verse, in which Eminem channels the Clockwork Orange “Singing In The Rain” scene, is as haunting as they come.
7. Kool G Rap - Hey Mister Mister
Cut from the same cloth as NWA’s “One Less Bitch,” Kool G Rap’s ode to the violent lifestyle of pimpery stands out for its no-holds-barred brand of violence against women. Again, this track marks a darker side to a celebrated lyricist, and while his storytelling prowess is on full display, the subject matter is far too real. The final part of Kool G’s second verse is one of the most brutal blends of sexuality and violence ever put on wax, and it’s no surprise that the song has been branded the “most violent rap song of all time.”
6. Tech N9ne - Pinocchiho
This short track off Tech N9ne’s King Of Darkness album is probably the closest to overt horror we’ve come to encounter thus far. Employing a rapid-fire flow and uncomfortably bizzarre accent, Tech takes on the persona of a lonely, lustful cannibal, caught between a longing for human connection and the thrill of indulging his darker impulses. The story concludes with one of the most disgusting uses of sound effects in recent memory. Throw in some puppet imagery for good measure, and “Pinocchiho” is as creepy as its namesake.
5. Necro - Dead Body Disposal
It wouldn’t be a “disturbing songs” list without at least one appearance from Necro. Hell, the New York underground rapper could probably fill out all fifteen spots on his own. However, “Dead Body Disposal” stands out for its gore-laden attention to detail, and it almost makes you wonder if Necro has been applying the classic writer’s adage of “Write What You Know.” This is almost hilariously depraved, playing out like an unrated instructional video as Necro lovingly breaks down the finer points of getting away with murder.
4. Eminem - Kim
While Eminem has already earned himself a few spots on this list, it wouldn’t feel right to skip over the unforgettable experience that is Marshall Mathers LP’s “Kim.” One can only imagine what was going through Em’s mind when he rolled into the studio the night he recorded this track. The raw emotion that comes pouring out makes “Kim” one of Eminem’s most difficult songs to enjoy, and many feel divided about whether or not it stands among his best work. It’s certainly among his most powerful, though not necessarily in a good way; hearing him scream out “bleed bitch bleed” is enough to make even the most ardent Eminem fans wince.
3. Brother Lynch Hung - Meat Cleaver
This track is the epitome of lyrical grand guignol. Brother Lynch Hung’s “Meat Cleaver” is so gory it borders on cartoonish, with references to disembowelment, torture, cannibalism, necrophilia, murder, rape, and basically every sin known to mankind. Throw in a music video so violent it had to be prefaced with a warning from label Strange Music, who deemed the clip to “challenge acceptable standards with violent and grotesque imagery.” And coming from the twisted minds behind Strange Music, that’s saying quite a bit. Watch the video at your own peril; if this song were a horror movie, it would be more Cannibal Holocaust than I Know What You Did Last Summer.
2. Immortal Technique - Dance With The Devil
You all knew this one was coming. Immortal Technique’s classic cautionary tale has become so widely known that it’s impossible to avoid. At its core, the story plays out is a simple one - a young man, desperate to prove himself, resorts to the heinous act raping an innocent woman. I won’t reveal what happens next, but the final moments of “Dance With The Devil” are as disturbing as they come. Immortal Technique doesn’t even have to resort to gratuitous violence for the sake of shock value. Instead, he challenge our psychological limits, examining the brutal, unforgiving nihilism of Flannery O’Connor, or films like Oldboy and Requiem For A Dream. This one will stay with you long after it’s over.
1. Big Lurch - I Did It To You
Generally, when a rapper waxes poetic about all the grotesque and depraved manners in which he means to inflict bodily harm upon you, it’s all in the name of entertainment. While twisted, the narratives in these songs are meant to act as an escape, not unlike the most effective pieces of horror films and literature. Big Lurch’s “I Did It To You,” however, is the exception to the rule. In fact, the man behind this violent, horrific song is currently serving a life sentence in jail for the crimes of murder and cannibalism.
The wikipedia entry about Big Lurch details the gruesome nature of his crime, which you can check out below, if you’re feeling bold:
“An eyewitness reported that, when Singleton was picked up by police, he was naked, covered in blood, standing in the middle of the street, and staring at the sky. Neighbors reported hearing "thrashing sounds, followed by an argument, when Singleton said 'Tynisha, you're a sock', and from there was only screaming." A medical examination performed shortly after his capture found human flesh in his stomach that was not his own. The victim's boyfriend said she and the aspiring rapper used PCP the day before the alleged murder took place.”
This song was ultimately used in court, with the intention of showing a jury exactly what Lurch was capable of. As they say, sometimes the truth is indeed stranger than fiction.