|Stylistic origins||Hip hop, hardcore hip hop, rap rock, gangsta rap, rapcore|
|Cultural origins||1980s, United States|
|Typical instruments||Rapping, drum machine, turntables, sampler, keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, bass|
- Not to be confused with Terrorcore.
Horrorcore is a subgenre of hip hop music based in horror-themed lyrical content and imagery. Its origins derived from hardcore and gangsta rap artists such as the Geto Boys, who pushed the violent content of their raps further than most artists in the genre, as well as describing supernatural themes. The term "horrorcore" was popularized by openly horror-influenced hip hop groups such as Flatlinerz and Gravediggaz.
The stylistic origins of horrorcore can be traced to the Geto Boys, whose debut album, Making Trouble, contains the dark and violent horror-influenced track "Assassins", which was cited by Joseph Bruce (Violent J of the horrorcore group Insane Clown Posse) in his book Behind The Paint, as the first horrorcore rap. Bruce says that the Geto Boys continued to pioneer the style with their second release, Grip It! On That Other Level, with songs such as "Mind of a Lunatic" and "Trigga-Happy Nigga". Ganksta N-I-P's debut album, The South Park Psycho (1992), includes the song "Horror Movie Rap" which samples the soundtrack from the 1978 film Halloween. Big L's debut single "Devil's Son" (1993) is considered horrorcore. The group Insane Poetry, on their debut Grim Reality (1992), and Esham, with Boomin' Words from Hell (1989), both incorporated horror imagery with their lyrics. Kool Keith claims to have "invented horrorcore". According to Icons of Hip Hop, "there is much debate over who coined the term horrorcore," but the word gained prominence in 1994 with the release of Flatlinerz' U.S.A. (Under Satan's Authority) and Gravediggaz' Niggamortis (released in the U.S. as 6 Feet Deep). 
The genre is not popular with mainstream audiences as a whole; however, performers such as Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid have sold well. The genre has thrived in Internet culture and sustains an annual "supershow" in Detroit called "Wickedstock". Every Halloween since 2003, Horrorcore artists worldwide get together online and release a free compilation titled "devilz nite".[dead link] According to the January 2004 BBC documentary Underground USA, the subgenre "has a massive following across the US" and "is spreading to Europe". Rolling Stone in 2007 referred to it as a "short-lived trend" that "generated more shlock than shock." New York Magazine put horrorcore in the spotlight by listing off the ten most horrifying horrorcore rappers. Spin asked Violent J of Insane Clown Posse to list off his favorite horrorcore songs. Songs included, The Dayton Family's "What's On My Mind", Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Mr. Ouija", Necro's "Billie Jean 2005", and Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
Horrorcore defines a style of hip hop music that focuses primarily around horror-influenced topics that can include satanism, self-harm, cannibalism, suicide and murder. The lyrics are often inspired by horror movies over moody, hardcore beats. According to rapper Mars, "If you take Stephen King or Wes Craven and you throw them on a rap beat, that's who I am." Horrorcore was described by Entertainment Weekly in 1995 as a "blend of hardcore rap and bloodthirsty metal." The lyrical content of horrorcore is sometimes described as being similar to that of death metal, and some have referred to the genre as death rap. Horrorcore artists often feature dark imagery in their music videos and base musical elements of songs upon horror film scores.
- Blaze Ya Dead Homie
- Brotha Lynch Hung
- D12 and Eminem 
- Esham and Natas
- Ganksta N-I-P
- Insane Clown Posse
- Insane Poetry
- King Gordy
- Kool Keith
- Kung Fu Vampire
- Tech N9ne
- Three 6 Mafia
- Bruce, Joseph; Hobey Echlin (August 2003). "The Dark Carnival". In Nathan Fostey. ICP: Behind the Paint (second ed.). Royal Oak, Michigan: Psychopathic Records. pp. 174–185. ISBN 0-9741846-0-8.
- Hess, Danielle (2007). "Hip Hop and Horror". In Hess, Mickey. Icons of Hip Hop. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 369. ISBN 0-313-33903-1.
- Hess, Mickey (2007). "The Rap Persona". Is Hip Hop Dead?. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 72–73. ISBN 0-275-99461-9.
- "Fright Night". Vibe. November 2004. p. 74.
- Cordor, Cyril. "Biography of Insane Poetry". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
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- Passantino, Dom. (07 Jan 2005) Top ten Hip-Hop gimmicks of all time Stylus Magazine. Accessed November 4, 2007.
- Fernando Jr., S.H. (September 18, 2007) The Pick, The Sickle & The Shovel Rolling Stone Accessed November 4, 2007. (archived
- Gravediggaz star loses cancer battle. NME (16 July 2001) Accessed November 4, 2007.
- Underground USA BBC. Accessed November 4, 2007
- Fernando Jr., S.H. (September 18 2007) The Pick, the Sickle & the Shovel Rolling Stone Accessed November 4 2007.
- Fennessey, Sean. "The Ten Most Horrifying Horrorcore Rappers". Vulture. New York. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- Schultz, Christopher. "Insane Clown Posse's Violent J Picks 11 Horrorcore Classics". Spin. Buzz Media. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- Meyer, Frank. (2004-10-28) Frankly Speaking: Halloween Horror-core Hip Hop g4tv. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- Darcy, Pohland. (May 19, 2005) The dark world Of Horrorcore music WCCO-TV. Accessed November 4, 2007.
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- Detroit's scariest Rap music /
- Cordor, Cyril. "Blaze Ya Dead Homie > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- Macias, Chris. (December 5, 2006). The king of gore, Brotha Lynch reigns over local hip-hop movement The Sacramento Bee. Accessed November 29, 2007.
- Faraone, Chris (November 30, 2007). "Shia LaBeouf: Horror-Core MC? Transformers star hopes to play indie rapper Cage in biopic". Spin. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- Montgomery, James (May 18, 2009). "Shia LaBeouf-Directed Video Puts Cage's Dark Hip-Hop On The Map". MTV News. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
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- Cohen, Sara (2007). Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music Culture: Beyond The Beatles. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 52. ISBN 0-7546-3243-1. "The music journalist and author Dan Sicko describes certain strains of Detroit hip-hop as 'an extreme, almost parodied' version of inner city life, which he links to the extremities of urban decline in the city: 'both the horrorcore of hip-hop outfits such as Insane Clown Posse, Esham and (to a lesser extent) the multi-platinum-selling Eminem, utilize shocking (and blatantly over the top) narratives to give an over-exaggerated, almost cartoon-like version of urban deprivation in Detroit' (cited in Cohen and Strachan, 2005)."
- Hernandez, Pedro. "Review of N of Tha World". Rap Reviews. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Righi, Len. (9 April 2007) King Gordy keeps up lighting up the dark Pop Matters. Accessed November 4, 2007.
- Hit Horrorcore Rapper Kung Fu Vampire to Guest on The Jimmy Star Show Radio Show October 27 2010 | PRLog
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- McKinney, Devin. (2004-09-14) Real horror show The American Prospect. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- Varine, Patrick (October 26, 2009). "Album review: 'K.O.D.,' by Tech N9ne'". The Country Gazette. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- 10 Horrifying Horrorcore Rappers - Vulture
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