Boomin' Words from Hell

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Boomin' Words From Hell
Esham - Boomin' Words from Hell.jpg
Studio album by Esham
Released 1989
1990 (reissue)
2015 (remastered reissue)
Genre Horrorcore, Midwest Hip Hop
Length 52:50
Label Reel Life Productions
Producer Esham
Esham chronology
Boomin' Words From Hell
Judgement Day
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Rap Reviews 7.5/10 stars[2]

Boomin' Words from Hell is the debut album of Esham. It was first released in 1989, and was reissued the following year.


Boomin' Words from Hell was recorded in one day.[3]

Lyrical themes[edit]

The lyrics of Boomin' Words from Hell developed from the turmoil of Detroit at the time, including the era's rise in crack use. According to Smith, "It was all an expression about ['70s-'80s drug cartel] Young Boys Incorporated, Mayor Coleman Young, the city we lived in and just the turmoil that our city was going through at the time. We referred to the streets of Detroit as 'Hell' on that record. So that's where my ideas came from."[4]


Boomin' Words from Hell was first issued in 1989.[5] At the time, Smith was 16 years old.[1][4] It was promoted via word of mouth.[3] Following the album's initial release, the album was reissued with an alternate track listing and artwork in 1990. Word After Word was also censored in the second half of the line, "I'm not an atheist / But what has god done for me?" [5] Esham is releasing a 25th anniversary reissue of Boomin' Words from hell containing both songs from the original release as well as the 1990 reissue on Friday, February 13, 2015.[6]


According to Smith, the album's lyrical content was so dark that it was the subject of many rumors:

"People got the first album, and they would just make up stories. They'd get into an accident and be like, 'I got into an accident because I was playing that tape.' It wasn't like we helped ourselves when we described what was in people's heads. It wasn't to shock people, though, but to get people involved in what we were doing. We had to get peoples' attention. [...] We said a lot of things that people wanted to say but didn't say. We talked about a lot of political and social [issues] that people didn't want to talk about."[4]

Esham found it difficult to develop a fanbase, because many wrote off the dark content of his lyrics and imagery as shock value, while hip hop fans did not connect to the album because of Smith's heavy metal influences.[4] In All Music Guide to Hip-Hop Jason Birchmeier writes that "Many of the songs here are fairly mediocre relative to Esham's later work, but there are a few gems here that foreshadow his subsequent work."[1] Rap Reviews reviewer John-Michael Bond wrote that "the fully realized darkness that surrounds both soundtrack and verses on Boomin Words... stands as a stark reminder that just because someone's a kid doesn't mean he can't have anything to say."[2]

Track listing[edit]


  • Esham – programming, production, engineering, mastering
  • Mike E. Clark - engineering, keyboards
  • Reginal Nelton – executive producer
  • Greg Reilly – mastering
  • James H. Smith – executive producer


  1. ^ a b c "Esham". All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip-hop. Backbeat Books. 2003. pp. 160–163. ISBN 0-87930-759-5. 
  2. ^ a b Bond, John-Michael (September 22, 2009). "Review of Boomin' Words from Hell". Rap Reviews. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  3. ^ a b Death of an Indie Label - Part 2 of 5 - Esham Shockumentary. Event occurs at 4:21. 
  4. ^ a b c d Ketchum III, William E. (October 15, 2008). "Mayor Esham? What?". Detroit, Michigan: Metro Times. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  5. ^ a b Smith, Esham A. "Discography". Reel Life Productions. Archived from the original on 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  6. ^ ScottieD. "ESHAM to release remastered "Boomin' Words from Hell" on Friday, 2/13". Retrieved February 5, 2015.