Fear of a Rap Song

Last night was one of those restless, I-may-suffer-from-insomnia ordeals, the preface to a groggy morning and a pissy attitude during the morning commute. At around 1 in the morning, I threw my hands in the air as a form of surrender and rifled through my DVD collection. I figured, if I can’t fall asleep, I might as well enjoy myself. Pull a classic from the film archive and turn the bedroom into my very own Loews (Lying On Edge Without Sleep) cinema.

The selection process for what movie to screen was quick and painless—Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977), one of the greatest horror films ever made, and easily the iconic Italian filmmaker’s masterpiece. I won’t turn this post into Roger-Ebert-light with a long-winded explanation as to why the film is the truth; rather, I’m singling out the dizzying, Alice-in-Satan’s-Wonderland-sounding musical score, orchestrated by Italian crew Goblin. As a kid, Suspiria’s score scared the shit out of me, making the already-unsettling flick that much more effective. Years had gone by before the soundtrack’s greatness smacked my ears again; 2003, to be exact, when I copped Cage’s Weatherproof EP. The best record on that, “Weather People” (produced by RJD2), samples the Suspiria music to sick effect.

Watching Suspiria last night got me thinking, “What are some other rap songs that sample music from horror films?” Since the first time I saw the 1968’s Night of the Living Dead as a 9-year-old, I’ve been a horror fanatic. So much so that the brief run of “horrorcore” is a secretly-favorite era of mine. There’s no shame in loving Gravediggaz superior 6 Feet Deep album, of course, but there is a level of shame and guilt that coincides with buying the Flatlinerz’ U.S.A. (Under Satan’s Authority)—which I totally did, on its first day of release back in ‘94. This also explains why I’ve long considered Necro to be one of rap’s most slept-on producers; sure, his lyrics are more grating than a razorblade massage, but the guy is a beast behind the boards. Anybody who samples Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 is forever endeared.

In trying to think of some left-field blog topics, I think this one succeeds in that respect. Below are some memorable moments in hip-hop’s sampling of horror film scores over the years. If I’ve missed any notable ones, please drop them in the comments section so I can hang my head in brief shame.

And, for the record—I realize that most of these are East Coast made. I noticed in the comments following yesterday’s Real Live post that somebody accused this site of being East Coast biased. Well, I can only speak for myself here. I’m from Jersey, born and raised. MC Eiht and Souls of Mischief were favorites back in the day, but I’d be lying if I said that I’m not quicker to love some hardcore NYC shit. That’s not a bias; it’s a preference. Now, onto the horror samples….—Matt Barone

Cage – “Weather People” (samples Dario Argento’s Suspiria)


Dr. Dre ft. Hittman and Ms. Roq – “Murder Ink” (samples John Carpenter’s Halloween)

DMX – “Tales from the Darkside” (also samples from a different part of Carpenter’s Halloween score)


Circle of Tyrants (Necro, Ill Bill, Goretex, Mr. Hyde) – “Carnivores” (samples Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2; also includes a soundbite for The Shining)


Circle of Tyrants – “Theater of Creeps” (samples 1982’s awesome Creepshow)


Flatlinerz – “Live Evil” (samples the original The Omen)

The Fugees – “Ready or Not” (lifts from an Enya song used in Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers)

Pharoahe Monch – “Simon Says” (samples the theme music from the old-school Godzilla)

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • Silly Willy

    This is a dope drop, homie! Keep em comin!

  • Brahsef

    Man I wish horrorcore would have a serious comeback. Horror and rap are just meant to go together. And Em’s latest does not count, bleh.


  • SLimm

    Back to the horror core….C-Bo was the man!!! The Autopsy was that joint…Brotha Lynch, and Tech 9….Em is a good horror core rapper. And I’m from the South and these brothas put it down!!!!!

  • RiZob

    That was most likely me who pointed out the east coast bias you all have when putting these “list” together….I understand thats where you come/came from. But as a “journalist” *cough* you have a responsibility to rep for the larger audience that follows your work, not just the NYC heads…If you can’t or just dont want to do the proper homework on whatever project you puttin together, fall back and let someone with a broader perspective shine….real talk…

    • RiZob

      There’s noway possible this list could be made without listing Three 6 Mafia. DJ Paul and Juicy J been doin this horrorcore shit for DECADES now…smh…go listen to Mystic Stylez or some old Prophet Posse ish…. fuck it! you can listen to they last album they keep some scary movie shit for that ass…SMH…

      • yoprince

        name a song where Three 6 sampled from a horror project and then you have a point..

        • ceep

          dj paul – hi i’m chuckie, etc, etc

        • DJ John

          Glock in my draws samples Unsolved Mysteries made by DJ Paul

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    I always thought “The Twilight Zone” theme would be the perfect beat for a story rhyme…that’d be silly

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    I love Em but he wasn’t the first from Detroit to do horrorcore raps. The first ones I’ve heard ANYWHERE was Esham and Natas (spell it backwards) who are both from Detroit. Both came before Gravediggaz.

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

      Co-sign J7.

      Them dudes was doing it BIG back in the days. & somebody already shouted Brotha Lynch Hung, who I brought up the other day. Lynch had the most disturbing shit, in fact him & C-Bo have an album together.

      Gravediggaz was a mainstream attempt @ garnering success for the ill-received, short-lived rap genre. It was cool, but by no means was it baby-eating, word to Brotha Lynch.

      • latino heat

        @ Grand$
        or girlfriend eating. word to Big Lurch. lol!

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

          Hands down, & since I actually knew the psychotic (no Don McCain) son of a bitch, he gets my vote for the most horrocore rapper EVER! How could I forget that dued?

          When keeping it real goes horribly, horribly wrong.

          Y’all cats Google/Bing “Big Lurch” if you don’t know…

        • Jamal7Mile

          Big Lurch, WHOOOOAAA!!!

          I was never too familiar with his work (umm, his work on wax) but when I heard about that canabalistic incident… speechless.

          Tony, please tell me that dude is still in prison.

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands


          & you know this, maaaan! We don’t take kindly to cats Hannibal Lector’n folks in California.

          Saddest part of the ordeal was on an ABC special, where he said he didn’t remember anything & told the viewers to “stay away from drugs”.



          Co-sign Gangsta Nip.

          Shit, Dr Octgon’s “A visit to the gynecologist” is pretty sick too.

        • latino heat

          @ Grand$.
          you knew Lurch personally? could you tell there was something wrong with him or was it an isolated incident and the drugs made him flip out? i always liked Lurch ever since he was on RBL Posse’s How We Comin.

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

          Yeah, we used to fuck with the same rap niggas back in the day, “Kali’s Finest”. Dude was mad cool, but that sherm got him. He STAYED with a sherm stick, to the point where if he had a blunt, nobody was taking any chances, unless we watched him roll it with somebody else’s weed.

          He was high off that shit the day that situation jumped off. It wasn’t isolated, that was how he operated daily. Supposedly, the shirt ol’ girl had on, a tasmainian devil tee, set him off. He thought the character was trying to kill him. The rest is unfortunate history.

        • $ykotic/Don McCaine

          “I actually knew the psychotic (no Don McCain)…”


          Actually when I saw the drop I thought Lurch & Esham were getting love.

  • M. Barone

    What up, Rizob?

    Nice subtle diss with that *cough*, I deserved that for not fully explaining myself in this post. These blogs are, at least how I’m approaching them, ways for me to talk about the s**t that I love but doesn’t always get shine; such as, Real Live, or that Jean Grae song, or whatever else. Just so happens that I lean toward a certain sound as a personal preference. Which is why I said that my blog about creative storytelling songs wasn’t “definitive” in any way. If I intended it to be definitive than of course I would’ve researched and made sure it was balanced. For better or worse.

    Totally understand where you’re coming from, though. In the future, I’ll make a point to balance the s**t out regionally, as much as possible. I could even look at your stance the same way I get aggy when the underground artists I dig aren’t ever included in lists and all that. I know how much that frustrates me as a fan, so I hear you, 100-percent.

    • RiZob

      Every red-blooded hip-hop fan gets somewhat heated when something/someone/somewhere gets the short end of the stick, so when you say you hear me, i know/believe you do. And i’m not hating on the East Coast (Ja Rule is my all time favorite MC, you can imagine the battles i go through for that…LOL), i just know its more out there just as good (if not better) than NYC… and if you keep your word to balance it out, you’re good with me bruh…preciate the love mane….

  • Skinny Pimp

    How n the hell can this blog b postd witout the kings of that horror shit Triple 6 Mafia 1nce again the south is 4gottn nd them niggas been doin that shit over 10 years they basically created the shit

    • Jamal7Mile

      Esham and Natas came out in ’89. I don’t think Triple 6 came out until ’91.

      Detroit LOVE the South, we haven’t forgotten homie.

  • http://pimpinpens.blogspot.com enzo

    There’s noway possible this list could be made without listing Three 6 Mafia. DJ Paul and Juicy J been doin this horrorcore shit for DECADES now…smh…go listen to Mystic Stylez or some old Prophet Posse ish…. fuck it! you can listen to they last album they keep some scary movie shit for that ass…SMH…

    aint that the truth. The Come with me to Hell album with Paul and Infamous is chock full of Halloween samples. My favorite however is the posse song off the Teardaclubupthugs album that uses the sample from the Omen.

    • yoprince

      lol. point made.

  • General

    My favorite horrorcore rapper was always Gangsta Nip, he always had some sick shit…

  • dolo

    How about Busta “Gimme Some More”

    • Jamal7Mile

      What up dolo?

      I love that track by Busta. The song is so damn fast that I can’t tell what the sample is.

      • King Joffy Joe

        What up Jamal7Mile and dolo? The sample for that Busta Rhymes track is Alfred Hitchcock, and I think that it came from the original “Psycho” movie.

  • http://pimpinpens.blogspot.com enzo

    actually i think one of the illest Paul and Juicy beats that sampled some horror movie shit was the “Be a Witness” off the Live By Yo Rep EP. Good usage of Nightmare on Elm Street theme music there.


  • latino heat

    i said it before a while back but that TRU, Hoody Hoo joint with the Halloween sample is fire. certainly not for the lyrics but the beat itself is bangin. the TRU version came out before the Dre version ans was hotter too imo.

  • Chris S

    Elevator by Flo Rida samples Halloween too

  • capcobra

    diary of a madman is one my favorite horrorcore joints..not sure if it sampled a movie or not but i know shabazz and killah priest murdered that shit.

  • http://pimpinpens.blogspot.com enzo

    another really hard three six track with some Freddy Krueger samples was “Be A Witness” off the Live By Yo Rep EP.

  • http://pimpinpens.blogspot.com enzo

    diary of a madman is one my favorite horrorcore joints..not sure if it sampled a movie or not but i know shabazz and killah priest murdered that shit.

    Rza and Grim Reaper bodied that shit too

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      Don’t forget Sunz of Man!

      “Soldiers of Darkness” & “Five Arch Angels”

  • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

    I know its not really ‘horror themed’, but has any producer sampled the Unsolved Mysteries theme? That would be tight with the right producer!

    • RiZob

      DJ Paul f/ Frayser Boy ~~”Glock In My Draws”..samples Unsolved Mysteries the entire song…look it up…Three 6 got shit like this for days….

      • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

        Cool cool I’ma have to check that out

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    I gotta admit, this is the first post I actually made it through. I don’t know, this underground stuff is just not for me I guess.

  • http://xxl All Dae

    that Simon Says is a classic.

  • Moi

    ice-t the tower, halloween theme 1991
    ice-t rhyme pays intro, the exorcist theme 1987

  • p-mac

    What about Lloyd Banks “He Know” off the Halloween Havoc mixtape ?


    Fugees FTW!!

  • sggfs`

    ride out – alchemist

  • King Joffy Joe

    I don’t know if i’m right about this, but was 2 Pac’s “Hail Mary” a sample of a horror movie?, because i’m listening to it RIGHT NOW with the volume blasted and the lights off, and the shit is BUGGING ME THE FUCK OUT!

    Tony Grand$, what up!

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

      King Joffy Joe…

      What Up!

  • Beast McCoy

    Busta Rhymes’ Gimme Some More contained a sample from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    Any horror themed sample in the right hands will b a killa’.

  • GodBud

    Sweet Robbery & Gotta Touch ‘Em by Three 6 are my shit! freakyass laugh on sweet robbery.

  • Angel Jose

    What about “Nightmare On My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince using the “Nightmare on Elm Street” theme.If I remember correct they even had Freddy Kreuger on the song.


    Kinda soft, but didn’t Doug E. Fresh sample that music from the movie Phantasm with “Play This Only at Nite”?

    • Moi

      way to dig for that one. not soft at all. great beat and sample. a lot of rappers would kill on that track.

  • http://xxlmag.com Imperfect

    Can’t forget about the ATL rapper awhile back

    Drama – Left Right Left

    He had that Halloween sample, I think that was one of the best beats and songs I ever heard.


  • k.ing

    Hands down HCP (3-6 mafia) is the best at this…. every released album by them or an artist on there label has at least two horror samples….


    have u ever had godbud???

  • Superstar Extraordinaire

    My horrorcore tracks only go to early em tracks, gravediggaz, 3-6 mafia

    I looked up Big Lurch, and this niggas sick….fuck this dude was a fuckin evil genius type muthafucka…..oh i found out he got life

  • young hoagie

    this is one of the best posts ever.

    i need to get up on that suspiria, i always thought that was an eerie cage sample.

  • Brooklyn

    i listen to that pharoah monche joint “simon says” every day, i got it on my ipod. perhaps because of my age, i never knew where the sample came from, although i always thought that shit was fire. but that “gimme some more” was the shit, i almost forgot about that song.

  • GodBud

    nah, i wish tho, best ive had is that purp kush

  • Pingback: XXLmag.com - » East Coast Bias Lives, But Not Always

  • horrorhound

    hey what about Master p’s “pass me the green” it samples the movie “Phantasm” main them. ftw on that fugees joint freal tho!