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)