Today is Halloween, a day to revel in the things that scare the shit out of us. Considering that hip-hop is a music characterized heavily by theatrics (show me a rapper who has actually killed the amount of people he’s claimed to have killed with his verses), Halloween’s tradition of throwing on a mask and prowling the hood for spoils makes it low-key the most hip-hop holiday of the year. To celebrate, we members of the True Too staff have selected our favorite tracks that we feel is best fit for the spirit of the holiday, whether we’re facing our greatest fears through wax or taking joy in the villainy like true dastards.
Throwback! Dana Dane released “Nightmares” in 1986 (!) and it is definitely old-school. Hurby Luv Bug samples the “The Munsters” theme song for the hook, and Dana Dane tells the spooky story of his nightmare with Anita, The Beast (ooOOOooo). Turns out, the doctor he is telling the story to actually ends up being Anita and the actual song ends with witch-like cackling. Yeah, it’s totally cheesy, but it’s worth checking out if you’re interested in hip-hop’s first spooky song.
It would’ve been easy to choose something like Gravediggaz‘s “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide” as my ultimate example of Halloween hip-hop, but this LIL UGLY MANE binge I’ve been on as of late leaves me no choice but to go with “CUP FULLA BEETLEJUICE” off of the incredible MISTA THUG ISOLATION record. The beat is eerie, no doubt; the warped voice that enters with Lil Ugly’s first line–“I’m being goofy on a black Suzuki screaming ‘Free Boosie’ “–is straight out of a haunted house. Yet it’s the joy Lil Ugly takes in playing a villain that makes this song, as well as the rest of the album, so endearingly eerie.
While it was hard for me to choose from songs by the likes of Tech N9NE and Denzel Curry to be my quintessential scary song, Pharoahe Monch‘s “Simon Says” has to be it. In addition to its sampled melody from The Adam’s Family Theme, the song exemplifies the gritty and sinister sound that Halloween Hip Hop would consist of if it were a genre. October 31 is also coincidentally Pharoahe’s birthday, so happy birthday, b!
A$AP Ferg‘s “NV” has to be one of my favorite tracks off the Ferg Forever mixtape, with A$AP Nast spitting some psychopathic bars over a distorted, synthy beat. The ending skit only increases the horror factor as well, with the mass of sirens signaling imminent tangible danger.
Monte Booker is a producer out of Chicago. Sampling “6 God,” he chops Drake up into a Frankenstein-electro-trap masterpiece. From the robotic synths to the lone hi-hat sparking up the rest of the track, it’s hard to ignore the inherent talent coming from Booker. Although very little is known about him, you can tell from his music that he understands the heart of current trends and yearns to make those styles his own.
As soon as the haunted piano chords hit your ears, you know this is gonna be spooky. Immortal Technique‘s “Dance with the Devil” uses four carefully constructed verses to showcase his lyrical and story telling ability. The track is basically about a boy named William who had sinister dreams. He wanted to be respected by the OG’s so he kidnapped and raped a woman to “prove himself.” The woman he kidnapped and raped turned out to be his own mother, and after realizing what he had done he was met with an emptiness and despair which caused him to jump off the roof and kill himself. The OG’s killed his mother afterward and never spoke about it. The combination of the eerie beat with Immortal Technique’s visceral storytelling ability makes for a slow-burning buildup that culminates in a bone-chilling climax, a truly terrifying track.
Perfect to start of your Halloween morning. “Between Villains” is off Captain Murphy a.k.a. Flying Lotus‘s album Duality and it might not be the track for when you’re in the club tonight, but when you are plotting with friends prior, it’s perfect! The background vocals delivered by Thundercat allow all three Emcees to spit “spooky” verses. MF DOOM a.k.a. Viktor Vaughn(DOOM) starts off the track with his classic bad guy flow. Following him is, Earl Sweatshirt, delivering a face-crunching verse that is arguably the best part of the track. Who would have been a 19 year old Earl, really brings the track to a new level of spooky. Captain Murphy finishes the track, and it’s always a treat to hear Flying Lotus spitting over one of his own beats. This track is perfect backdrop music to your Halloween.
Earl Sweatshirt‘s “Moonlight,” featuring fellow Odd Future member Hodgy Beats walks the line between edgy and spooky. With the classic old-school spooky OF production and Earl’s distorted voice, this song embodies everything that a spooky song should. Earl delivers a disturbingly sinister verse, saying, “Standing in the kitchen with a noose and a rifle/Hang or bang hocking loogies in a bible/Dancing with the devil tonight’s our first recital.” While Earl’s verse is fairly spooky/edgy, Hodgy really takes the cake on this one. His sexually violent verse is enough to make even the scummiest guys go, “Ew”:
Sound like she dying when that virgin bitch cum
My used penis beats on this virgin bitch drums
The chilling selection TrueToo has provided is a sure fire way to get started with your Halloween night off to town. While these Halloween tracks aren’t ones that you’d bump in the midst of a party, they’re certainly spooky enough to send shivers down your spine.