Hip-hop music takes all types of forms. It can be fun. It can be political. It can be thought-provoking. It can be silly. And, sometimes, things can get downright dark.
Rappers often rhyme about their downtrodden upbringings or the spine-chilling atrocities they’ve witnessed in their hoods growing up, but sometimes MCs take it even deeper by delving into topics normally fit for a Stephen King novel or a film from Eli Roth. There’s a whole sub-genre of rap called horrorcore, where rappers vividly deliver vile bars as the standard, touching on gory depictions of morbid death, incest, necrophilia and everything in between.
Even mainstream hip-hop artists haven’t been above delivering some deeply disturbing tracks at times. Eminem has been known to tap into some unnerving spaces throughout his career, most notably on tracks like “'97 Bonnie and Clyde” and “Kim,” where Shady graphically fantasizes about murdering the mother of his child. Cam’ron, known for his colorful alliteration and braggadocio, dipped into some macabre topics on a few songs from his debut album Confessions of Fire. Other artists like Tyler, The Creator have made a name for themselves by at times nose-diving into subject matter that can make one’s skin crawl.
All of these raps are definitely not safe for work, and probably not safe for listening to around anyone who you don’t want to think you might have a couple screws loose. In honor of Halloween 2019, XXL compiles a list of some of hip-hop's darkest songs.
Killa’s fictional confessional gets darker than dark when he admits to committing dozens of fiendish acts (raping a poodle, impregnating an auntie, peeing in his grandfather's orange juice) to a way-too-calm priest.
“Diary of a Madman"Gravediggaz
Gravediggaz offer insight into the sick mind of a lunatic. Enter at your own risk.
“Mind Playing Tricks on Me"Geto Boys
The Geto Boys classic is as much a commentary on the downward spiraling psyche of the drug dealer as it is a disturbing head trip of epic proportions.
Shady’s gruesome depiction of killing the mother of his child is horror-movie-level gore.
“Meat Cleaver"Brotha Lynch Hung
Brotha Lynch Hung gets descriptive about committing vile acts on this disconcerting track.
The title says it all, as Esham reaches maximum grim levels while narrating his interaction with a bunch of corpses.
“Mr. Ouija”Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Bone call upon dark forces to get answers and chill listeners to the core with their séance song.
“Dead Body Disposal"Necro
It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to rap about it. Horrorcore mainstay Necro takes on the task of talking about getting rid of a corpse.
Bushwick Bill takes on his Child’s Play alter ego, Chuckie, and terrorizes the track some sickening bars.
“Anyone Out There”Lord Infamous
The instrumental for Lord Infamous’ “Anyone Out There” sounds like a soundtrack for a haunted house that might make you pee on yourself a little bit. The lyrics are much ghastlier.
Macabre murder and mayhem are the names of the game on Ganksta N-I-P’s appalling narrative.
Kid Cudi explores the lurid side of his personality on this haunting track.
“Sarah"Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator tells the story of a man’s rejection ending in a woman’s murder.
“Blue Flowers"Dr. Octagon
Things get very repulsive as Kool Keith’s mentally deranged gynecologist character gets down and dirty about his inhumane practices.
“Favorite Scary Movie"Prophet Posse
Three 6 Mafia offshoot Prophet Posse get devilish in a cinematic way and deliver scary movie vibes that will have you checking under the bed.
“Dance With the Devil”Immortal Technique
There are no words to describe Tech’s sick tale. Scratch that, repugnant and heinous are a couple.
“Serial Killaz”DJ Paul and Lord Infamous
DJ Paul and Lord Infamous pile the bodies up on this sinister collaboration.
“I Did It to You"Big Lurch
Considering Lurch committed actual cannibalistic murder in real life, this song about homicide and recklessness hits different.
“The Anatomy of a School Shooting"Ill Bill
Ill Bill puts himself in the shoes of the Columbine High School shooters and offers a chilling playback of the horrendous event that took place.
Lifestyles of the mentally unstable.
“Part of Me”Royce Da 5’9”
Royce goes Twilight Zone on this suspenseful track, which has a gut-punch of a sick twist ending.
“Suicidal Thoughts”The Notorious B.I.G.
The antithesis of Logic’s “1-800-273-8255,” Biggie depicts what happens when someone has reached an absolute breaking point.
Tech N9ne turns one morbid kid’s cartoon into an even more chilling song.
Flatlinerz bring sinister to the forefront. Live and uncut.
"Interview With a Vampire"Rass Kass
Kass takes us to hell and back and to infinity and beyond while learning the secrets of the universe from a devilish entity.