Surprise, Eminem woke us all up this morning with a new album. Blasting his social media channels, Slim Shady dropped the next in his unexpected releases, this one entitled Music to Be Murdered By. Casual Slim fans were elated with what appeared to be a horror-themed album, showcasing Em with a murder weapon or two, blood dripping down the side, and a tiny hockey mask. But this isnt Slims first foray into the horror realm; in fact, Slim has peppered horror references throughout loads of his music, and this is just his next installment.
You heard it here, everyone: Eminem is a Horror Movie.
Hip hop has had horror themes woven throughout for years, and this certainly wasnt created by Eminem. Around 1994, there was a rise in horrorcore, a sub sect of hip hop that spun themes like slashers, the occult and psychological horror into lyrics. Guys like Jimmy Spicer, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Geto Boys were on the forefront of this movement that Eminem dances with. Horror scores have been sampled by Busta Rhymes and Ice T, and slasher villains have been referenced by Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, 2 Pac and Lupe Fiasco. Like those greats, Eminem has splattered blood over much of his music.
Eminems rap group, D12, released their debut studio album in 2001 referencing a night familiar to us spooky fans, Devils Night. This title, though, refers to the practice in Detroit where abandoned houses are set ablaze. Among the tracks is one for which the album gets its name, which leans into horrorcore.
I make music to make you sick of fake musicHate music like devil worshippin Satan musicSo say your prayers, your Hail Marys and JesusesTake two sticks, tape em together and make a crucifixTry to stop it but you cant do it
The album also contains the track American Psycho, which references horror faves Hannibal Lecter, Carrie White and Michael Myers.
No stranger to storytelling, Eminem often weaves a spooky yarn in his tracks. Long before Stan entered the vernacular as a reference to ruthless fandom, Stan was a Slim track that told a scary story of an obsessed fan who ultimately flies off the handle, setting up a twist ending. Though that isnt even the spookiest tale Slim has told via rap.
2009s track, 3 A.M. is a pure slasher tale:
Youre walkin down a horror corridorIts almost four in the mornin and youre in aNightmare, its horrible, right theres the coronerWaiting for ya to turn the corner so he can corner yaYoure a goner, hes onto yaOut the corner of his cornea, he just saw ya runAll you want is to rest cause you cant run anymore, youre doneAll he wants is to kill you in front of an audience
The song is a first-person narrative about a man who keeps blacking out and waking up covered in blood surrounded by bodies, ultimately coming to the realization that he is a proud slasher villain and pure evil, though not before referencing another horror icon.
She puts the lotion in the bucketIt puts the lotion on the skinOr else it gets the hose again
Before this horror story, Slim paired up with Royce Da 59, a duo that goes by Bad Meets Evil, and dropped Scary Movies, sampling a Shirley Bassey song, flipped to sound like a horror score. The chorus played with the idea that the scary movie might be real.
Yall want drama? Wanna make a scary movie?Rappers comin in with they team and carry tooliesYou can jump right out of the screen and barely move meWe hard-hittin, directin and starrin in it
50 Cents song, on which Slim appears, Psycho, details whats essentially a confession, or perhaps a warning, that these versions of Slim and Fifty are prone to slashing. Psycho isnt quite the marked departure from Slims tendency to detail violence against real women, but its sandwiched with the slash happy chorus.
You see, Im a psycho, a sicko, Im crazyI said I got my knife pulled, Ill kill you if you make meThey wanna see me shot up, locked up and cage meIll come back bigger, stronger and angry
Sound like any familiar villains? Slim and Fifty seem to think so, and make this comparison in the track: Still as maniacal on the NyQuil and psycho as Michael Myers.
Another one of Slims spooky tracks is Psychopath Killer, a collaboration with Slaughterhouse that showed up on Shady XV. Of note isnt the lyrics but the album cover (above), part of Slims long history with dipping his feet into slasher blood. For his 2001 tour, he memorably popped around in an outfit that looked like a short-sighted creation of a unique slasher, or an homage to an old hockey mask-wearing favourite. He referenced this wild outfit in the trailer for MMLP2 in 2018, referring to himself as the monster Rick Rubin and Dr. Dre created.
Though certainly not the king of horrorcore hip hop, Slim Shady has danced with the devil throughout his illustrious music career. A fan of all things slasher, hes worn a hockey mask, wielded a chainsaw, and cracked wise about Friday the nineteenth. This graduation to Hitchcock references is a natural next step for the maturing Slim, a horror fan through and through.
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero