With Halloween just around the corner, we decided to curate 10 of the spookiest numbers in hip hop to make your skin crawl ahead of the most haunting night of the year. We’ve reached back to the nineties to provide haunting tracks alongside some more recent releases. Their sound, lyrical content and music videos are certain to make check under your bed before hitting the hay.
The nature of the list entails that one of the additions is not for the faint hearted and is presented with a warning. In no particular order we present some of the genre’s spookiest tracks below.
Big Lurch – I did it to you!
A song that is weirdly foreboding from a rapper that was imprisoned for murder and cannibalism (warning not for the faint hearted). The MC will be behind bars for the rest of his life and the songs that predated the aforementioned crimes are up there with some of the most haunting in rap. Even his cover art features a skull on a plate. Yikes.
Lil Wop – Ghoul
Having previously released the project ‘Wopavelli 3’ on Halloween and had multiple freakish names for tracks, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to incorporate one of hip hop’s haunting acts on the list. There is something malign yet infectious about the repetitive nature of his flow, complemented by the dracula-esque grill that he dons in the video for the aptly named ‘Ghoul’.
EARTHGANG – Up
One of the more recent releases to feature on the list, Atlanta duo EARTHGANG’s video for ‘Up’ is definitely a spooky affair. Featuring something resembling a scene from Men In Black, the creatures in the visuals are perhaps the ‘ATLiens’ that another pair from Georgia spoke of. The song itself sees wacky adlibs tied with their unmistakable energy to provide one of the strongest efforts from the immersive world that is ‘Mirrorland’.
Kanye West – Monster Feat. Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z & Bon Ivor
From one of the defining albums of the 2010s, ‘Monster’ provides a freakish line-up of some of hip hop’s greatest alongside the inimitable Bon Ivor. Featuring a thumping beat and great back and forths between the featured artists, it’s Nicki Minaj that delivers the hardest verse blowing her contemporaries out of the water.
ZillaKami x SosMula (City Morgue) – Nitro Cell
City Morgue are one of the most abrasive acts in hip hop right now and if you need uncomfortable, hyper-aggressive lyricism to get you in the mood for Halloween then look no further. The horrorcore inspired duo are relentless in this effort, living up to their reputation as one of the most terrifying duos around.
Geto Boys – Mind Playing Tricks On Me
“Then I felt just like a fiend
It wasn’t even close to Halloween
It was dark as fuck on the streets
My hands were all bloody
From punching on the concrete”
A quintessential hip hop classic from Geto Boys touches on mental health in an era that was not especially receptive to dialogue on the topic. A haunting track that draws on halloween imagery to produce a frightening depiction of the horrors of PTSD, this inclusion on the list comes from a more abstract angle than most of the others.
Flatbush Zombies – Death
“Survival of the fittest, I ate my twin in the womb.”
Flatbush Zombies and Meechy Darko in particular have accrued a reputation as some of rap’s grittiest spitters, capable of depicting the most gruesome imagery in the game. Extremely difficult to pick one track from the Brooklyn trio, we have went with ‘Death’ from their ‘BetterOffDEAD’ mixtape. Featuring the ever-present haunting, horror movie-inspired production from Erick, the video emits energy that would fit perfectly in a rural zombie apocalypse short.
Kodak Black – Halloween
“Please, niggas free out here but they ain’t free
You out here physically, locked up mentally
‘Bout everywhere I go, I gotta bring the ski
No face, no case, live everyday like Halloween”
An obvious inclusion, the Florida spitter’s visuals for the track are about as on the nose as it gets for halloween. However the message itself is a bit more nuanced, touching on the paranoid, suffocating mindset he’s suffering from.
slowthai – Psycho Feat. Denzel Curry
It’s easy to get lost in the erratic and equally frightening immersive experience created in the visuals for this transatlantic collaboration. slowthai matches the Floridian spitter’s growls with his own mercurial flow and Kwes Darko’s production is as anxiety inducing as ever.
Gravediggaz – Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide
Predating much of the horrorcore and hardcore rap now present today, supergroup Gravediggaz were frequently laying down the most frightening bars of their career in the late nineties. ‘Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide’ is a prime example of their aggressive output that’s harrowing narrative fits perfectly into any halloween playlist.