It's a match made in hell with New Orleans' $uicideboy$ teaming up with Ottawa, Canada's Night Lovell on "Joan Of Arc"!

Hip-hop and the horror genre go way, waay back. "Horrorcore" is thought to have started in 1980 with Jimmy Spicer's "Adventures of Super Rhyme," just a couple years after hip-hop proper kicked off. Samples and lyrics referencing horror movies would weave in and out of both underground and mainstream hip-hop ever since.

A lot of "horror rap" is more in-line with Jazzy Jeff's 1988 single "Nightmare On My Street," with Freddy Krueger becoming a cartoon-like bogeyman more than the King Of Nightmares. Then you have the more extreme horrorcore rappers proper, your Gravediggaz and Brother Lynch Hung. These rappers, often coming from hard violent neighborhoods and backgrounds, are much more Tales From The Hood than Tales From The Crypt. There is nothing campy in their stories of sawed-off shotguns, chopped-up bodies, violent sex, hardcore drug use, and lots and lots of money.

New Orleans' $uicideboy$ have been doing more to both revitalize as well as revolutionize horror in rap music these last few years. Horrorcore always had a lot of potentials but never fully came into its own, as too many of its practitioners get caught up in questionable jugalo aesthetics and the same old' tired horror movie cliches. These horror stories are clearly coming from late-night TV rather than outside their front door.

This antiseptic, sterilized fantasy can be seen and heard in pretty much every branch of hip-hop. Consider, trap music was originally made by, for, and about inner-city drug dealers. More often than not, it's made by young kids with cracked copies of FL Studios instead of hardened criminals. Not that there's anything wrong with any of that, but there is a certain heat and danger that gets lost with such suburbanized origins.

The risk of the Top 40-ing of hip-hop means we may lose the real voices of the street, hearing stories of survival and triumph over low-down, curb-rattling beats. This must not, cannot happen.

On "Joan Of Arc," $uicideboy$ remind us everything that is good and right and (un)holy about Southern hip-hop. The depth-charge sub-bass and drug-addled vocals and lyrics are pure dirty, dirty south, back when that meant something more than just some autotune. "Joan Of Arc" is crunk as it comes, with non-tonal sickly synth and no-holds-barred stories of drug abuse and suicidal madness.



Not that We Are: The Guard are advocating any such things. You can't go ten feet without some young rapper spitting bars about bars, whether that be Xans or Lean. At least with $uicideboy$ and Night Lovell, you get the sense they at least stand a chance of waking up in the morning. That's another risk of removing the struggle from hip-hop. People may forget how cold and cruel the world can be if they're only popping overpriced bottles in the club. Outside, it's a jungle out there! That jungle may have fangs and claws. Pretending violence doesn't exist won't prepare you for when the trap springs.

We Are: The Guard have been big fans of $uicideboy$ for some time. We're stoked to make the acquaintance of Ottawa's Night Lovell, as well, long may he reign. The wave of madness is hitting the Great White North now, as well. Here's to the Dirty North! 


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.