Horrorcore hip-hop is a sub-genre typically full of intensely violent lyrics, more bragging than may even be imaginable and a distinct aggression that surpasses that of hardcore hip-hop (i.e. DMX). It’s a rough, abrasive genre, with many Horrorcore albums and tracks teetering on the edge between hip-hop and metal (often mixes of the two come through, they’re almost always pretty odd). This sound eventually became more associated with pop music after groups like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit and Rage Against The Machine made the metal rap more accessible and popular, and Horrorcore vanished for some time after (not counting Odd Future’s work with the genre, which was often comedic).
On a different note, experimental hip-hop group clipping. slowly made their presence known, releasing their first record (CLPPNG) in 2014, and growing greatly in popularity with their fascinating Splendour & Misery – a concept rap album set in space. The group seemed to take on the explosion in popularity of industrial hip-hop (namely from the group Death Grips, who became internet famous after reviewer Anthony Fantano raved about their debut record, The Money Store, on YouTube) and twist it to fit their own interests. Frontman Daveed Diggs, also known for his acting work (he’s excellent in the 2018 film Blindspotting!), brought his interests in politics and placed them in the industrial framework from clipping.’s two producers, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes.
So, between Daveed’s work in film, the growing popularity of industrial hip-hop and the nostalgia towards Memphis-style Horrorcore, the stars seemed to align for a comeback record, and so, in 2019 the group released There Existed An Addiction To Blood – an experimental hip-hop album inspired by horror cinema, taking the Horrorcore sound and updating it whilst maintaining the focuses from clipping.’s other records.
It’s definitely an abrasive record, and a tough listen the first time. The production is harsh, the lyrics are (obviously) bleak and a lot of it is genuinely troubling. There is a certain genius in the ordering of tracks – ‘Nothing is Safe’ makes use of a piano reminiscent of John Carpenter’s theme tune for horror classic Halloween (1978) to draw the audience into this world of terror, before quickly developing the focus on race. ‘La Mala Ordina’ is a track so aggressive it may give listeners whiplash, with the verses focusing quite gleefully on extreme violence and deep, mechanic synths to a traditional 90s drum beat, before actually stripping the entire sound back and hiding Diggs’ final verse (in the style of Kanye West on ‘Runaway’ nine years prior) with a barrage of feedback sounds.
The political focus takes something of a back-seat for the most part, but comes back with a vengeance on one of the album’s singles, ‘Blood of the Fang’, which features an impossibly intense vocal performance from Diggs and a fantastic beat that samples (multiple parts of!) the underrated vampire film Ganja & Hess (1973), which somehow charts the entire political history of the civil rights movement up to today within only four and a half minutes. It’s a mind-blowing moment on a record that is as impressive so frequently that it’s hard to believe.
Just to make things sweeter, clipping. also released a sister album last October, titled Visions of Bodies Being Burned – a continuation of their Horrorcore work that saw them take a less explicit approach and reach inwards for more subtle horrors. It’s also a terrific record, though surprisingly different in sound. Here’s hoping that we may end up with a trilogy!
There Existed An Addiction to Blood is available to stream, or physically on CD and vinyl, via Sub Pop. Stream it below: