Long after groundbreaking hardcore acts like Esham and Gravediggaz left their bloody mark on the scene, horror hip-hop remains a specialized niche in the music world, but one with a very dedicated group of fans. The highest profile in the genre today is held by the extreme, explicitly violent styles of horror-influenced artists like Necro (whose album The Sexorcist shocked the hardest of the hard with its totally perverse lyrics), and his successful NYC-based label Psycho+Logical Records helped spawn a new generation of extreme rhymes and old-school beats.
One of the first MCs to make a name on the PLR label was the dynamic and aggressive Mr. Hyde, whose first album Barn of the Naked Dead (based on the sleazy B-movie of the same name) gave him a means to unleash his animal alter-ego on an unsuspecting public... who finally realized that they loved being terrorized by the Beast's lyrical bloodbath. Hyde's second release, Chronicles of the Beast Man, scored an even bigger hit this year, reaching a wider audience that shared his love of brutal modern poetry and bloody horror.
With late '90s-style beats supplied by Necro and Sean Strange, and guest mic-handlers like Non Phixion's Ill Bill & “street metal” artist Q-Unique, all barely contained in a madhouse of samples from Hyde's favorite flicks (listen up for dialog from American Psycho, Cyborg, Return of the Living Dead, The Devil's Rejects, Island of Dr. Moreau and tons more), Beast Man is a cannibal feast of grotesque, heavy-hitting hardcore you won't soon forget.
Fresh off a brutal (in every way) European tour with Necro, Mr. Hyde took some time out to tell FEARnet how the Beast was born...
FEARnet: What were some of your favorite horror flicks growing up?
HYDE: I would have to say... The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Bloodsucking Freaks, Basket Case, Last House On The Left, Exorcist Phantasm, Trilogy of Terror, Hellraiser, and all the old Romero zombie flicks. Too many films to mention. Horror shredded my young mind.
When did you first start combining your love of hardcore with your love of old-school horror?
I guess ever since I picked up a pen and was able to write. At the earliest I can remember, I began writing short horror stories and sick poems and music lyrics in 3rd grade. I actually started writing hip-hop in '92-93. My content has been violent since I started.
The aggression in your lyrics calls to mind death metal and gore metal. Were you influenced by that kind of music?
I was a huge Metallica and Slayer fan growing up. The first songs I ever wrote were intended to be metal lyrics – they just happened to come out more in a hip-hop/poetry format, being that I was also starting to get into rap at the time, and most of my friends were hip-hop heads. So I just focused more on that style of writing.
How did you first hook up with Necro and Psycho+Logical Records?
I met Necro at a rap show in NYC back in 1997 before PLR was created. I had heard some of his production for Non Phixion and a live freestyle session he did on WNYU FM in '96. I was impressed at his evil content and flow. He was the only one that I knew of – besides myself – coming that brutal at that time. I told him I rapped brutal also, and he should check out my rhymes. I kicked a verse on the spot for him [and] he was bugging out from the psychosis of the verse. We ended up having a lot in common: taste in music, movies, boxing and brutal outlook on life. I was right by his side the whole time he was building the label and I still am. Necro is family to me.
You and Necro both have turned out instrumental versions of your albums. Are you planning on doing the same thing with this one?
Maybe... being that Necro did not produce 100% of the new album like he did the last one, it might be a little complicated to split the profit up.
A lot of hardcore has violent lyrics, but you've made a name by pushing the aggression even further. Did you set out to be the most brutal artist out there?
Not really... I don't try to be "the most brutal," it just naturally comes out that way. Its natural for me to write the way I do – I'm drawn to brutality and evil shit. That's what I wanna hear and create, so I do.
Is the “Beast Man” a real everyday part of your personality?
To a large degree it is. I rarely shave or cut my toenails. I rap, fight, eat, drool and f**k like an animal dog beast!
Are you planning any horror-themed or gory videos for this album?
I wanted to shoot a video for the song "Braaains," which has a zombie-type horror theme to it, but I'm having trouble finding a gore effects guy to work on the video. It might still happen though.
You've challenged your fans to identify all the horror movie samples on your albums. Has anyone won that challenge?
A few have come close, but no one has been able to get them all. I have had like 500 attempts online by different goons. Keep digging and you might find the zombie!
You're always busy touring, promoting and writing, but do you still find time to watch horror movies?
Always. As soon as me and Necro got back from our recent Euro-tour, we went to see Saw 5. Not too impressed though... they should have stopped at Part 3. I also own over 1000 movies, most of them gore flicks.
What's the last good horror flick you've seen?
The new Rambo! There was more dope gore, guts and brutality in that flick than any recent horror flick. But out of some of the recent stuff, I enjoyed the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, High Tension and Mirrors – all the same director, incidentally.
What's your greatest fear?
Michael Jackson's Nose.