Eminem has been in a heated battle for years with the rap group ICP, fellow Detroit natives that are credited with inventing ‘Horrorcore’, a sub-genre of rap that differs from regular rap because the violence documented in horrorcore isn’t for monetary gains. Music that is used as an escape from reality by poor kids who get bullied. Eminem took ICP’s horrorcore style and re-purposed it to appeal to middle class sensibilities. To prove this, I created a “Horrorcore Calculator” that calculates how horrorcore a song is.
I took the corpus of ICP lyrics (about 300 songs) and used it as the baseline. That is, the more similar lyrics are to ICP, the more horrorcore an artist is. Let’s take a look at some data:
|God Loves Ugly||6.42|
You’ll see that Eminem, after Infinite, his horrorscore went way up. The rappity-rap guys hover in the 4.0-6.0 range and it seems that stuff over the 9.0 range is very horrorcore-y. Jay-Z/Atmosphere/Nas are used as “controls”.
Tyler, The Creator is the logical progression to Eminem. Because being attached to horrorcore is awful for his brand that appeals to middle-class tweens, it’s important for Tyler to stress that he’s NOT a horrorcore artist in interviews and “think pieces”. But he’s a lot closer to horrorcore than not. And one of the best song of the past few years imo, EARL, has a horrorscore of 15.58.
I put the horrorscore calculator here if you want to play around and find data.