"I don't call myself horrorcore," Scumbag Worldwide's emcee Big Rela explains over the telephone. "There's a stigma with horrorcore — you think Insane Clown Posse and fans that paint their faces. If you're going to call me horrorcore I want you to understand the history. It's not all bloody t-shirts and face paint. Eminem is horrorcore. Bone Thugs is horrorcore. Three 6 Mafia is horrorcore. It's a sub-genre of hip-hop and we treat it like an art."
Horrorcore, for those confused, basically takes gangster rap to the next level of cartoonish violence. Through lyrical dexterity, rappers tell stories of murder, terror, and mayhem often with a sense of humor. What Scarface is to Gangster Rap, Freddy Krueger and Chucky from Child's Play are to horrorcore.
But it wasn't horror movies that inspired a young Big Rela to pick up the mic while growing up in Miramar. "I was influenced by Nirvana and Korn, but I can't sing, so I got into Eminem, Tech N9ne, and Big Pun. Big Pun, especially because he's Latino, was a hero. He rapped ridiculous lyrics and got nothing but props."
Big Rela eventually joined up with Psyko South, a local underground hip-hop group, and when that fell apart he decided to take his Scumbag persona worldwide by joining forces with Jimmy Knox, Grimm Gutter, and Tommy Gunz The Dark One.
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Last summer the four released a mix tape called Hyperbolic Time Chamber, which heavily sampled the Wu-Tang Clan among others. But instead of kung fu movies, Scumbag Worldwide's muse for the album was '90's children's Japanimation. "The Hyperbolic Time Chamber comes from Dragon Ball Z. It's a chamber where you'd get a year's worth of training in a day. We took that idea and wrote the hardest lyrics we could."
Now mixing a new full length due out this Thanksgiving, Scumbag Worldwide is headlining a line-up at Churchill's on October 15 meant to showcase the best of Miami's underground hip-hop. "You're not going to see your typical hip-hop. No Emotion is Florida's resident weirdo. His flow is unorthodox and left field of everything. Mad Ball from the Poison Clan is legendary. The J. Hexx Project has albums about cannibals and demonic possessions."
That all sounds like a good way to get in the Halloween spirit — just don't call it horrorcore.
Scumbag Worldwide's Glass Half Empty Tour with Big Rela, The J. Hexx Project, Tommy Gunz The Dark One, and more. 8 p.m. Thursday, October 15, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission is $7.