With many hip-hop artists already known for their personas and alter egos, getting into character is second nature for them, making Halloween the most appropriate holiday to be celebrated. While jack-o-lanterns, candy corn and costumes may traditionally be the tell-tale signs that Halloween is near, in hip-hop, the artists ring in the holiday in more unique ways, leaning on their creativity to help celebrate the occasion. Over the years, a number of rap artists have released Halloween-inspired songs and music videos, dating all the way back to the 80s when legends like The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff, the Fat Boys, and Dana Dane all got in on the fun. The past three decades have been much of the same, with many of your favorite rappers putting their own horror stories on wax, but more than a few have also used them as the theme for their music videos, resulting in some of the most entertaining and cinematic visuals of all time.
With Halloween today, REVOLT rounded up a list of 9 rap videos that will absolutely give you the spooks.
1 | "3. A.M.," Eminem
In the video for "3 A.M.," one of the singles released from Eminem's Relapse album, Em plays the role of a serial killer that finds himself in the woods after committing a murder while escaping from a rehabilitation clinic. Seemingly unaware of his misdeeds, Eminem experiences flashbacks and quickly comes to realize he's been possessed by his alter ego Slim Shady. Inspired by horror films like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the plot for "3 A.M." is classic and one that Eminem and director Syndrome execute to perfection.
2 | "Natural Born Killerz," Dr. Dre ft. Ice Cube
In celebration of reuniting after squashing the beef from their N.W.A. days, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube joined forces for "Natural Born Killaz," a single from Death Row's Murder Was the Case soundtrack. The song was accompanied by a music video, in which Dre and Cube are in a high-speed chase on the run from SWAT and other law enforcement agencies after committing a string of murders. Ditching the car and escaping into a warehouse, the pair are surrounded by fire and brimstone and channel the energy of demonic spirits as the building is surrounded, making for one of the more fear-inducing gangster rap videos of all time.
3 | "Tha Crossroads," Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
With songs like "Ouija" in their catalog, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's music and aura has always had a spooky and mysterious undertone to it. However, the group really gave rap fans the heebie-jeebies when they released the music video to their 1996 hit "Tha Crossroads," a clip that captured members of the group coming face-to-face with the reaper of death himself. Directed by Michael Martin, "Tha Crossroads" music video is a cinematic view at mortality that is as bone-chilling as it gets.
4 | "Murder Was The Case," Snoop Dogg
A classic case of art imitating life occurred when Snoop Dogg released the video for "Murder Was the Case," the 1994 single inspired by the rapper's battle for his freedom. However, while Snoop and his bodyguard were accused by the prosecution of being behind the trigger, the video depicts Snoop as being on the wrong side of the gun and on the brink of death, before making a deal with the devil in exchange for eternal life. Directed by Fab 5 Freddy, the "Murder Was the Case" music video, ends at Snoop Dogg's fictional grave site, with the rapper giving the camera an ominous glass while buried alive in his casket, a haunting ending to a rap video if there ever was one.
5 | "Hail Mary," 2Pac ft. The Outlawz
Hip-hop's version of singing Candyman in the mirror is listening to 2Pac's classic single "Hail Mary" alone on a dark and stormy night, as the latter is sure to induce a certain amount of fear in those faint of heart. However, the actual music video to "Hail Mary" is equally spooky, as it depicts an inmate framed for 2Pac's murder channeling the spirit of Makaveli, who wreaks havoc on those responsible for his death. Aside from the death of his rivals and the air of suspense, the fact that the video was released in the wake of 2Pac's death added an extra layer of macabre to this classic music visual.
6 | "I Seen A Man Die," Scarface
Notorious for his infatuation with the afterlife and mortality, Scarface touched on these topics on numerous songs throughout his catalog, one of the more notable being the rapper's 1994 single, "I Seen a Man Die," from his third studio album, The Diary. The music video spins the tale of a man recently released from prison, only to meet his demise due to his return to a life of crime, and captures Scarface playing the role of the grim reaper laying roses upon the bodies of dead victims and paying visits to those on the brink of death.
7 | "Bonfire," Childish Gambino
When the main character in a music video wakes up with a noose around their neck, coughing up blood, it's safe to say that something frightening might be amiss. Such is the case with the accompanying visual to "Bonfire," the lead single from Childish Gambino's debut album, Camp, in which Gambino finds himself in the middle of bumblefuck and attempting to warn camp-goers of the impending danger that awaits them. The video, which was directed by Dan Eckman, ends with a plot twist that leaves viewers in a state of suspense and left to determine their own interpretation behind its meaning, but captures all of the bells and whistles that embody any classic horror flick.
8 | "Time 4 Sum Aksion," Redman
Redman has been known as one of the more entertaining rappers of his generation, and that charismatic nature has bled into the music videos inspired by his song, dating all the way back to the clip for his 1992 single "Time 4 Sum Aksion." Cast as a psychiatric patient under the care of Dr. Trevis, Redman is strapped to a chair against his will as part of an experiment in which the evil doctor attempts to extract all of the "unnecessary anger" out of his system. The experiment, which signals visuals of the Ku Klux Klan bearing torches and other triggering images, proves to be too much for Redman, who nearly succumbs to his thoughts before the procedure is abruptly cut short. The first music video to showcase Redman's rambunctious personality and willingness to get into character, "Time 4 Sum Aksion" is a clip sure to leave viewers' minds blown and hip-hop's version of a mad man possessed by the forces of evil.
9 | Jean Grae, "Kill Screen"
Jean Grae is one of the more ambitious artists on the indie circuit when it comes to pairing her songs with captivating visuals with a conceptual twist. In 2012, Grae gifted her fans with an unexpected treat by unveiling the grisly music video for "Kill Screen," the bonus track from the New Yorker's Gotham Down Deluxe project. "Kill Screen" opens up with a battered and bloody Grae left for dead, and the raptress scatters bits and pieces of the backstory of her demise throughout the video, making for a thriller of a visual that captures the Halloween spirit.
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