Yesterday in the mail I received my first Christmas music promo CD of the year. That's the cover above. I love Christmas music. I've paid Starbucks to give it to me in CD form. I thought A Very Kacey Christmas was iconic, and I'm looking forward to what Sia does with the genre. But I’m not breaking out the Charlie Brown soundtrack just yet, because even though Halloween has passed, I'm still only listening to Memphis horrorcore. I still only listen to devil shit.
Lil Grimm is my favorite producer of the genre, best known for his work in the ’90s in the legendary Children of the Corn collective, which he helped form when he was in high school. There are a few other tapes from Grimm, or Grim as it’s often spelled, floating around on YouTube — he did the beats on Teflon’s Westwood Click from 1995, and released his own Blackhouse Underground Mix in ’97, which isn’t even spooky so much as it is just heartbreaking.
Grimm’s best work can be found on his epic Graveyard Productions album, The Havoc (which is sometimes misattributed to DJ Paul, a testament to the young producer's oversized talent). In a great recent interview with Gino Sorcinelli, Grimm remembers lacing Havoc with samples from a Halloween themed cassette — chains rattling and ghostly howls, like you’d play in a haunted house — that he picked up at the dollar store. Legendary!
A lot of horrorcore is written off as fantasy, but Grimm, who also rapped, brought such a realness to even his most far-out songs. He has a part on “Devil Shit” that, for me, as someone who has effectively strayed from a deeply religious family, hits about as close to home as any lyric ever could: “Should I go before my God and ask him to forgive my sins? / Should I worship devil shit and burn eternally again? / Can't you hear it in my voice? This shit will never disappear.”