Heavy metal artists and fans alike consider death frontman Chuck Schuldiner as the most significant force in the genre that came to be known as “Death Metal”. From the sheer brutality of “Scream Bloody Gore” to the technical wizardry of “Symbolic”, Schuldiner constantly took metal in directions it had never been before. However, what few headbangers realize is that Schuldiner is a legend of equal or even greater status in the Southern hip-hop scene.
Rapper Juicy J, seen wearing a 1991 era Spiritual Healing tour shirt in the video for his song “That What A Pimp Does”, recently recalled how Death’s music was a major influence on his decision to begin his musical career with several of his friends.
“Paul (DJ Paul), Richard (Lord Infamous) and I were sitting around discussing the merits of Keynesian economics. Richard was really into the whole Austrian, invisible hand scene at the time and was going on and on about methodological individualism. Now, Paul and myself were strictly Frankfurt School guys and had been reading heavy amounts of Marcuse and Horkheimer at the time, so we weren’t hearing it. As you an probably imagine, things were starting to get heated.”
“Anyway, we had on Death ‘Leprosy’ in the background and the song ‘Pull The Plug’ came on. The whole conversation stopped and we were mesmerized. A week later, we started Three 6 Mafia.”
According to Paste magazine editor Atticus Flinch, Three 6 Mafia is hardly the only rap group that was inspired by Death. “It’s hard to not hear a little bit of Schuldiner’s work on nearly every record that’s come out of the so-called “Dirty South” over the past twenty some odd years. Be it the 808 kick drums, the auto-tune vocals, the gritty, nihilistic lyrics about the everyday struggles associated with urban life or the frantically-paced, melodic guitar solos. Pick up anything from Waka Flaka Flame to Souljah Boy and you’ll see Schuldiner’s fingerprints all over it.”
The tribute record was put together by Chicago based rapper Chief Keef, but will feature some of the top names in hip hop as guest artists including the man some have taken to calling “Evil Chuck Jr.”, producing icon Shawty Redd. Shawty, whose name in real life is Preternatural Transmogrifyer, was 10 years old when “Individual Thought Patterns” first came out.
“I remember asking my parents over and over again to take me to the store to buy that album. At the time, I was deeply interested in gardening. I used to play ‘Cosmic Sea’ off of ‘Human’ to my begonias at night to help them grow. I remember running into my bedroom when we got back from Sam Goody and hearing that crazy opening from ‘Overactive Imagination’ and knowing, at that moment, the true meaning of love.”
“Trappin’ Da Corner” is due to drop on June 12th. If you see it on the floor, please pick it up and place it back on the shelf or, better, find a customer service person to help you find the correct place to put it.