Hip-hop’s fascination with the occult is far from new. Although contentious, rappers have often faced accusations of taking part in activities of the occult to further advance their careers. Much of it has yet to be proven true but the conspiracies continue to spiral online. But, by the mid-’80s, these characteristics typically associated with horror movies bled into hip-hop’s very DNA with the emergence of horrorcore. Although largely considered a niche, it’s a subgenre that had widespread influence on the sound of hip-hop, even during the poppiest of eras for Young Money.
Shortly after the release of Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne embarked on a journey to prop up the talented roster on Young Money. Drake and Nicki Minaj, obviously, exceeded their mentor while Tyga’s maturity accelerated post-“Coconut Juice.” Then, there was the abundance of buzzing artists who delivered underrated bodies of work that floated through the mixtape circuit. Artists like Jae Millz, Lil Twist, Cory Gunz, and Gudda Gudda, who is forever haunted by his verse on “Bedrock,” where he raps, “I got her n***a, grocery bag.” Similar to Nicki Minaj’s sideburn line, no one has an idea what Gudda meant exactly. However, it really shouldn’t be a career-defining moment, especially when he released projects like Guddaville.
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Guddaville’s Spooky Attraction
The debut project from Gudda Gudda served as an introductory point for the Young Money alum. An underrated mixtape in the midst of the flurry of YMCMB rappers waiting for their turn to shine, Gudda stood tall next to his Young Money compadres including Lil Wayne on numerous tracks.
“Sacrifice,” specifically, became an immediate highlight of the project that transformed the projects of Hollygrove and 9th Ward into a bloodfest. It’s a song that is often overlooked but as we approach the Halloween season, it feels necessary to revisit. The eerie production sets the stage for the track, with a haunting melody and foreboding sounds that create an atmosphere reminiscent of B-List horror movies that gained a cult-like legacy. Gudda Gudda, Mack Maine, Lil Wayne, and Shanell charge the dark undertones of Honorable C.N.O.T.E.’s excellent production, equipped with grueling howls and baleful cackles, which create an instant sense of unease with a hair-raising vocal sample and hellish drum patterns that accentuate the urgency.
Gudda sets the tone with the first verse, where he delivers a descriptive image of a nether region that breeds fear, vengeance, and torment, down to the scent of burning flesh. “I cut your arm off and tell you to reach/ Then I cut your tongue off, and I tell you to speak,” he raps viciously. “My n****as in the circle, in the middle of the bonfire/ They quick to become arsonists and set you on fire.” Although Gudda Gudda might not come across as the most lyrical individual on Young Money or even the song itself, his grisly descriptions rip through the haunting production.
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 17: Lil Wayne and Gudda Gudda performs at the Amazon Music Live Concert Series on November 17, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Amazon Music)
However, it’s Lil Wayne who comes through with a show-stealing verse where he declares himself to be the Wes Craven of hip-hop. If there’s one underemphasized attribute in Lil Wayne’s catalog, it’s his conviction. On “Sacrifice,” his voice is lather by auto-tune in a way that adds further intensity to his delivery. He snarls maniacal threats, painting himself as a villainous mad-hatter with a collection of bodies and a cannibalistic thirst that parallels his desire to become the greatest rapper alive. “But I’m Eastside ’til I reside in the grave/ And you walk in my basement, see the bodies I’m saving/ Bloodbath flow, and it’s time for some bathin’,” he raps.
With the addition of Mack Maine in the final verse, Shanell’s excellent performance ties the song together with a ghostly amount of reverb on her vocals. It’s a ghastly presence that ties the song together, bridging Gudda Gudda’s vengeance-fueled 16 and Lil Wayne’s macabre portrayal of his villainous alter-ego. With Halloween around the corner, “Sacrifice” stands as an underrated cut from the Young Money arsenal, one that feels like the equivalent of a B-List horror movie that only gained a cult following years later.