Scum’s black soul

SCUM: Dying World Chroniclez: Black Soulz

Release year: 2022
Label: Lyrikal Snuff Productionz

When talking about horrorcore, the first (and sometimes only!) association many have will be juggalos and Insane Clown Posse. Now, true, the oft-maligned duo from Detroit and the subculture that has sprung up around them are a major player in the horrorcore scene, but they’re far from the only ones.

The label Lyrikal Snuff Productionz is another home of horrorcore, featuring a small throng of somewhat lesser known artists on their roster. The rather prolific label releases music from artists such as Claas, Smallz One, Insane Poetry, Dark Half and more – all artists who are wont to feature on each others’ records, creating a trademark sound for the label. Label founder and owner Scum, who’s been releasing stuff under that moniker since the early noughties, is one of the most prolific artists on the label.

Many Lyrikal Snuff artists seem to have a somewhat similar approach to their beats, Scum included: leaning towards the stripped-down and minimalist, often it’s a beat and some straighforward horror-influenced synth line or such. Comparing to the rather fleshed out production of, say, Alla Xul Elu, the production on this album comes across as even rudimentary.

This is of course a rather tried-and-true, traditional approach in rap, and helps place the vocal delivery in the centre. Scum’s trademark style remains intact: often he leans towards a slightly slower delivery, clearly enunciated, his gruff voice spitting out lines more in vicious bursts than a steady, constant delivery of syllables. If you ask me – and since you’re here, you are – he has a style well suited for horrorcore.

Dying World Chroniclez: Black Soulz is the third installment in the Dying World Chroniclez series, following hot in the heels of Grey Skiez and Red Groundz, both released in 2021. Quite what the over-arching concept of this series is, I don’t know, but obviously it’s nothing happy or cheery. Gore, violence, doom and gloom is the lyrical focus of Scum – in this series, and elsewhere as well.

Scum’s discography features an album every other year or so, in addition to his other projects such as M.M.M.F.D. (a duo consisting of Scum and Insane Poetry) and numerous visits on other people’s, particularly labelmates’, albums. Considering the man is as prolific as he is, it will maybe come as no surprise that Black Soulz does not stand out from his lengthy discography – neither for better nor for worse. Comparing to other albums from recent years, it is pretty much on the same level, stylistically as well as qualitatively.

The album does feature a couple of highlights, with opening track Keep It Bloody being the strongest one – thanks to the hilarious chorus “I’m gonna keep it bloody like an abortion clinic trash bag”. That’s one of those moments when you just have to stop for a second take upon first hearing it. Another highlight is the bilingual Tx4L: Russian works surprisingly well in rap, especially with Scum’s gruff delivery. Overall though, the album is of an even but maybe somewhat samey quality. Few highs, but no real lows – solid Lyrikal Snuff horrocore, in other words.

The rather obvious takeaway from the above is this: the relevance of the album depends entirely on how much you like Scum, and how over-saturated your collection is with Scum. Obviously, if you love Scum, you need this album – and if you hate him, this album will do nothing to change your mind. If you are somewhere in the middle of these two, and feel like you could fit another Scum album into your collection, then this will do quite nicely. It’s got one major thing going for it: unlike many Lyrikal Snuff releases, this is a real CD, not a pro-printed CDr.

I guess you could characterize Scum as a reliable horrorcore workhorse. He’s been putting out albums with a steady pace for almost 20 years now. Few of the albums are cornerstones of the genre, but he’s kept a respectably even quality to them. He’s built a solid and loyal following throughout the years, but has never risen to the absolute forefront of the scene. And there’s something very respectworthy in that: doing your own thing, with consistency and obvious dedication, regardless of whether it grants you reknown and fortune.

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