He may have been around for over a decade now, but “horrorcore” rapper Necro has managed to maintain a presence in recent times, even if not always for particularly pleasant reasons. Earlier in the year, his name was brought up in the criminal case surrounding the death of Tori Stafford, a truly grisly and upsetting occurrence, which, unfortunately probably gave him a great deal of exposure amongst a group who really had no particular business with him at all. It goes without saying that links between musicians and tragedies such as these are trivial and without merit; however, while it of course says nothing about the nature of Necro’s music, it does throw into focus why certain groups would jump on the chance to implicate him somehow as soon as his name came up.
Necro makes music that is in many ways willfully unpleasant. This unpleasantness manifests itself chiefly in his lyricism, which is often given over to graphically violent outbursts and threats. While this content ensures that he isn’t going to find himself hanging up any platinum plaques any time soon, you could be forgiven for thinking that his grisly demeanor may serve him well at the current juncture that hip-hop finds itself. Hip-hop has always had a place in its heart for violence, but with Spaceghostpurrp and Odd Future currently gaining so many column inches for exploring the genres murkier corners, it may be the most opportune moment in a long while for Necro to have a late career bloom.
If that’s the case, this certainly isn’t it though. The darkness in Necro’s music possesses none of the gonzo humour or identifiably youthful angst of OF, nor the carefully constructed menace of Purrp’s. Rather, Necro transplants the gruesome vulgarity (and aesthetic choices) of death metal, resulting in music that’s more likely to illicit a roll of the eyes than a shocked gasp. The problem is that it’s entirely humorless–the outrageous gore being spat with all the unappealing self-seriousness of Immortal Technique. The guy can certainly rap: he has a relatively masterful flow that can make you sit up and take notice, especially when it’s riding one of his better beats. It’s telling that the albums most compelling moments are actually those in which Necro strays into more traditional street hustle or battle rap territory, like the opening salvo of “Toxsik Waltz” and “The System”. For much of the run time, however, he’s wasting his time on the likes of the clumsily chorused, thoroughly unappealing “Sharon’s Fetus (The Pre-Kill)” (ugh) or the over-the-top silliness of “Gore!”
This isn’t to say you won’t get anything from this album: alongside being a more than capable rapper, Necro can also be a pretty great producer: don’t forget that this is the guy who crafted the excellent instrumental used on Mr. Muthafukin’ eXquire’s “Huzzah!”. Throughout this album Necro mines his familiar line of classic NY boom-bap with a dusty coating of added menace, over a set of beats that ranges in quality from alright to (actually) pretty great. This is a comfort, in that this record doesn’t go anywhere towards dampening expectations of his forthcoming collaborative album with Kool G Rap, who appears here. That record will most likely benefit from having a more measured, cerebral lyricist spitting over beats like this. Until then, though, you’ll have to put up with a lot of overblown, violent bluster in order to appreciate Necro’s mastery of his craft.