Acid rap is a subgenre of hip hop which fuses rock-based beats and lyrics involving subjects such as death, drug use, evil, paranoia and sex. The term was first coined by Detroit rapper Esham, who defined the genre as analogous to "'modern day blues [or] heavy metal'",[1]

Esham has been cited as one of the innovators of the genre,[2][3] and compared his lyrical content to hallucinations induced by LSD.[3] Acid rap has also been described as a fusion of hip hop beats and death metal lyrics,[3] and Esham's music has also been cited as an example of "horrorcore" hip hop.[4]

The hip hop group Inner City Posse adopted the acid rap style as a means of distinguishing themselves stylistically from other hardcore hip hop groups, under the suggestion of member Joseph Bruce, who also gave the group its new name, Insane Clown Posse.[5] According to author Cheryl Lynette Keyes, Esham's "metal sound with a hip-hop feel" formed the musical basis for acts such as Kid Rock, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Everlast, and Kottonmouth Kings.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Keyes, Cheryl Lynette (2002). "Blending and Shaping Styles: Rap and Other Musical Voices". Rap Music and Street Consciousness. University of Illinois Press. p. 108. ISBN 0252072014, 9780252072017. "Advancing the marriage of heavy metal and rap is Detroit's underground artist, Esham, who is credited for "acid rap." Esham defines acid rap as analogus to "'modern day blues [or] heavy metal'" (quoted in Alert 2000:107)." 
  2. All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip-hop. Backbeat Books. 2003. pp. 160–163. ISBN 0879307595. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 McLeod, Rodd (March 2, 2000). "The Wicket World of Natas". Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2008-07-19. 
  4. Cohen, Sara (2007). Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music Culture: Beyond The Beatles. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. p. 52. ISBN 0754632431. "The music journalist and author Dan Sicko describes certain strains of Detroit hip-hop as 'an extreme, almost parodied' version of inner city life, which he links to the extremities of urban decline in the city: 'both the horrorcore of hip-hop outfits such as Insane Clown Posse, Esham and (to a lesser extent) the multi-platinum-selling Eminem, utilize shocking (and blatantly over the top narratives to give an over-exaggerated, almost cartoon-like version of urban deprivation in Detroit' (cited in Cohen and Strachan, 2005)." 
  5. Bruce, Joseph; Hobey Echlin. "The Dark Carnival". in Nathan Fostey. ICP: Behind the Paint (2nd Edition ed.). Royal Oak, Michigan: Psychopathic Records. pp. 174–185. ISBN 034544762X. 

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