Skip to content

A Short History Of Metal And Hip-Hop’s Greatest Crossovers

  • by

One thing hip-hop heads and metalheads share is a fierce defensive reflex when it comes to musical culture. When a perceived outsider attempts to representative their mode of dress, embrace their vernacular, or otherwise suitable from their scene, the impulse to snap and nab it back overwhelms. Such protectiveness plays a crucial role in both genres’ endurance through the years and their continued survival as the digital age offers myriad opportunities for gaffes and outrage.

Still, the sad byproduct of these prickly traditions comes by means of an artificial desire by some in the particular camps of severe music and rap to keep things separated, with race concerns certainly playing a complicated part because divisive mindset. This tends to obscure one important fact, that both scenes have had decades worth of fruitful cooperation with one another, from studio-based manufacturers and home-taught musicians to lyrical spitters and profound errors.

Testing holds an essential place in hip-hop’s origin story, one that begins in the 1970s with unifying territorial New York City gangs through the social methods of celebrations helmed by the famous similarity DJ Kool Herc. Amongst his contributions, he’s credited with looping of the hardest varieties of then-contemporary funk and rock for the functions of these gatherings, giving the individuals something to dance to that they might or may not have had the ability to trainspot. Provided this, the subsequent development of new music from existing vinyl records made the melding of metal with the emerging emcee-featured sound of rap appears nearly an inevitability in hindsight. This is how you wind up with Hit man Howie T sampling Bad Brains and others on Chubb Rock’s launching album, with Tony G copping a Santana classic for Mellow Man Ace’s Mentirosa, and 2 Live Team nabbing Van Halen riffage for The Fuck Shop, among numerous other examples.

What’s fascinating, nevertheless, is that Run-DMC, one of the biggest jobs of the hip-hop’s early-to-mid 1980s arrival on the nationwide stage, employed live guitars in much of their groundbreaking work. Eddie Martinez played his axe on several of the group’s singles, the majority of which appear on their very first two albums, and also recorded contemporaneously with David Lee Roth on the Van Halen vocalist’s 1985 EP Crazy From The Heat. He would later work with acid rock legend Jim Steinman, both with and without Meat Loaf.

Undoubtedly, a few of the rap-meets-rock crossover minutes of have been transparently industrial, the apparent brainstorms of record label executives looking up from the lines of powder on their desks. Run DMC’s Aerosmith team-up Walk This Way certainly comes to mind, as does the Chuck D featured Anthrax reinterpretation Bring The Sound. No matter the provenance, however, these tracks extremely clearly provided young listeners permission to reconcile their interests in both worlds, setting the stage for the rap metal of the 1990s.

Inspired by the similarity Self-destructive Propensities, Ice‑T and his longtime buddy Ernie C started Body Count at the height of the rapper’s profession, debuting their namesake song on his OG Original Gangster album. For their eponymous and underrated 1992 debut, he brought the socio-politically charged streetwise viewpoints of his previous records to a choice of doomy riffs and hardcore tempos. That same year, Rage Against The Machine dropped their album debut, making waves with resonant leftist anthems. Seeing bands incorporate the cadences of hip-hop with the heaviness of metal swung open the door for the true cross-genre cooperations soon to come.

Biohazard, a Brooklyn band that hardly concealed a deep connection to its home town’s hip-hop, teamed up with aggressive Queens rap team Onyx for a joint reinterpretation of the latter’s hit Slam. While the action flick might not rank extremely in cinematic circles, the matching soundtrack proved one of the decade’s touchpoints by means of a number of similar collective cuts, including Helmet and House Of Pain’s Simply Another Victim, Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.’s Another Body Killed, and a medley of Made use of songs by Slayer and Ice‑T.

Pushed by success, 1990s rap manufacturers weren’t shy about sampling from difficult rock and metal records either, no doubt with crossover in mind. Not content simply to crib from Led Zeppelin, Puff Daddy went one much better and tapped Jimmy Page for his single Come With Me, an interpolation of Kashmir with added bass by Rage’s Tom Morello. Taken from the Godzilla motion picture soundtrack, the track proved a considerable hit, reaching No. 4 on the Signboard Hot 100.

Later that decade, as more identifiable rap metal imitates Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit became significant label prospects, the possibilities for further intermingling grew. Korn made a California connection with N.W.A. alum Ice for 1998’s Children Of The Korn. Likewise, Boogie Down Productions legend KRS-One joined Shifty Shellshock and the Crazy Town crew for B‑Boy 2000 off 1999’s The Present Of Game.

Well before many of these relative new jacks with backwards caps showed up, Cypress Hill, a group that frequently mixed metallic noises in their stoner fare, regularly interacted and partnered with metal acts, as Sen Pet dog did on How It Is with Biohazard in 1994. They officially took upon the burgeoning rap metal moment with 2000’s Skull & Bones, bringing in heavy guests like Rage’s Brad Wilk and half of Fear Factory. With the support of Deftones’ Chino Moreno, the album yielded a game-changing single in Rock Super star, giving them higher traction with acid rock and punk audiences they continue to take pleasure in to this day.

With rap artist Mike Shinoda claiming co-frontman responsibilities together with vocalist Chester Bennington, Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory marks one of the couple of records of this nu metal duration that hasn’t been outright dismissed by today’s listeners. The Midwest team’s credibility reached their 2002 set of remixes and redos called Reanimation, which boasted appearances by a lot of hip-hop notables such as Alchemist, Black Idea, and Pharoahe Monch in addition to a single combined by Orgy. That apparent regard for the category made the Jay‑Z mash-up EP Clash much more of an occasion, with its entwined take on hits from both acts.

Reaction to the nu metal spitters like Fred Durst sent metal artists running far away from what was viewed as a trend, as opposed to the conclusion of years of shared influence and adoration. Few artists in the distancing scenes had time for one another.

Still, millennials raised in the ruins of these category collabs lacked much of the surrounding preconceptions, which has actually moved the 2010s towards rebuilding. Teenaged SoundCloud rap artists began sporting Marilyn Manson t‑shirts and extreme tattoos. Some even used metal motifs in their music, as has actually ended up being common in the trap metal hybrids of City Morgue and Ghostmane. Artists with seniority have continued to play to their strengths by restoring the team-ups of old. One standout, Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog formed Powerflo with some of his buddies from Biohazard, Downset, and Fear Factory, dropping a full-length in the summertime of 2017. Tracks like Where I Stay harken back to the traditional while gaining from up-to-date production worths. Ultimately, with a young generation’s open mindedness and the tenacity of veterans, we’re likely approaching a new dawn in hip-hop and heavy metal partnerships.