Visions of Bodies Being Burned is a horrorcore rap album by clipping., weaving together scary tales by Daveed Diggs and friends. Originally the album was intended as an accompanying piece to last year’s release of There Existed an Addiction to Blood, but with the COVID-19 pandemic and a year of delays, the horror sequel was released in time for 2020’s Halloween season.
“Check the Lock” particularly pops off with a thrilling beat that carries eerie suspense as paranoia takes over the protagonist. Daveed Diggs raps, “Something in this room didn’t used to be/ Gin bottle to the face, can’t fool the G/ Laughing at him, he ain’t ever scared though/ But he check the lock every time he walk by the door.” It is a horror tale without otherworldly monsters, and the suspense is based on the ever-present dangers faced by a gangster.
Producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson construct the horror ambiance while Daveed Diggs narrates the tales. Most of the album is conducted in the third person with a described protagonist facing danger in an urban setting. Featured artists play their own first-person characters, like Cam & China who invigorate the final-girl motif in the song, “’96 Neve Campbell”. Another notable feature is from Ho99o9, with the hardcore punk duo crashing landing into the back half of “Looking Like Meat” like a pair of lunatics escaped from the asylum. With the multiple characters throughout, Visions of Bodies Being Burned visits a wide array of horror sets to build haunting hip hop.
As an anthology, each song is its own distinct horror with a change of pace for each tale. The lead single, “Say the Name” sounds like an ode to the carnage of Candyman. “Pain Everyday” featuring Michael Esposito taps into the angry vengeance of ghosts left to rot as the world and their assailants move on. “Enlacing” takes on drug-fueled dread as the call to the fast life wastes the characters away like Requiem for a Dream. From eighties camp slashers to the psychological thrillers of today, clipping. explores a large palette of fear.
Occasionally Visions of Bodies Being Burned drifts off into instrumentals and interludes that drag on for a bit, especially after a few listens when the novelty has worn off. “Make Them Dead” begins and ends with long stretches of static that are a strain to hear. “Drove” is audio from a herd of crowded livestock, probably on their way to the slaughterhouse. While experimental, these long interludes distract from the main narrative powered by Daveed Diggs and accompanying artists.
If you are looking for spooky tales in an urban setting, or if you want more of Daveed Diggs’s music in your life, then Visions of Bodies Being Burned and its predecessor There Existed an Addiction to Blood are for you. While Halloween may be wrapped up and over, there are still a few months of 2020 left that are sure to be unsettling.