Known to the world as a hip hop label, Strange Music has always found ways to bring listeners new and exciting releases. In 2004, the independent label took a risk when it partnered with Prozak and Mike E. Clark to release their group album, Project:Deadman’s Self Inflicted. Rooted in horrorcore and themes of death, the album was without a doubt one the darkest releases to come out of Strange Music at the time. Backed by Mike E. Clark’s famed production, the album gave way for Prozak to break through to a new fan base and establish himself as one of the most gifted artists to ever appear on a Strange Music release. The album would go on to forever change the future of horrorcore on Strange Music and prove to stand the test of time.
At the time of release, Self Inflicted had garnered a significant amount of buzz from the underground. Prozak had long been established in the undergound horrorcore scene with his former group, Bedlam. Mike E. Clark known for his extensive work with the Insane Clown Posse, helped the project gain some notoriety. The release of Self Inflicted would mark the first official horrorcore release from Strange Music. By 2004, Strange Music had already released several albums including Tech N9ne’s Anghellic and Absolute Power. While these albums shared some similarites to the dark themes found on Self Inflicted, none of them pushed the boundaries of horrorcore the way Prozak and Mike E. Clark managed to. Death, suicide, homicide, religion and all forms of violence shaped the sounds of Project Deadman. Mike E. Clark’s dreary and ominous production painted images of hell and human suffering. The very sounds of the album reinvented what horrorcore could sound like. Prozak’s lyricism focused on storytelling and expressing the bleak outlook of human life. This was not a shock tactic release, but rather a carefully crafted album that Tech N9ne and Travis O’ Guin saw something special in. Prozak and Mike E. Clark had come together for seventeen tracks of nothing but darkness, and fans loved it.
In retrospect, it’s fair to say that Project:Deadman opened the door for horrorcore on Strange Music. In the years that followed, Prozak would go on to release a solo album, Grave Plott would sign to the label and release their only Strange Music album, and of course, Brotha Lynch Hung would eventually bring his cannibalistic ways to the label. Even Tech N9ne took things to the darkside with 2009’s K.O.D., his ode to all things evil. Fans continue to wonder when they will finally get their hands on the follow up to Self Inflicted. Perhaps it’s time for Project:Deadman to once again grab their shovels and dig up some twisted tales straight from the depths of hell. It’s all just make believe after all…isn’t it?
-Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music
Follow Victor on Twitter: @VicMSandoval