April 12, 2024

Candyman’s Undeniable Impact On Hip-Hop


Horror and Hip Hop have had a longstanding relationship that really became visible in the mid-80s. The genre, in particular, might be regarded as a niche in the film industry but it’s similarly carved out a lane of its own within hip-hop, i.e. horrorcore. Franchises like Friday the 13th and Halloween have stamped their cultural imprint in hip-hop since the 80s. Meanwhile, groups like Three 6 Mafia embraced horror movies, which is entirely evident in their catalog.

The 1992 movie, Candyman might not be the most widely celebrated horror film of all time. However, it holds a special place in hip-hop culture. At a time when horror movies failed to showcase much diversity, Candyman filled the void, delivering a horror film that’s rooted in the horrific social ills that plague America. Moreover, Candyman showcases how social and political topics that are often found in hip-hop can be similarly explored through other mediums, such as the horror genre.

Read More: Tony Todd Net Worth 2023: What Is The “Candyman” Icon Worth?

What Is Candyman?

Candyman is a 1992 horror film directed by Bernard Rose, and based on Clive Barker’s short story, The Forbidden. Set in Chicago, it revolves around the legend of the Candyman. The titular character is a hook-handed phantom who is summoned when his name is repeated five times in front of a mirror. However, the legend of Candyman traces its roots back to the era of slavery in the United States. 

The character’s tragic fate is also intertwined with a forbidden romance. In the story, Candyman falls in love with a white woman, a relationship deemed unacceptable by the racist society of the time. As a result, he faces brutal punishment, and his hand is severed and replaced with a hook. Subsequently, he is covered in honey and left to be stung to death by bees. 

The film also explores the power of the urban legend and its impact on a community, blurring the line between myth and reality. The narrative delves into the psychology of fear and belief, showing how collective fear can manifest supernatural entities. In summary, Candyman’s backstory is rooted in social inequalities and historical injustices.

Despite its limited success, the movie has since gained a cult following, and become a cultural phenomenon. Over the years, it has inspired discussions about urban legends and Black folklore. However, one unique way that Candyman has grown on people is through its influence on Hip Hop.   

Read More: Jordan Peele Believes “Candyman” Needs To Be Told “From A Black Perspective”

Candyman & Hip Hop: An Unlikely Duo 

One of the most popular mentions of Candyman in Hip Hop is on 2Pac’s song, “Troublesome ’96.” On the track, the MC raps the lyrics, “Say my name three times like Candyman, bet I roll on your ass like an avalanche.” Although it’s not exactly five times, 2Pac’s message comes across loud and clear: like Candyman, he is not one to mess with.

Kendrick Lamar famously referenced Candyman on “ELEMENT.,” a track from his critically acclaimed album DAMN. In the latter part of the song, he raps, “Just say his name and I promise that you’ll see Candyman.” Similar to ‘Pac, Kendrick aligns his vengeful side with Candyman. At a time when he was gunning for hip-hop’s throne, he made it clear that he would murder the career of any rapper that dared mention his name, similar to Candyman.

Phillip Glass’ “Music Box” Legacy

The eerie soundtrack of the Candyman movie has also been sampled in Hip Hop music. Speaking to IGN, the film’s score composer, Phillip Glass, shared that he still makes good money off the soundtrack. While largely attributed to the film’s popularity, there’s no doubt that several acclaimed rappers and producers have transformed the eerie soundtrack into undeniable bangers.

A prime example of this decades-long relevance can be heard in Travis Scott’s 2014 mixtape, Days Before Rodeo. In the intro, “The Prayer,” Travis samples Glass’ “Music Box” from the Candyman movie soundtrack. That same year, Big Sean sampled the song on “1st Quarter Freestyle.” Similarly, the remix of Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” ft. Lil Wayne, produced by Timbaland, also sneaks in a sample of “Music Box.” Producers typically incorporate these samples to create a haunting atmosphere in their tracks, paying homage to the film’s impact. This is one of the many ways in which the film’s score has maintained popularity several decades later.

Read More: Friday The 13th: 5 Must-Watch Movies


Hip Hop artists often use intricate storytelling techniques, akin to the narrative style of horror movies. Candyman has since influenced the development of layered storytelling in Hip Hop lyrics, enhancing the genre’s depth and complexity. Also, as aforementioned, Candyman delves into social issues including race and urban decay, and Hip Hop, a genre born from marginalized communities, often addresses similar themes. Thus, the film’s impact on Hip Hop can be seen in the way artists incorporate these social commentaries into their lyrics. 


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