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a modern graveyard smash

a boogie, to reflect the times

By justine taylorPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 8 min read
a modern graveyard smash
Photo by Luke Southern on Unsplash

When I hear graveyard smash, my first thought is of the music at the Halloween party the kids' parents went to in Disney's Hocus Pocus. This playlist though, contains music different than what we've been accustomed to over the years, the '90s especially. Music and horror have evolved, and the slow, dark and heavy beats that follow reflect just that. These songs are sure to get you moving, ladies and vamps, so grab your tequila and turn this up underneath the moon. Happy Halloween ya freaks!

Listen to the Spotify playlist here

1. Robert Glasper - Endangered Black Woman

As a Black woman living in America my nightmares look a lot different than your typical ghouls and ghosts, this song and the spoken word at the end especially, encapsulate just a small piece of that horror and the rage that accompanies it.

Spoken word by Staceyann Chin

"Everybody with whom we have come into contact has systematically taken advantage of us. History is only a testimony to our ability to make music from noise. Just watch how we move when we're moving How we keep loving unworthy partners, Raising children with little help from anybody. No love, no respect from the suspicious white woman who criticizes the way we mother our children while they pay us almost nothing for mothering theirs. I don't even have time to address the fetishized hatred we endure from white men. So you'll forgive me if I don't give a fuck about your cooperation of feelings. Fuck you for wanting me to hold you while you sink your racist, sexist knives into my already bleeding back. Fuck you for needing me to absolve you or your many many sins against me. Fuck you for putting everybody's needs before my own: black men, white men, black women, the fucking dog, the cat, my boss, the neighbor's rabbit, the fucking government, the endangered fucking turtles. Why are everybody's needs more urgent than my own, when do we worry about me, my feelings, my needs, my rights, my body, my safety, my fucking life. When do we begin to send to the endangered black woman I am thinking the time is now and saying the time is now Not tomorrow, not next week, not fucking next year. I say we begin here, now, today, this minute and say: Fuck your countless indifference, your hesitation, my time is now, my feelings are now, make time for them, make space for them, deal with your race shit, your gender shit, your sexuality shit now before we set fire to everything we take care of for you, set fire to everything and watch the whole lot of it burn."

2. D'Angelo and the Vanguard - 1000 Deaths

After a 14 year hiatus, D'Angelo released his third studio album titled Black Messiah in December of 2014. The intro contains two monologues, that of Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and Fred Hampton who states

"Black people need some peace, white people need some peace And we are going to have to fight, we're going to have to struggle, we're going to have to struggle relentlessly to bring about some peace because the people that we're asking for peace, they're a bunch of megalomaniac war - mongers, and they don't even understand what peace means."

3. JMSN - Act Like I'm Not Here

Halloween is all about being scared, enjoying the night with the intention of experiencing fear which is typically not an emotion felt on a regular basis. Again I wanted this playlist to feel dark, and gloomy, with heavy and deep tones. I added this pick from JMSN because of the guitars, most important being the bass, and the pleas of a love lost.

I see the truth in your eyes There's no sеnse in lying You've already madе up your mind So don't mind me Just act like I'm not here

4. Alice Smith - Sinnerman

Sinnerman is an African American spiritual or gospel song, that has been recorded by numerous artists over the years, most notably being Nina Simone in 1965. Alice Smith has the most recent rendition, remade for the critically acclaimed (and snubbed) Lovecraft Country.

5. Dr. John - I Walk on Guilded Splinters

What is Halloween without paying homage to New Orleans, a famed area in the diaspora for Voodoo. Dr. John himself has said that the inspiration for this track was a traditional voodoo church song.

6. Childish Gambino - Boogieman

After the release of his third studio album 'Awaken, My Love!' Childish Gambino stated in various interviews that the making of this album wasn't necessarily fun for him, even though many of us thought it was an instant classic (see QuestLove's in real time review on instagram, as he listened the night of it's release). Gambino lists the sounds of the 70's, groups like Funkadelic and Sly & Stone as his inspiration, stating in an interview with billboard that "there’s something about that ’70s black music that felt like they were trying to start a revolution.” Those references are easily noted on this track; listen to the way he beautifully and intentionally experiments with sounds and tone, to evoke emotion, while chanting about the boogieman, a familiar childhood scare.

7. Led Zepplin - Immigrant Song

For me, this is the song of the underdog, it plays during that scene in the movie when the "loser" comes out on top bloody but smile wide because the tables have finally turned.

8. Little Dragon feat. Moses Sumney - The Other Lover

While I am a huge fan of Little Dragon, I chose this track for the ethereal voice that belongs to Moses Sumney.

9. Bjork - Army of Me

Another underdog moment, Bjork's 1995 classic talks about regaining control, no one is coming to save you, you have to save yourself.

You're alright . There's nothing wrong Self sufficiency, please! and get to work

10. D'Angelo - Devil's Pie

D'Angelo explores the seduction of money and materialism in the world of hip-hop, on his second second studio album titled Voodoo.

Fuck the slice, we want the pie Why ask why till we fry Watch us all stand in line For a slice of the devil's pie

11. 070 Shake - Under the Moon

Anything done under the moon feels sacred, ritualistic, and rightfully so. Most like to deny her power, but we see it in the way she controls the tides. On this track, Jersey born performer and songwriter 070 Shake speaks about self destruction/ abandonment and over indulgence, but reminds us we are all in this together underneath the same moon

how they got inside, oh, really, i don't know can't keep lettin' randoms up inside your home you drink too much to know, you drink too much to know spirits in your blood, it's seeping through your soul . garden needs some water, garden needs some water look up to the sky and I feel closer to you

12. Tyler the Creator - IGOR'S THEME

Tyler used this song as an introduction to his album, IGOR, and I thought it was fitting to introduce the track it precedes in this playlist.

13. Gnarls Barkley - Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)

Gnarls Barkley was my first introduction to CeeLo Green, though whether for solo projects or is work with producer Danger Mouse, CeeLo's lyricism is unmatched. He always glides over up beat tempos with lyrics containing elements ranging from self destruction, and the apocalypse, allowing us all to explore our darker sides.

Yeah, I'm on the run; see where I'm coming from? When you see me coming', run before you see what I'm runnin' from No time for question askin', time is passin' by, alright . You can't win, child, we've all tried to You've been lied to, its already inside of you Either you run right now or you best get ready to die, you better (Move)

14. Busta Rhymes - Dangerous

Thanks to genius directors (Hype Williams especially) artists in the '90s like Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson, and Missy Elliot dominated when it came to their unforgettable visuals, packed with Afro-futuristic references no one in that era did it better. Be sure to take a trip through Busta's visual catalogue, you won't be disappointed. Another underrated lyricist, I choose this song because of the title, lyrics and production it's got enough force to get you up and moving, and hype enough to talk your sh*t.

this, is, serious we could make you delirious you should have a healthy fear of us cause too much of us is dangerous so dangerous, we so dangerous

15. Nina Simone - I Put a Spell On You

Most Halloween playlist's include Micheal Jackson's Thriller as an essential, but this eerie ballad of unrequited love by Nina Simone will always be a staple to set the vibes for spooky season.

16. Pooh Shiesty feat. Lil Durk - Back In Blood

You've heard that there are five stages to grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Well I'd like to think of the sixth as revenge. Pooh Shiesty, Memphis Tennessee born rapper, throws violent slugs over a menacing beat feat. Lil Durk.

Bitch, I got my own fire, don't need security in the club (no) All the woofin' on the net (net), nigga, I thought you was a thug I ain't got nowhere to go, I shot up everywhere they was (blrrd) Yeah, you know who took that shit from you (blrrd, blrrd) Come get it back in blood

17. Clipping - Blood of the Fang

clipping is an experimental hip hop trio consisting of multi-hyphenated rapper Daveed Diggs, and producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. The group has been consistent in releasing stunning and off the wall visuals since the release of its self titled studio album CLPPNG. This track in particular is a call to arms against white supremacy and a discussion of the violent history of racism in America.

Brother Malcom done told y'all, "By any means" . So what y'all talkin' 'bout -- "All on the same team?"

18. Sarah Vaughan - Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets)

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Sarah Vaughn provides the perfect narration to the infamous truth.

I always get what I aim for and your heart and soul is what I came for whatever Lola wants (Lola wants) Lola gets (Lola gets) Take off your coat, don't you know you can't win

19. Knxwledge - [bc] tm_s not promised

To conclude the night, I choose this track because while the skit itself is chaotic, the moody instrumental brings the night to an end; and not to mention the truth of the title "because tomorrow is never promised".


About the Creator

justine taylor



Denver, CO

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