If there's one word to describe Slipknot's self-titled debut album it's "intense." The LP sounds like something straight out of a horror movie, from its completely heavy riffs to its harrowing vocals, military-grade percussion and creepy samples. It's a record that could only have been assembled by nine outcasts in Bumfuck, America, massively pissed off at their surroundings and using whatever tools they could find to express themselves and scream out to the rest of the world.
The band's spirit, sound and aggression has made them an international phenomenon and one of the most powerful drivers in all of heavy music. It's so infectious, it's spread beyond metal and into the world of hip-hop and the twisted minds of City Morgue. The New York duo are a resounding answer to all complaints that hip-hop has gotten soft, as members ZillaKami and SosMula spit an absolutely sinister and assaultive take on rap. Guitar samples add heft to the band's music, making it sound closer to a cool update on nu-metal versus anything you'd hear on the radio. The resonance between City Morgue and Slipknot are no coincidence as rapper ZillaKami was heavily influenced by the band and their self-titled LP. We spoke to the MC to learn how he got into the Nine and what they mean for him.
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER SLIPKNOT'S SELF-TITLED ALBUM?
ZILLAKAMI I didn't listen to the self-titled until later because I was just a fan in general and then I backtracked to their older stuff a year in. That was back in middle school. I discovered them on MTV, and saw a video of people with masks on, and thought, "Oh, this is cool," and that was literally it. Found them 'cause of MTV.
HOW DID THE ALBUM INFLUENCE YOUR CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT?
I kind of wanted to make music very similar when I first heard their shit. I wasn't really a hip-hop fan in the beginning, that was a later progression. I was into nu-metal and hardcore. The face of nu-metal to me was Slipknot.
DID YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MASK OR MEMBER OF THE BAND AT THAT TIME?
I always liked Corey. I've got a tatt of his Iowa mask.
HAVE YOU GOTTEN TO MEET HIM?
No, never. Just Instagram and all of that. He's still an elusive figure to me. I'm still a superfan of him.
I THINK IT'S COOL HE'S PLUGGED INTO WHAT'S GOING ON IN HIP-HOP BECAUSE I SEE A LOT OF SIMILARITIES BETWEEN SLIPKNOT AND WHAT YOU GUYS ARE DOING.
Yeah, you can see a lot of similarities, from bashing the mic on my fucking head — that was Slipknot.
WAS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU THAT THE BAND WAS WEARING MASKS?
Yeah, because it made me pay attention. It's full fucking artistry. They painted a full picture with what they did with their videos and shit, like the claymation video for "Wait and Bleed." And now, do you think any band can come out with masks on and not get clowned on? That was a once-in-a-lifetime fucking thing. They were making such good music that nobody fucking cared. Nobody thought it was goofy. It was literally just Slipknot.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TRACK FROM THEIR FIRST ALBUM?
"Eyeless," I think. It has that breakdown, [makes chugging sound] that breakdown is fucking crazy — two minutes in? Gets me crazy fucking hyped. "You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes." That shits fucking fire, and what, some homeless dude told him that and he made it the chorus to a huge song? That's fire. And then at the end it sounds like his vocals are breaking, like he's shredding his voice. It's a straight-up scream.
IS THE SELF-TITLED SOMETHING YOU REGULARLY LISTEN TO?
Literally, like, every day. [Laughs] Every day, I've got the vinyl and all the shit. I think it's the perfect mesh of rock and rap. A lot of the time, that genre is corny as shit, but that was one of the only times that genre wasn't corny as shit. Literally, that was the only thing I didn't find super corny.
I SAW A VIDEO OF CITY MORGUE PLAYING AT ROLLING LOUD AND YOU GUYS DID A COVER "SPIT IT OUT." WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO COVER THAT SONG SPECIFICALLY AND SLIPKNOT IN GENERAL?
I was going to cover a Slipknot song no matter what. I was going to cover "Eyeless" or a different one, but "Spit It Out" just seemed like the universal one. "Eyeless," I didn't know if people would know, but everyone knows "Spit It Out." Everyone knows the fucking lyrics to that. I could've went the easy route and did "Wait and Bleed," but I actually fuck with "Spit It Out." And all my fans are Slipknot fans, so it's a perfect mesh.