BY: GABY MORENO
I am excited to begin this new journey! I decided to begin this blog titled: “Nightmare on Sedgwick Avenue” that will be ran by yours truly. I wanted to use my extra time in a productive way and what better way than to write about two things I have love for hip hop and horror culture.
I wanted my first post to be about what you can expect from this blog and why I am combining these two cultures. For those who know me I am a lyricist and poet. I have been writing lyrics and poetry since I was 13 years old. Music has always been my therapy and my creative outlet to vent out my emotions, frustrations, dreams and nightmares.
I fell in love with music and movies as a 5 year old kid. My first encounter with films is when my grandma would have me join her in watching black and white films that were made during La Epoca de Oro. The films featured Mexican actors: Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete and Maria Felix just to name a few. Mexican cinema was also full of horror gems. Even though some were cheesy they will always be a fond childhood memory and the reason I grew to love the horror genre. From watching films like Capulina contra los Vampiros, Vacaciones de Terror, Panico en la Montaña, Hermelinda Linda the list goes on.
Getting to watch horror movies with my grandma was not only a form of entertainment, but it built a deeper bond between us. She would also enjoy telling my sisters and I stories about Mexican lore or legends from ‘La Mano Negra’ to ”El Chamuco”. These stories sparked my imagination and gave me another reason to become obsessed with horror culture and urban/folk legends.
My exposure to the horror genre through Mexican cinema only made my addiction grow. Then, I moved onto American horror films. I remember being obsessed with Child’s Play one of the first American horror films I watched as a kid. As well as Fright Night, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. I didn’t begin to appreciate Freddy Krueger’s witty humor and Wes Craven’s brilliant take on dreams and nightmares until I got a bit older. Now it is listed in my top 10 favorite horror films. Eventually, as my fascination grew it led me to foreign horror films.
Yes, there are horror films that are just made for fun and entertainment. But like rap, horror has sub genres that may not be for everyone’s taste. This blog will provide my opinion and insight. It is purely subjective and I am open to having an open platform to hear other opinions or feedback on the topics I write about.
This blog will allow me to share my love for horror films and its culture. There is more to horror than blood and scares. As I’ve gotten older I began noticing horror movies touch on the following topics: our society, to teach us lessons, speak about our fears and also reflect on our past, present and future. To me horror films have a deeper meaning. One may argue that some horror films exploit women, but it is true to what happens in the real world. I also see the duality to that statement since the horror genre gave birth to the ‘Final Girls’. These women were female characters who took on the lead role in a horror movie (specifically in the slasher sub genre) that by the end of the movie they became heroes/survivors/fighters and not just victims.
As for my love for hip hop, where do I even start? Well, it all started when I began watching films with Pedro Fernandez who was a child actor and singer. I wanted to be like him, I started making up my own songs. That would be the precursor to me becoming a songwriter. Then, I began memorizing songs. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that one day I got into an argument with my twin sister and I got this urge to write down what I was feeling. Without even knowing I had written my first rap. It was not my best work, but I realized I had a gift that needed to be shared. With time I worked on my craft and have evolved into the lyricist I am today.
Let’s take it back to the first time I heard rap music. I was 7 yrs old listening to Tupac and Biggie. As a kid growing up in the 90s, rap music was the soundtrack to my life. It was only right that years later I would end up writing lyrics. I fell in love with the hip hop culture through rap. The day I began writing lyrics I knew I had a talent with words. I knew I could use this skill to spread positive messages that people could relate to, tell stories and like horror-core rappers write lyrics that were heavily influenced by horror movies. Being able to put words together that fit perfectly and rhymed was a great feeling!
Hip Hop gave me self esteem. Rappers and lyricists became like my therapists. There are rap songs that got me through tough times, others gave me the motivation I needed to to keep going when I had no inspiration. Not only did hip hop boost up my confidence, but it became a part of my daily life. My style of dress was influenced by the culture such as becoming a sneakerhead and buying graphic tees. I would and still listen to rap music on the daily to get motivation or inspiration when writing my own lyrics.
I also became obsessed with rap lyrics how they painted a picture. I even became fixated on memorizing lyrics. When I would buy rap albums I would look at the booklets and check if the rappers wrote their own lyrics and ponder on how or why they wrote those lyrics. Now we got Genius and Youtube to see the meaning behind the lyrics or what inspired them to write these songs. As human beings we interpret every song different to apply to our own lives and give it our own meaning. I also loved how the lyrics spread knowledge about things they did not teach us in school. Rap music taught me to question everything and come up with my own answers. I mainly loved the inspirational messages and the beauty of hearing rappers rhyme complex words to tell a story. Simply put hip hop was my best friend that was always there for me! As the great KRS-One said, “Rap is not something you do, Hip Hop is something you live!”
These two genres: horror and hip hop were and have been my way to cope and at times a way to escape my reality. As well, as an outlet to release my emotions, dreams and fears.
While writing this I had an epiphany of how these two genres have more in common than they are different. Yes, Hip Hop is a culture that is made up of 5 elements: Emceeing, Deejaying, B-Boying, Graffiti and spreading knowledge or having fun. But it used to be a culture that was and sadly still is harshly criticized for its controversial messages about society, politics, drugs, objectifying women, and violence. Likewise, with horror, it is criticized for bringing to light the fears and negative aspects of our society, exploiting women, the gore and violence. I feel these two genres have always been given a negative reputation and I am here to change that perception. To me they allowed me to feel brave and continue to have a positive impact in my life.
It’s crazy how times have changed! They used to say rap was just a phase and it wouldn’t last. It is now the #1 music genre in the United States. Horror has also become an embraced genre throughout the years, with loyal fans including myself. As the great horror legend Wes Craven, may he rest in peace, once said, “Some people ask why people would go into a dark room to be scared. I say they are already scared, and they need to have that fear manipulated and massaged. I think of horror movies as the disturbed dreams of a society.”
As a lyricist and a horror fan on this blog I will share my lyrics that are highly influenced by horror movies and rap legends. I will touch on different topics involving both genres from reviewing rap and R&B albums to reviewing horror films/tv shows. Keep up with the latest horror and hip hop news. That is just a glimpse of what is to come. I will be learning along the way and that is what makes this journey even more unpredictable!
I want to bring this post to an end by discussing the meaning behind my blogs name. I have named this blog “Nightmare on Sedgwick Avenue” to properly shout out one of my favorite horror films ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ that fed my obsession about dreams and nightmares. Sedgwick Avenue is the street where the first hip hop parties took place. It became known as Hip Hop’s birthplace. This blog is under my company “7 Octoberz” that has a sacred meaning to me. It is not only my favorite number and favorite month, but it’s the day my grandma transitioned. This is a website that will allow her memory and legacy to continue. She played a huge role in why I love horror movies and music. She believed in my dreams. When I told her I wanted to sing and play guitar she bought me a guitar. That was the type of person she was. She empowered my creativity and for that I am grateful. Now my dream of writing about horror and hip hop will come to fruition through this blog. I hope you all join me on this journey and enjoy what I have to share!
By: Gaby Moreno