Who is Hollywood Undead? What genre do they specialize in? Are they a rap crew or a heavy metal band? Most of all, are they human?
To answer these questions, first, I had to go through their debut album, titled Swan Songs. Then my writing came to an abrupt stop due to the heart pounding beats and tongue-twisting rhymes that kept exuding from my low-end desktop speakers that almost made me make up the “rock sign” using my fingers, which is alarming because I am a hardcore hip hop fan and a hater of ear-shattering screams. These guys are the bees’ knees, I tell you.
Hollywood Undead is a rap-rock/rap-metal/rapcore band hailing from the entertainment capital, Los Angeles. The band consists of five members: Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Danny, Funny Man, J-Dog, and Johnny 3 Tears. The uniqueness it possesses compared to other bands of today is their attire, which consists of each member dressed in a mask unique to him, therefore giving them an enigmatic persona for creative reasons.
The band was formed in 2005 with J-Dog and former member Deuce, who posted a demo of their work on Myspace, which thereby attracted a lot of attention. In the end, they ended up forming a seven-member band (including themselves) with former member Shady and the currently functional Johnny 3 Tears, Charlie Scene, Funny Man and Da Kurlzz.
The group was able to complete recording and mastering of their first album in a just a mere 12 months but faced tragedy for two years trying to get hold of a record label that didn’t try to censor their content, which might be deemed degrading for sensitive ears.
After a long and tiresome search, Hollywood Undead landed a deal with A&M/Octone Records, which led to them debuting their much awaited 2008 album Swan Songs on the Billboard 200 at #22, selling a total of 21,000 copies in its first week. Swan Songs later went on to earn Gold status and is currently in the process of going Platinum.
It took the band around two-and-a-half years to release their sophomore (2011) album, titled American Tragedy, which features the first single and provocative video “Been To Hell.” It focuses on the ugly side of the so-called celebrity haven, Hollywood.
The band then magnanimously released the single “Comin’ In Hot” off their new album for free, which also led to the production of a music video. American Tragedy has sold around 66,000 copies since its first week a couple of weeks ago, when it landed #4 on the Billboard 200.
Their sound consists of live drum beats & electronic synthesizers combined with the traditional sound of electronic guitars and keyboards. A music enthusiast non-partial to any particular genre would identify the sound to contain ingredients of rap rock, nu metal, crunkcore, and even hints of party hip hop as well. The band had also mentioned that each of them specializes in an instrument, even though not all of them are seen to be playing them at concerts and other live events.
According to the band, each member is supposed to write and rap/sing his own lyrics, thereby ensuring that the entire band is not focused and held together by a single person.
Their lyrics on the album expel hatred, anger, lust, pain and downright obscenity at events occurring in these intelligent times. In a lesser number of words, their lyrics resemble that of gangsta’ & horrorcore rap genres.
As a hip hop enthusiast who enjoy forms of music such as pop, R&B, slow rock and little amounts of country and classical music, I can safely say that these guys are heading out to be the sensation that the rock/rap community has been waiting ever since the genre shift of Linkin Park, the prolonged absence of Limp Bizkit and the forever distracted Slipknot.
And I do hope that Hollywood Undead captures the likes of Eminem, D12 or Yelawolf who commercialized and internationalized the horrific but disturbingly peaceful genre known as Horrorcore.
Here is to Hollywood Undead and their long and successful journey ahead.
American Tragedy is now available at store shelves near you. A must listen for rock and rap music fans alike.