Satanism has been the basis of shock value in the entertainment industry ever since Hollywood has existed. The approach is almost played out in some sense – because it can be a challenge to find a mainstream artist who hasn’t been accused of involvement with either the Illuminati or some kind of sacrificial conspiracy.
Why is the entertainment industry, and the artists that occupy the space, so fixated on this demonic symbolism? Why is it that most of our favorite rappers have made some kind of acknowledgment to the Illuminati or selling their soul?
To put it simply, it’s a good marketing tactic. Almost every time this approach is taken, an inevitable response from the parents of the internet ensues. This in turn just leads to more exposure for the product at hand.
Lil Nas X recently noticed this trend and went full throttle with this narrative for his promotional campaign for , MONTERO, his new single which was accompanied by the release of a ‘Satan Shoe’ with Nike.
Big L (1993)
For those who aren’t familiar, the New York rapper, Lamont Coleman, better known as Big L, has to be the face of the Satanism controversy with Hip-Hop. Arguably one of the most underrated lyricists in the game, this NY legend was one of many who had passed as the prime of their career was approaching.
Big L put out the track ‘Devil’s Son’ which contributed to him being dropped from Columbia Records, the song included the following lyrics:
“Cause I’m the only son of the motherf*ckin’ Devil
It’s a fact I’m livin’ foul, black
N*ggas should have known I was sick
From the sh*t I did a while back
‘Cause bein’ bad I couldn’t stop
When I was in pre-school, I beat a kid to death with a wooden block”
Lamont Coleman then went on to create his own record label and was in talk with Jay-Z about partnering with Def Jam until he was unfortunately murdered just days before making the deal.
Three 6 Mafia – The Rise of Horrorcore (1996)
Horrorcore relies on the same principles that Lil Nas X campaign does; shock value, dark subject matter, and content that the casual viewer would view as pushing the boundaries.
This movement can’t be represented by another group better than the Three 6 Mafia. In case it’s not clear enough, their name literally represents the number that everyone associated with Satanism; = (666) = Three 6.
The group has gone on to state that they regret some of the subject matter that they touched on in the past, but that they used it as an outlet to express their darker tendencies.
This gave birth to the group who would go on to modernize this genre in a way that nobody knew was possible, Odd Future.
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (2010s)
The collective which included Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, and others, displayed great versatility and embraced this culture of shock value to an unprecedented extent.
At the time, Tyler the Creator went on to be painted as this Anti-Christ, Satan worshipping figure in the music industry.
He then would go on to be banned from multiple countries due to the content of his lyrics.
In many ways he was in a similar position as Lil Nas X due to the backlash that they both faced from parents and news outlets.
Sahbabii / Trippie Redd / Lil Uzi Vert (Uknownism)
This new post Soundcloud era of artists took the symbolism to new extremes.
Illinois artist, Sahbabii, built his own religion around the imagery of 666 and upside down crosses.
He coined the belief as “Unknownism” and Trippie Redd became an instant fan; he attributes all of his references to the pattern of numbers to Sahbabii.
This happened right around the time the video of Daylyt pronouncing Lil Uzi’s name as “Lucifer” was going around.
Lil Uzi Vert played into the controversy and continued to endorse satanic imagery without really addressing why.
This inevitably rubbed Offset of Migos the wrong way, he took to social media to call out his colleagues in the game and felt the need to address their beliefs:
Sahbabii was personally offended by this, he would go on to take multiple shots at the Migos and would go on to explain his thought process behind the symbolism:
Lil Uzi felt the need to respond to Offset as well:
Satanism in The Industry Today
Playboi Carti was recently in the press for his merch surrounding Whole Lotta Red, this man did not hold back whatsoever and again, it was received with a lot of backlash and criticism.
Carti appeared to have gone full witchcraft but then would later be seen working with one of the most renown Christian’s in the rap game, Kanye West.
Overall, it becomes clear that this trend will in no way be ending anytime soon. It is essential to keep in mind the thought process behind the artist’s creative direction and to acknowledge the fact that they have the freedom to express their art in any way they desire.