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Ghostemane’s ‘Hexada’ Marks One-Year Anniversary

An otherworldly melange of hip hop and heavy.

Mackenzie Dineen

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Florida rap-anomaly Ghostemane’s ninth album, Hexada, was released a year ago this month and the record, inspired by black metal and hardcore rock, fuses rap and metal into a genre unlike anything else. A genre that remains nameless.

Hexada displays Ghoste’s writing, vocal, and production abilities, showcasing a new and mysterious sound that leaves listeners spooked and mesmerized.

Hexada demonstrates a vast dynamic range, and features bass lines that likely blew many sub-woofers drew and noise complaints. Ghoste draws on industrial samples to create ambient, cave-like atmospheres. Xylophones and distortion effects unnerve the listener.

Despite the fact that most of the songs are in major keys, the record is harsh, and at times, the out-of-tune sound is jarring. Shock is a major aspect of Ghostemane’s aesthetic, one reason he’s gained such a large cult-following.

The “Mercury: Retrograde” music video, which features animation from”Betty Boop in Snow White,” reached 78 million views on YouTube — 77 million more than the “Andromeda” music video released only one year earlier.

The album’s instrumental depth is topped by Ghoste’s deft rap ability, particularly when he shoots off rapid verses in an otherworldly, high pitched canter. Ghoste’s energy is aggressive throughout every line of the record. His voice flows like a current throughout the recording.

By no means is the title track the star of this collection. “D(R)OWN” — with its  heart-beat mimicking rhythm — is a two-minute anthem. When the song comes to a close, you can’t help but press replay for fear that your own chest will go cold if you don’t. The cerebral bop of “Mercury: Retrograde” captures a flow designed to emulate the submersion of depression.

Most of the album’s lyrics focuses on mental illness, the occult, and death. The compelling, trance-like, nature of “Hexada” are irresistible. It wouldn’t be that surprising, after all, if Ghoste were really a witch or siren, casting audio spells from another realm.

The album’s significance lies not only in its unique aesthetic approach, but in its impact. The dominance of rap and hip-hop has scattered the metal-heads and rockers of yesteryear into niches. “Hexada” is hip-hop for those who like it heavy.

This remarkable record continues to inspire artists experimenting with different hip-hop fusions, and has been celebrated by other artists of the same genre including Pouya and $uicide Boy$.

Despite only being one year old, “Hexada” is a career-defining genre for Ghostemane. It’s a spooky staple that successfully intermingles two genres with normally separate fan-bases, that’s sure to endure with both.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Mackenzie Dineen is a Boston-based student writer in her senior year, working towards a degree in Entertainment Media at Lasell College. She is a firm believer that live music is life's greatest pleasure, and prefers anything heavy. She is a proud cat mother of a 2 year old black Mainecoone with thumbs, named Scarlett. If she had it her way, every day would be Halloween.

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