If your Blu-ray collection is lacking in black horror, you now have a chance to rectify that error with the recent long-awaited release of Blacula. The enormously influential proto-blaxploitation horror essential arrives on the same disc as sequel Scream, Blacula, Scream and has thankfully aged as well as the immortal bloodsucker himself. You may recognize the late William Marshall in the title role as "The King of Cartoons" from Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Along with bringing to the character the complex gravitas that only a Shakespearean-trained actor of his magnitude can deliver, his genuine ability to be effortlessly cool has made our anti-hero one of the most memorable characters in black cinema. It's been over 40 years since Blacula's release, and rappers whose parent weren't even old enough to see Blacula during its theatrical run are still making Blacula references on record. To celebrate this release, here's five of the most memorable Blacula references.
Redman – "Blow Your Mind"
"The spectular, Blacula, bust holes like Dracula
Loaded of course, more Legend than Acura"
New Jersey native Redman exploded on to the 1992 hip-hop scene as a hyper-unpredictable irreverent but charismatic MC who would still bet you up for laughing at him. Every rap fan knows where they were the first time they heard his debut Whut? Thee Album for the sheer uproarious nature of his storytelling and references, so it should be no surprise that one of the first Blacula references appeared 20 years after the film's release on "Blow Your Mind."
Pharoahe Monch featuring Jean Grae and Royce da 5'9 – "Assassins"
"Flip Bloomberg the bird, bitch, more blood than Blacula
More Crip than cryptic scriptures encrypted with backwards vernacular
Plus sicker than most like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction
I am that nigga for real
Per capita smacking the next rapper that uses the term swag or thereafter"
With Pharoahe Monch, Jean Grae and Royce da 5'9 being some of rap's most creative minds, their post-apocalyptic concept track "Assassins" delivers so well it's resurfaced on the contributers' other projects. Monch steps to the mic second and slips Blacula a midst a series of alliterations, and proceeds to rhyme it in a number of ways seldom matched. And to think, he doesn't once rhyme it with Dracula.
Dr. Dre – "Keep Their Heads Ringing"
"It's the D-R-E the spectacular
In a party I go for your neck, so call me 'Blacula'
As I drain a nigga's jugular vein
And maintain to leave blood stains, so don't complain"
The immortal video for Dr. Dre's "Keep Their Heads Ringing" takes place in a party on a giant jumbo jet, so it's fitting one of the coolest moments Dre's ever looked comes with name-dropping the coolest vampire in cinema history. Along with Dre and the film Blacula sharing origins in Los Angeles, Dre's use of Blacula over Dracula is again an example of how the cult classic is strong enough to be embraced by other counter-cultures.
Ultramagnetic MCs – "Poppa Large"
"The funk ignited, hands are writing, brains dividing
I'm coming out in sighting
Like I'm Blacula, a better man that Dracula
Spectacular and not irregular"
Overtly rapping "Blacula" with "Dracula" is beloved hip-hop eccentric Kool Keith on Ultramagnetic MCs' immortal "Poppa Large." As someone whose oddity wordplay has often drifted into both the macabre as well as the esoteric, Keith's love of Blacula is unsurprising. While "Poppa Large" is probably his most well known, eight years later he recorded "Blackula" (sic), a track that has nothing to do with the film except for repeating its name for the chorus. Both, however, are the jam.
Big Daddy Kane – "Prince of Darkness"
"You say am I a, vam-pire
That will react to ya just like Blackula
But when I say Prince of Darkness I don't mean a blood sucker
I'm talking about a black lover"
If Blacula has had the most visible influence on any MC, it would have to be Big Daddy Kane. Like Blacula, Kane is an impeccable dresser, is effortlessly cool, and hasn't aged a day in years. The Smooth Operator has referenced the film a number of times, with the most memorable being the title track from his album Prince of Darkness. With all the recent Hollywood reboots of classic films, if Blacula were to be giving the 2015 treatment, Kane would be ideal casting.