October 8th, 2009
07:34 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Did “Horrorcore” Music Lead to Murder?

Richard Samuel McCroskey has been arrested in connection with the killings of four people in Virginia.

Richard Samuel McCroskey has been arrested in connection with the killings of four people in Virginia.

Cate Vojdik
AC360 Writer

Tonight, raw politics on overdrive, starting with new signs that U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., could be headed for trouble.

The House ethics committee today said it will expand its investigation into Rangel’s alleged tax shenanigans—an investigation that’s been dragging on for a year now despite the promise Democrats made to clean up Congress when they regained control of the House and Senate.

In case you missed it, Rangel isn’t just any congressman. He’s the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax laws that the rest of us have to follow. The kicker: He’s accused of playing fast and loose with his own taxes. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, today urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to force Rangel to step down from his post on the Ways and Means Committee. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, refused to say if Rangel should step down. Do these developments signal the tide could be turning against Rangel? We’ll dig deeper tonight.

There are also some new poll numbers from Gallup showing that Democrats are losing ground. With the midterm elections about a year away, the poll finds support for the two parties virtually tied among registered voters. In July, the Democrats held a six percentage-point lead. How worried should the president and his party be? We’ll chew over the raw politics with our panelists.

We’ll also take a closer look at why many gay Americans are disappointed in President Obama. During the campaign, Mister Obama made a lot of promises concerning gay rights. Has he broken his promises on same-sex marriage, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and more? We’re Keeping them Honest.

We’ve also been digging on a story that’s put a spotlight on an obscure subgenre of rap music called “Horrorcore.” It’s violent and steeped in grotesque imagery. But did it lead a young California man to murder four people? Richard McCroskey rapped under the stage name Syko Sam, performing songs with titles like “Murderous Rage” and “Evil Voices.”  Now he’s been arrested and charged in a quadruple murder. Does the twisted music he embraced cause kids to commit violence—or are troubled kids simply drawn to the music more than healthy kids? We’ll give you the facts and let you decide.

See you at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Anthony

    I believe that Richard McCroskey had a serious underlying problem. He must not have been right from the beginning due to problems at home or what not but i strongly believe the music had nothing to do with it. Today you can go watch a movie that displays just as much violence, scenes of murder, and evil. You can read a book with the same material. These are all merely forms of entertainment that anyone with a sane mind would understand. Just because someone enjoys a dark form of entertainment does not mean they are gonna murder someone someday. On the show aired they talked about the Insane Clown Posse and how their lyrics and style could possible cause someone to murder basicly. I have been listening to ICP for 12 or 13 years and I can tell you now I would never hurt anyone. My basic point is this boy had underlying problems and music, movies, and books had nothing to do with it. He had mental problems or some built up anger that caused him to do what he did.

    October 9, 2009 at 4:11 am |
  2. jenni steele

    In no way can these monstrous actions be justified. I myself have listened to “horrorcrore” music for well over 10 years now. I have owned tons of cd’s and gone to easily over 50 concerts. I also have a family and 3 amazing children. I have steady had the same job at a college and am currently attending at another. I in no way think the music is to blame! I believe everyone makes there own decisions in live and although music can be a powerful thing I highly doubt it can make a perfectly normal human being turn into an absolute monster! It’s this kind of sick and demented behavior that gives music lovers like myself and so many other a bad name and I’m sick of it!
    Jenni.. IL

    October 9, 2009 at 3:29 am |
  3. Natasha

    Oh, I hope very much that Rangel is kicked out of the House Ways and Means Committee. I mean, how can he be in charge of writing the tax laws we follow if he CHEATS on his OWN taxes? 😡

    As for the "Horrocore" story, I think that "Syko Sam" really is a psycho. I have never in my life heard such gross and violent songs like the ones he sang before. I do not think that his songs drove him to commit a quadruple murder; I think that Satan has taken him over.

    PS, I'm a teen, and his music does not drive me to commit violent acts.

    October 9, 2009 at 12:51 am |
  4. John

    Muisc lyrics are a convenient way to place blame and allow the true culprits to escape scott free.
    Lack of good parenting, commmunities stripped of any facilities for youth and self-centred adults are the real cause.

    October 9, 2009 at 12:28 am |
  5. John

    A persons personality travels on the spoken word. If you constantly listen to a certain kind of music its only a matter of time before you begin to act more like that person. Thats why you see rappers dress like rappers talk like rappers and act like rappers.Same thing with people who listen to hardrock, long hair,ripped jeans,and wallets with chains. Coincidence?

    October 9, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  6. Polly

    I do not believe that it is the music that causes the issues, I think the problem is that there is something wrong with the person. There are horrific things happening everywhere everyday and done by people that are unexpected. They all have something in common, something wrong with them psychologically.

    I think people need to pay attention more to what is going on around themselves and noticing the signs of trouble.

    October 8, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  7. Eric

    Guys I hate to break you the news but this is not HipHop!!! Please do not associtate this kind of music with hiphop.

    October 8, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  8. Dylan

    There seems to be this idea in our culture that music has this ability to transform a person. This is not true. Rather, people are drawn to the music which best describes how they feel. This seen in the attachment Gen-Xers felt to the music of Nirvana or the way Hippies flocked to the concerts of bands like Jefferson Airplane.

    Sorry to have to say this, but I have a feeling this guy had fantasies of murder long before he heard horrorcore, and listened to it because he saw the connection between the lyrics and his violent fantasies.

    October 8, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  9. Tony F.


    Everybody is making a big deal about the music "Psycho Sam" listened to. The panic is, that the music made him do it. We are now in October, the month of Halloween & there are endless advertisements on cable TV, network TV & movies for " disturbing killing movies". Why is music always blamed, and all other mediums of entertainment allowed to slide. I grew up listening to Metalica, Ozzy, Megadeath, Dr. Dre, NWA... you get the idea. Guess what ....I killed no one, I own 4 houses in 2 states live pretty good. I still listen to the same music & haven't been arrested for murder. Lets stop blaming the music industry & start looking at the parents.

    Danbury, CT.

    October 8, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  10. Natalie

    To say that "Horrorcore" rap caused a man to kill four people is ridiculous. Have you turned on the news, internet, or even cartoons for that matter recently. I believe that education and parental advising are one of the biggest factors that play into the outcome of who we become. If it's not there or lacking...well there you go!!!

    October 8, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  11. nicci

    My opinion on the "horrorcore" music is simply this....those who take the music literally are the ones who are causing trouble...i myself am a fan of insane clown posse and their record label but i listen to the music and the beat of the song. i'm an upstanding US citizen with a good career and a wonderful family. Does it make me a bad person to listen to icp and their label, NO! i'm not going out and killing people or raping people. Again, its those who take the music literally that give those like me, who just like the music, a bad name.

    October 8, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  12. titannia

    In most disasters, we usually see several cumulative mini-accidents that, when combined, become a major catatrophe. This is true of the quadruple murder horror in Farmville. Perhaps the wheels were in motion when the father abruptly abandoned his life to go to seminary. Perhaps it was the mother's lack of spirituality. Perhaps it was both parents' stubborness and resistance to support each other. Perhaps it was the daughter's evident dissolusionment and isolation. Perhaps it was the daughter reaching out to a far-flung internet community for a place to belong. Perhaps it was the apparent killer's immersion in death-based culture and music. Perhaps the father wanted to spiritually help this young man. Perhaps all, when combined, were a recipe for disaster. We will never know.

    October 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  13. Annie Kate

    Rangel should step aside even if the majority of the charges are not true – if only a few are true that gives the GOP room to criticize. Maybe the GOPs battle plan is to take down the Democrats one at a time and to start with the ones they know have already had accusations of misconduct come up.

    I think more than the gays are disappointed in Obama. A lot of us are. You compare what he said with what he has done and finished and the scorecard is pretty dismal. I've seen a number of people who campaigned for Obama who have said they were sorry now that they worked to get him elected and how frustrated they are with him. Unfortunately, Obama isn't as appealing as he once was to a lot of people.

    October 8, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  14. Cindy

    If Rangel cheated on his taxes, lied about what he made or owned and didn't pay them then he needs to be kicked to the curb!

    With the Dems controlling congress and still not being able to get anything at all done I can see why the poll numbers show they have fallen and it's a tied race now. Before the elections I can see the Reps pulling out ahead since many liberals are now siding with them.

    I saw the story when those people were killed by McCroskey and then it came out about the music and all. I can't see how someone could get SO into music that they would let it control what they do. He had to have other problems that contributed to this and not just the music.


    October 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm |