This summer, I watched the entire Twilight series. It was comically bad, but I loved seeing Edward Cullen and his fellow vampires wreak havoc on the city of Forks. It got me thinking: there’s a lot of vampire-inspired media. The Vampires Diaries, Hotel Transylvania, True Blood, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer have all given garlic-averse immortals a perennial place in pop culture. Beyond TV and movies, our fanged friends have also found a home in the music industry.
This Halloween, embrace your inner vampire and listen to these bloodsucking bops.
“Dracula’s Wedding” by Outkast (feat. Kelis)
Outkast’s “Dracula’s Wedding” is a song about a vampire getting cold feet at his wedding. André 3000 takes on the role of Count Dracula, singing about how he has waited his entire life to meet his soulmate (a very long time… since vampires could theoretically live forever), yet her arrival scares him. Dracula’s bride, portrayed by R&B singer Kelis, reassures Dracula that she isn’t out to hurt him and recites her wedding vows at the end of the song. Ironically, in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula is killed by his love interest Mina at the end of the film, so maybe his fear was justified.
“Vampire” by Dominic Fike
In the music video for “Vampire,” Dominic Fike and his friends go to a Halloween party. Fike bites someone’s neck, revealing that he isn’t just dressed as a vampire; he is one. Visuals aside, the song itself isn’t actually about vampires. Rather, Fike uses vampires as a metaphor for exploitative people. Fike sings, “I only showed up to tell you / Everyone at this party’s a vampire / This ain’t red wine / We’re all food for the bloodsuckers.” With these lyrics, Fike seems to warn young artists to be wary of people looking to exploit them: namely, blood-sucking record label executives, who are notorious for luring musicians into manipulative, unfair deals.
“Vamp Anthem” and “King Vamp” by Playboi Carti
“Vamp Anthem” and “King Vamp” appear on Playboi Carti’s 2020 album, Whole Lotta Red, which Rolling Stone characterizes as Carti embodying a “rockstar vampire” alter ego.
On “Vamp Anthem,” Carti creates a song that perfectly captures the vampire aesthetic. The song features a prominent sample of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” which has long been associated with horror films. Notably, the 1931 horror film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde plays the piece during the opening credits. The instrumentation on “Vamp Anthem” is truly menacing—it takes a centuries-old song effective at evoking fright and compliments it with modern trap production, featuring high hats and a thumping bass.
On “King Vamp,” Carti compares himself to the King of Vampires, Count Dracula. He references many widely held beliefs about vampires. He raps, “When the sun goes down, yeah, it’s time to creep.” Another choice lyric: “I’m a dark knight, bitch, yeah, I can’t sleep / I fly in the sky, I got wings on my feet.”
Despite the song’s heavy-handed references to vampires, it’s still a great listen year-round. “King Vamp” is pure bravado, making it a great ego-boosting song. Carti’s ego shines through as he compares himself to immortal beings and makes sure listeners can hear his jewelry clanging around at the beginning of the song. The track’s production is reminiscent of the soundtracks of early ’90s Sega Genesis video games; layering guttural ad-libs on top creates a harsh yet enjoyable atmosphere.