It’s also not as though Manson had never worn bling before the Tainted Love video. Starting with his Mechanical Animals era in the late ‘90s, the singer truly embraced his role as rock royalty, albeit in a dark and esoteric kind of way. But there’s an understanding in his elaborate goth preening, similar to that of most rappers, that the peacocking is fun but at times meaningless, a symbol of surviving life’s horrific shitshow as an individual rather than getting a seat at the table. And never has that idea been more relevant in hip-hop than right now, as mental illness, drug addiction, and the realities of race in America have re-emerged in new, hyper-aggressive ways.
For all of his work with rappers and appreciation of their style, that’s what first endeared Manson to hip-hop fans -- his music. Marilyn Manson’s songs don’t have the harsh, all-angles blaze of extreme metal or the lacy, melancholy death rock of goth; instead, they throb with primal rage and march to a thick, pneumatic beat. One can mosh to Manson’s music, but one can dance, have sex, and get fucked up to it just as easily. With his lyrical themes of disillusionment, nihilism, and fury at the powers that be keeping him down -- most notably God -- the singer offered a level of grimy sincerity that plenty of other artists never quite understood, but that young listeners immediately appreciated as universal truth.