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Gravediggaz

The Rzarector, The Undertaker, The Gatekeeper & The Grym Reaper
Background information
Origin New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Years active 1993–2002
Labels Gee Street/Island/PolyGram Records
Gee Street/V2/BMG Records
Cleopatra/Caroline Records (US)
Former members
The Gatekeeper
The Grym Reaper
The Rzarector
The Undertaker

Gravediggaz was an American hip hop group from New York City, well-known for its dark sense of humor and abrasive, menacing soundscapes. The group was formed in 1994 and was effectively a supergroup, bringing together Prince Paul (The Undertaker), Frukwan (The Gatekeeper), Too Poetic (The Grym Reaper) and RZA (The Rzarector). The group is widely credited as being one of the most influential and pioneering groups in the small hip-hop subgenre of horrorcore.[1][2][3]

Contents

Meaning of group's name

According to Frukwan, the group's name means "digging graves of the mentally dead, and it stood for resurrecting the mentally dead from their state of unawareness and ignorance."[4]

Biography

In reference to RZA's start with the group he mentions:

"When it came time for the Gravediggaz, Prince Paul was thinking about putting a group together. He wanted to get some good MCs. Poetic was another dope MC who was underrated out on Long Island. He had one single out on Tommy Boy that didn't take off, but he was a dope MC. As the Grym Reaper, you know how many dope lyrics he dropped. Frukwan, one of the top lyricists out of Stetsasonic. He and Paul were friends already. He told him about me. He said, "I know this one guy who is super-dope." At the same time, I was also trying to do Wu-Tang. I was trying to start my own company and stuff, so when Paul called me up and invited me to his crib on Long Island and told me his idea for forming this group, I thought it would be an honor to be in a group with him. But I told him, "I'm also producing a group, and I'm also part of a family that I'm building." He said, "Yo, that's crazy." We would talk a lot of times. ODB came to his house a lot of times with me. Meth, too. We all would just go there and try to find ways to get out of the streets. Me, I was trying to get out of the ghetto. Paul had a lot of respect for me, so he helped me break out of it. I think he liked that I was so dark, but I didn't know I was dark."

[5]

The group's first album was originally titled Niggamortis; however, the potentially risqué title was changed to 6 Feet Deep for the American market (European versions of the album retained the original title, and also included the bonus track "Pass the Shovel"). Released on August 9, 1994, 6 Feet Deep was a mix of black humor, cartoonish violence reminiscent of the Geto Boys, esoteric references to the Nation of Gods and Earths, and some of Paul's darkest production. The four members adopted Gravedigga alter egos for their work with the group: The RZA became Rzarector, Poetic became the Grym Reaper, Prince Paul became the Undertaker, and Frukwan became the Gatekeeper. The three rapping members (without Prince Paul) released a collaborative EP titled "The Hell EP" with UK trip hop artist Tricky in 1995.

The second full-length Gravediggaz album, The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel. was less humorous and dealt more with social and political issues than 6 Feet Deep, and used calmer and more conventional production. Prince Paul played a considerably smaller role in the making of this album, with many of the production duties now taken care of by RZA and his Wu-Tang associates (including True Master and 4th Disciple).

In 1998 a bootleg Gravediggaz album surfaced called Scenes From The Graveyard . It featured 7 unreleased tracks plus some remixes from the first two albums.

The Gravediggaz recruited DJ Diamond J around the turn of the millennium. Poetic finally succumbed to colon cancer in July 2001. Frukwan stated in an interview not long after Poetic's death that a new album using leftover Poetic material would be released.[6] The album Nightmare in A-Minor, the third official album for Gravediggaz, was released independently in 2001 and only featured two of the original members, Poetic and Frukwan. This album was their darkest work yet, including many references to Poetic's struggle with colon cancer with a focus on the more apocalyptic themes of the teachings of the Five Percent Nation. Although RZA did not take part in the making of the album, some Wu-Tang Clan affiliates such as 4th Disciple, True Master and Beretta 9 were involved. The album was mostly produced by Poetic and Frukwan themselves. A slightly different version of the album (minus the song "Better Wake Up") was released to widespread critical acclaim in 2002.

In 2003 Frukwan released his debut solo album, Life. The fourth Gravediggaz album 6 Feet Under was released in 2004 and featured songs from Nightmare in A-Minor and Life.

Discography

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Albums

Year Album Chart positions U.S. Sales
Billboard 200 Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums
1994 6 Feet Deep 36 6 638,916
1997 The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel 20 7 515,840
2002 Nightmare in A-Minor 38 164,966
2004 6 Feet Under 33,967

Singles / EPs

  • 1994 "Diary Of A Madman"
  • 1994 "Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide"
  • 1994 "1-800 Suicide" (Also included on the soundtrack to Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight)
  • 1995 "Six Feet Deep EP"
  • 1995 "Double Suicide Pack"
  • 1995 "Mommy, What's A Gravedigga?"
  • 1995 "The Hell E.P." (Tricky vs The Gravediggaz)
  • 1997 "Unexplained"
  • 1997 "The Night The Earth Cried"
  • 1997 "Dangerous Mindz"
  • 2001 "Rest in Da East / Nightmare in A Minor"

References

External links


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