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The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel
Studio album by Gravediggaz
Released October 14, 1997
Recorded 1996-1997
Genre East Coast hip hop, hardcore hip hop, horrorcore
Length 60:24
Label Gee Street/V2/BMG Records
63881-32501
Producer RZA
4th Disciple
True Master
Poetic
Darkim Be Allah
Frukwan
Professional reviews
Gravediggaz chronology
The Hell E.P.
(1995)
The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel
(1997)
Nightmare in A-Minor
(2002)

The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel, released October 14, 1997, is the second album by the Gravediggaz, an influential horrorcore hip hop supergroup. The album has a more socially conscious sound to it and is considerably more calm than its predecessor, and features heavy production input by the RZA.

On the album, R&B singer Kelis is featured on the track “Fairytalez,” said to be Kelis' first studio appearance of her career, recorded two years before her debut album Kaleidoscope was released.

Reception

  • Rolling Stone (9/18/97, p.104) - 3 stars (out of 5) - "...an exotic, multilayered soundscape that is often melancholic, but also melodic....the Gravediggaz deliver plenty to sink your pick into."
  • Spin (12/97, p.160) - 7 (out of 10) - "The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel is less hyperbolic satire than playfully serious caution--for Gravediggaz, the ghetto's particular nightmare has now come to Main Street. Grieving over lost lovers, friends, and family, the group observes the culture of death as part of the everyday landscape."
  • Entertainment Weekly (10/31/97, p.108) - "...guest rappers Killah Priest, Omen, and Hell Razor spin oblique horror stories from ghetto hell over bruising beats by RZA and Prince Paul." - Rating: B
  • Q (1/98, p.112) - Included in Q magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1997."
  • Vibe (11/97, p.149) - "This second offering from Gravediggaz...finds the Wu-Tang boardsman moving away from production and immersing himself fully in the power of words....RZA is a master MC."
  • Option (11-12/97, p.100) - "Individually, it seems the Gravediggaz are trying to outdo each other (and every other MC) by writing and rapping denser, more complex rhymes than anybody....they maintain remarkable flow."
  • Melody Maker (09/13/97, p.50) - "...machetes injustice, decapitates the real criminals, and burys the lot of 'em in a festering, snake-filled pit."
  • Rap Pages (11/97, p.110) - "There's a lifetime supply of meta-force wordplay for the heads, enough braggadocio for the hard-core and plenty of hooks for the pop quadrant."
  • NME (12/20-27/97, pp.78-79) - Ranked #20 in NME's 1997 Critics' Poll.

Track listing

# Title Producer(s) Performer(s) Time Sample(s)
1 "Intro" RZA RZA 1:16
2 "Dangerous Mindz" 4th Disciple & RZA Poetic, RZA, Frukwan 4:54
3 "Da Bomb" True Master Frukwan, Poetic 4:10
4 "Unexplained" Poetic Poetic, Frukwan 2:58 *"Wildflower" by New Birth
5 "Twelve Jewelz" Darkim Be Allah RZA 2:51
6 "Fairytalez" Goldfinghaz Frukwan, Poetic, Kelis 4:46
7 "Never Gonna Come Back" Goldfinghaz Frukwan, Poetic 3:48 *"Love Seranade" by Barry White
8 "Pit of Snakes" True Master & RZA RZA, Frukwan, Poetic 4:19
9 "The Night The Earth Cried" 4th Disciple & RZA Poetic, RZA, Frukwan 4:32
10 "Elimination Process" Poetic Poetic, Frukwan, Shabazz the Disciple, Omen, The Aleem Brothers 5:37
11 "Repentance Day" Poetic Poetic, Killah Priest, Hell Razah 5:18
12 "Hidden Emotions" True Master Poetic, Frukwan, True Master 6:17 *"Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding
13 "What's Goin' On?" RZA RZA, Poetic, Frukwan, 9th Prince, Blue Raspberry 4:32
14 "Deadliest Biz" Frukwan Poetic, Frukwan 3:03
15 "Outro" Prince Paul (producer) RZA, Poetic, Frukwan 1:17
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