Review Summary: RZA of Wu-Tang Clan fame joins forces with a group of extremely talented musicians to influence the world of hip-hop in an entirely different way, while creating one of the most unique and impressive hip-hop albums in the process.
Nowadays, the name Wu-Tang seems to get slapped onto quite a few projects in order to generate hype. Albums like Wu-Tang Chamber Music usually consist of a track or two produced by the RZA, some phoned in performances by 4 or 5 members of the clan, and a bunch of no-name MCs and producers trying to gather some fame of their own.
Back in the mid-90s, and in 1994 especially, this was not the case. In fact in that era, just about everything that had the name Wu-Tang attached to it was a success. Shortly after the release of the extremely successful and acclaimed Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the unofficial leader of the clan, the RZA was featured heavily on the highly influential debut of the rap group Gravediggaz.
Gravediggaz is a rap group formed by Prince Paul, Frukwan, Too Poetic, and the RZA, or The Undertaker, The Gatekeeper, The Grym Reaper, and The Rzarector, respectively. They are considered one of the most influential if not the most influential groups in creating Horrorcore. While many people are probably drawn to this album because of its association with the Wu-Tang Clan, you should be warned that while this album does share some similarities with an album like Enter the Wu-Tang, overall it is quite different.
One thing that may be surprising coming from a four-piece with the RZA is that most of the production is handled by Prince Paul, with the RZA only having a hand in the production on three tracks. Fortunately, the production is flawless on this album. Prince Paul is able to orchestrate songs like Diary of a Madman with some of the darkest production I have ever heard, while handling songs like Defective Trip with a piano loop and guitar riff that would fit well on a De La Soul album.
The production on this album is close to perfect, but it takes the backseat to the outstanding and unique performances from the MCs. This is where the album is really impressive and unlike anything else. While most rap albums, especially at the time of 6 Feet Deep's Release, relied on a vocal delivery that consists of rhyme after rhyme to be effective, 6 Feet Deep features equally effective vocals that rely more on unique delivery and catchy hooks. Take for example RZA's first appearance on the album:
"Ryza-rector, ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha
Hooah, hooah, hooah, hoo!
Danger, enter the graveyard, chamber
It's like someone, diggin', inside your EAR, with a hanger
I inject my poison stinger, into your finger
Of all your life forces, I'll take ya
I'm blood, thirsty, thirsty for sure
About to bust up the same ones, who bust up the poor
You're, not safe, anymore
To all the holy spooks, I declare war
I'll, gravedig them up from hell, ryzarect them
From the poisonous bones of swine, I disinfect them
Positive Energy Activates, Constant Elevation
Positive Energy Activates, Constant Elevation"
While some of the quirkiness can be seen simply from this quote, the excessive use of commas cannot even begin to express just how interesting his delivery is here. The strangest thing about their unorthodox deliveries may be just how well they work. It may be clear from the quoted lyrics above, but I would also like to emphasize that rhyming is definitely not lacking here either. Just about every song makes you want to sing along with it, but they also make you want to turn this up, hide behind your tinted windows, and rap your heart out.
The album is essentially the best mix of production, delivery, lyrics, and atmosphere I have ever heard. I could quote more verses or describe more production qualities, but really there's no way I can tell it to you that would be better than you just listening to it on your own. If you have ever liked any sort of rap/hip-hop, you need to pick this up as soon as possible.