Gravediggaz
6 Feet Deep


4.0
excellent

Review

by djon96 USER (22 Reviews)
October 25th, 2010 | 10 replies | 2,945 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


1 of 1 thought this review was well written

A couple of things: This album was actually called Niggamortis before it was released. It originally had another track, "Pass the Shovel". The UK edition had this title and track listing, but when it got to the U.S., the album title was changed for obvious reasons. As for the omission of "Pass the Shovel", I can't explain that. It's as good as the rest of the material, so I'm not sure why it's not on the regular version of the album.

Gravediggaz is:

The Gatekeeper (Frukwan, of Stetsasonic
The Grym Reaper (Poetic)
The Rzarector (RZA, of Wu-Tang Clan)
The Undertaker (Prince Paul, producer for De La Soul)

As we later learned from interviews with both groups, the actual impetus for forming the Gravediggaz was as a result of a feud between Prince Paul and Russel Simmons, whose Def Jam label had recently signed a horrorcore group called the Flatlinerz (to add another layer to this story, Simmons didn't take the Flatlinerz seriously at all and it was actually Run DMC's Jam Master Jay that signed the group). But out of the two albums released in the same time period, the Gravediggaz album is the better of the two.

Although RZA's participation might lead to some comparisons between this album and Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the music here is largely created by De La Soul's producer, Prince Paul. The combined influence of all associated groups, combined with ghouls, devils and witches-based Halloween-type rap makes for a distinctive and original, lyrical and sound-wise, result. Pay close attention and you'll hear one of the famous kung-fu movie samples from Enter the Wu-Tang, and the ending line of De La Soul's single, "Plug Tuning". Live over sampled instrumentation also adds to the Gravediggaz' distinctive sound.

In addition to the use of live instruments, there is a distinctive heavy metal influence on this album in the songs "Diary of a Madman" (which shares its name with a Ozzy Osbourne song and album), and "Bang Your Head" (it's usually the metalheads that are the headbangers, not the hip hoppers). The group's most successful single, "Diary of a Madman" has an audio courtroom scene in which RZA and Frukwan provide testimonies, along with guests Scientific Shabazz and Killah Priest, as to what turned them into raving madmen; demonic possession and torture are mentioned. This has the most in common, sound-wise, with Wu-Tang, being that the track was created primarily by RZA, while the rest of the album's music was solely created by Prince Paul.

Lyrically, fantasy takes main stage over realism, and when we think the album is closing in on something that could tie in with more realistic hardcore rap, it suddenly jumps into a strange line like "stalking New York with a black pitchfork" or a reference to being bit by a vampire. The message song is "1-800 Suicide", and the message here is KILL YOURSELF! (The music video actually has different, anti-suicide lyrics and lists the actual suicide hotline number at the end.) Easy to find are references to other horror media, like "Here's a Tale from the Crypt".

Not so easy to find are hidden references to the group members' Muslim religious views, and guest appearances by 3rd Bass's MC Serch, Biz Markie and Living Colour's guitarist, Vernon Reid. You'll probably have to dig further than six feet to find the religious references, but the reason why you can't identify some of the guests on this album is because they are not rapping or playing guitar on this album, but saying incidental lines like "Gravediggaz" and "only when you're tripping" for the intros and sketches, and so they're mixed in with the 300 other voices that are on these tracks.

There are, as noted, guests who do contribute verses to the album, but you might miss them, especially if they have names like Dreddy Krueger, which sounds enough like a Gravediggaz name to result in some level of mix-up. Dreddy, incidentally, provides one of the lyrical highlights of the album: "I love black women and I hate ***in' crackers".

Also worth noting is that a lot of the album's horror concepts are really good. On "Death Trap", for example, Poetic's verse is about a young woman being raped by her father that eventually culminates in a Lizzy Borden-type confrontation. And, of course, "Diary of a Madman" consists entirely of verses that are in themselves great horror stories. The previously mentioned idea of a gang member's life being snuffed by a homie who turns out to be a vampire is also a great horror idea.

6 Feet Deep is an excellent mix of menacing, spooky, scary, and down-and-out gallows humor funny. It's a great horrorcore album. Honestly, though, Niggamortis was a better title. And "Pass the Shovel" should be on here.



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user ratings (284)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
TMobotron CONTRIBUTOR (5)
RZA of Wu-Tang Clan fame joins forces with a group of extremely talented musicians to influence the ...

The Writer Ov This Review (4.5)
Gravediggaz are known to many as the founders of the Rap subgenre "Horrorcore". This near classic sh...


Comments:Add a Comment 
bloc
October 25th 2010



34768 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album ROOOOOOOLZ

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

xfearbefore
October 25th 2010



1245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, album is a fuckin' classic, I toy back and forth with rating this a 4.5 or a 5 constantly, might have to change it again.

Shame they influenced so many terrible horrorcore groups/artists though. No one ever did it even half as well as the Gravediggaz did.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 25th 2010



10593 Comments


looks like something I wouldn't dare go near, but great review.

Grimlin
October 25th 2010



839 Comments


not big into rap, but i really like this album

patroneyes
October 25th 2010



1919 Comments


i need this

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2010



7088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this albums fucking great no one should avoid it.

good review, but just to be nit-picky diary of a madman isnt the only track rza helped produce, he did 6 feet deep and graveyard chamber. frukwan and someone else did one other track each too cant think of the other guy atm.

djon96
October 26th 2010



131 Comments


"Diary of a Madman" is the only track on here that sounds like a RZA track.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
November 4th 2010



7088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I disagree, listen to Graveyard Chamber and then What the Blood Clot by Method Man.

But regardless, my point was that RZA did more than just that track, regardless of whether or not it's the only one that sounds like it. In other words the part thats bolded is what i have a problem with, not the other part.

"This has the most in common, sound-wise, with Wu-Tang, being that the track was created primarily by RZA, while the rest of the album's music was solely created by Prince Paul."

bloc
November 8th 2010



34768 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha, the original name for this album was Niggamortis.

Tupik
March 15th 2011



671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Suicide it's a suicide

Sooooooo goooood

Digging: Mick Jenkins - The Water[s]



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