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The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel

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Album Review

Between Gravediggaz first album, 6 Feet Deep, and the second, The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel, RZA became the most influential producer in hip-hop, as his productions for the various Wu-Tang Clan side projects established his distinctive, skeletal style as rap's cutting edge. So, it's a little surprising that The Pick doesn't showcase RZA, even though there are several tangential Wu members on the disc. Instead, the production team of Poetic, True Master, Fourth Disciple, Goldfinghaz and Darkim mastermind the sound of the album, which is light-years away from the violent horrorcore of 6 Feet Deep. The Pick has a layered, textured surface, filled with inventive, unpredictable samples that create a hypnotic web. Appropriately, RZA, Prince Paul, Poetic and Frukwan have smarter rhymes this time around, exploring social problems instead of wallowing in comic book gore. At times, the album's momentum sags, but overall, The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel is a quantum leap forward for Gravediggaz. Unlike its predecessor, it's an album that reflects its creators' intelligence.

Biography

Formed: 1993

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Gravediggaz's violent mixture of hardcore gangsta rap and heavy metal was labeled "horrorcore" by some in the press. The whole incident is somewhat ironic, considering the heritage of the group. The mastermind of the group, the Undertaker, is better known as Stetsasonic's Prince Paul (born Paul Huston), who has produced De La Soul among other alternative hip-hop groups. The other members include the Rzarector (RZA of Wu-Tang Clan), the Grym Reaper (Poetic), and the Gatekeeper (Frukwan; born Arnold...
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The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel, Gravediggaz
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