15 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While Prince Paul had been the driving force behind the first Gravediggaz album, 1997’s The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel is an RZA album in everything but name. Produced mainly by a team of Wu-Tang disciples, the album follows the pattern of many mid-'90s Wu projects: spindly, cerebral instrumental motifs paired with intense and verbally acute rhymes from a seemingly bottomless team of affiliates. The best songs are those that feature founding Gravediggaz member Frukwan, who provides an unhinged energy, unmistakable even among hordes of likeminded Wu-family talent.

EDITORS’ NOTES

While Prince Paul had been the driving force behind the first Gravediggaz album, 1997’s The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel is an RZA album in everything but name. Produced mainly by a team of Wu-Tang disciples, the album follows the pattern of many mid-'90s Wu projects: spindly, cerebral instrumental motifs paired with intense and verbally acute rhymes from a seemingly bottomless team of affiliates. The best songs are those that feature founding Gravediggaz member Frukwan, who provides an unhinged energy, unmistakable even among hordes of likeminded Wu-family talent.

TITLE TIME

About Gravediggaz

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 Hamilton). Gravediggaz's 1994 debut album, Six Feet Deep, was a minor hit, breaking the Top 40 of the pop album charts and containing the single "Diary of a Madman." The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel followed in 1997, and a year later the group returned with Scenes From the Graveyard. In July 2001, just one month before the release of their next album, group member Poetic passed away due to complications from colon cancer, but keeping with his wishes, the band continued on. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

FORMED
1993

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