Gravediggaz was a rap supergroup formed in the early 1990s consisting of four members, each with their own unique style and persona. The group was composed of Prince Paul, also known as The Undertaker, who was a former member of Stetsasonic and De La Soul’s house producer, Frukwan, also known as The Gatekeeper, an MC from Stetsasonic, RZA, also known as The RZArector, who would later become famous as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, and the late Too Poetic, also known as The Grym Reaper, an underground rapper.
Each member of Gravediggaz had experienced tough times with Tommy Boy Records, with Prince Paul, Frukwan, and Stetsasonic having issues with the label in the early 1990s and being dropped from the label after achieving success in the 1980s. Similarly, RZA, who had mild success under the name Prince Rakeem, was also signed to Tommy Boy and was also dropped from the label. Too Poetic had also tried to make a name for himself in the record industry but had difficulty getting exposure, which left him broke and homeless. The four members of Gravediggaz were united in their frustration and anger towards Tommy Boy, which almost certainly influenced their name.
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Despite their individual setbacks, the four members of Gravediggaz came together to form a rap supergroup that would go on to release one of the most groundbreaking albums of the 1990s, 6 Feet Deep. The album featured production from Prince Paul, with contributions from RZA, and was recorded between 1991 and 1994. It is regarded as a pioneering album in the horrorcore sub-genre, which featured dark and macabre lyrical themes and horror movie-inspired pseudonyms for each member of the group.
6 Feet Deep is widely regarded as a cult classic, with excellent production and top-notch emceeing. While Prince Paul and RZA are known as two of the most influential producers in Hip Hop, Frukwan and Too Poetic are lesser-known but still highly competent MCs who deliver masterful performances on the album. The lyrics on the album are graphic and often comical, with a dark sense of humor that is an extension of the group’s personalities. The album is intentionally over-the-top and can only be fully appreciated by taking the lyrics into consideration.
The album features a range of topics, from suicide to brutal murders, and each member of the group brings their own unique perspective to the songs. “1-800 Suicide” is a standout track, which pokes fun at the suicidal and even gives them advice on how to best kill themselves off. “Diary of a Madman” features each member of the group testifying in a courtroom about the brutal murders they have committed, while “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide” and “Blood Brothers” feature the MCs delivering unforgiving death raps. “Death Trap” continues the album’s theme of death and destruction.
The beats on the album are equally dark and ominous, with Prince Paul delivering arguably the best production of his career. RZA’s contributions are also notable, with his maniacal personality shining through and taking his early Wu-Tang verses to new levels. The album is a remarkable piece of music, not just for its sound, but also for the all-star cast. Gravediggaz were trendsetters in Hip Hop, not just for their supergroup status, but also for their role as one of the pioneers in the horrorcore sub-genre.
Gravediggaz’s 6 Feet Deep is a remarkable piece of music that still holds up today. It is a testament to the creativity and talent of its members and remains a low-key classic of underground and mainstream Hip Hop alike.