How about some horror core? Twenty years ago, De La Soul producer Prince Paul and the mastermind behind the Wu-Tang Clan machine, the RZA, joined forces with rappers Frukwan and the late Too Poetic to form Gravediggaz.
Under adopted alter egos -- RZA as the Rzarector, Prince Paul as the Undertaker, Too Poetic as the Grym Reaper and Frukwan as the Gatekeeper -- the group recorded tracks together during the early '90s while in search of a label home for their project. After a number of declines from various record companies, the foursome eventually signed with Gee Street Records and released their debut album, '6 Feet Deep.'
With Paul handling a majority of the production work, RZA, Too Poetic and Frukwan wreaked havoc on the collection. Combining a dark sense of humor with Five Percent teachings and cartoon-ish violence, the group played a big part in pioneering the horror-core rap sub-genre and is one of the more innovative and influential recordings from that time period.
While definitely not an initial hit on the Billboard charts with only one single cracking the Hot 100, the album has gone on to be noted as an undisputed classic by many aficionados.
On this day, Aug. 9, the album celebrates its 20th anniversary. The Boombox decided to handpick what we feel are the five best tracks from '6 Feet Deep.'
Turn your night-light on and put the kids to bed.
'Defective Trip (Trippin)'
'6 Feet Deep' kicks off well enough with 'Constant Elevation' and the fan favorite 'Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide,' but the first track that really stands out is the sublime 'Defective Tip (Trippin).' On it, Prince Paul delivers a beat suitable for getting your hippie on as he flips samples of John Ussery's 'Listen To The Melody' and Alvin Cash's 'Twine Time.' The Gatekeeper (Frukwan) instantly kills with his opening verse, spitting, "Wanna see something that can make ya sick? / Stand in front a jet on the Gaza strip / I used to take puffs from a car, jet in my garage / Then I get blitzed from the charge." Meanwhile, Grym Reaper opts for huffing glue and Rzarector is taking mescaline tabs. Shouts to Old Fat Ned as well.
'Blood Brothers' sees the trio going for broke lyrically with each tossing a barrage of witty couplets around with ease. Produced by Frukwan, this brooding, sample-free number is definitely a winner in our book and one of the more polished selections on the album.
The aptly titled 'Bang Your Head' will cause you to do just that while listening to the song. Originally meant to be used by the Cold Crush Four, RZA instead scavenged it from a stash of Prince Paul beats for this standout '6 Feet Deep' cut. Recorded on the heels of the release of the Wu-Tang Clan's single 'Da Mystery Of Chessboxin,' RZA was inspired by U-God's verse for the name of this track. Powered by a frenetic beat and the lyrical stylings of Frukwan, Too Poetic, and the RZA, himself, this track is sure to give your rewind button a good workout.
There's always danger whenever you're in the graveyard chamber, especially if you're a sucker MC. Produced by RZA, this energetic track is also notable for being Sunz Of Man members Killa Priest and Shabazz The Disciple's first official appearances on wax, which lead them to become Wu-Tang affiliates. The song also features Dreddy Kruger, who earns top honors with witty bars like "I be the Bushwick dutchmaster wrapper, I love black women and I hate f---in' crackers." Overall, this posse cut is more than worth its weight in rhymes and a big standout on the album.
"You can't come back, no matter what you do, boy, you fall into a death trap." That was the message the Gravediggaz relayed to the listeners with this indelible number. Frukwan, RZA and Too Poetic drop vivid tales of doom and gloom on top of a rambling beat powered by a sample of Tyrone Thomas And The Whole Darn Family's '7 Minutes Of Funk.' Drug overdoses, murder and Lorena Bobbitt impersonations are usually not considered good things, unless they are on a Gravediggaz song, of course.