Album Reviews

Album Review: Gravediggaz – Nightmare in A-Minor

Year of Release: 2001/2002

Record Label: Empire Musicwerks/BMG Music

Here I am in my final Gravediggaz album review, which is of their third and final album, and also as part of my horrorcore special (That doesn’t I can’t do horrorcore album reviews outside of Halloween-time).

Before I get into the review of the album, it must be noted about the background of this album. By the time this album was already in production, the two main producers, RZA and Prince Paul, respectively known by their aliases “The RZArector” and “The Undertaker,” (I often wonder if there was copyright infringement on the name because it was shared with the well-known pro wrestler, despite the title being an actual profession) had left the group. It was even noted in the liner notes in the CD booklet that RZA had other obligations to attend to (During that time, he was likely working on his solo second album, “Digital Bullet,” along with the two Wu-Tang Clan albums, “The W” and “Iron Flag,” and likely also working on production on solo albums from Wu members).

Also, during the time this album was being produced, Too Poetic, also known as Grym Reaper, was suffering from cancer and in spite of it, he still gave it his all in his contribution to the album. He passed away not long before the release of this album. So it was fitting that this was released as a posthumous album. It also should be noted that with the absence of Prince Paul and RZA, this album was produced by Frukwan (Gatekeeper), Poetic, True Master (who had contributed to “The Pick, The Sickle and The Shovel”), Diamond J, and LG. So with or without RZA and Prince Paul, it had no effect on the quality of the album.

Anyway, how does this album compare to “6 Feet Deep” or “The Pick, The Sickle and The Shovel”? Well, credit is given where credit is due. Some of the instrumentals in some of the tracks were a little weaker than its predecessors, though the lyrical content is still really sharp. The instrumental used for the skit, “Last Man Standing,” was eerie, as it was not only produced by Frukwan and Poetic, but also True Master, Diamond J, and LG.

The first actual song on the album, “Bloodshed,” actually kicked the album off on a high note. Frukwan and Poetic delivered some great rhymes mixed in with a dope beat.

Also, it seemed that there were some appearances from Wu affiliates once again. “False Things Must Perish” had an appearance from Prodigal Sunn, of Sunz of Man, which is funny because Killah Priest and Shabazz appeared on the previous album. Yet, another member appeared on this one. There was also an appearance from Shogun The Assasson, of Killarmy, another group affiliated with Wu-Tang. He appeared on the song, “Man Only Fears.” Both rappers did a good job in their respective appearances.

I can’t think of a lot of negative things to say about this album, except for maybe a couple of tracks, which were “Running Game On Real” and “Wanna Break,” but their flaws were mainly the beats. The beats sounded rather messy and too bassy for my tastes.

Frukwan and Poetic did a great job in the lyrics in all of the songs, but I have to give a lot of credit to Poetic for even going so far as to rap about his illness in “Burn Baby Burn.”

Yo, pain builds my character
Deranged cancer cell begin to damage my shell
Tissues begin to swell
A human pin-cushion needles begin pushin’
Through my, melanin color, blood begins gushin’
Hunger, pain is, fed through my veins
Tryin’ to maintain body and brain under strain
Belly bein’ drained from my nose through a catheter
To maintain my stamina, game is high caliber
Flashback my dossier file before the hospital
Lots’ll pay a pile of cheddar to see me rock my style
Got lots of smiles from man woman and child
A grave digga here runnin’ wild like the Nile
Ghetto, X-File, the horoscope bringers
City morgue singers, new rap era beginners
Four years out of seven I remember tourin’
And this year I’m measurin’ my urine

I didn’t know this when I bought this album, but it appeared that there was an original version of this album. There was actually an original release that had come out a few months after Poetic’s death and according to a review on, it said that there were a couple of extra tracks on it. Also, what was noted was that there were different beats used on certain tracks, for example, “Bloodshed” had a different beat on the 2001 release. I am now curious about getting my hands on this version so that I can hear the differences, though I COULD listen to them on YouTube, but still.

Overall, issues with the production aside, being that it was slightly weak (But by no means bad), this album was actually a good swan song for this group. It is a shame what happened to Poetic because he had the skills and talent to really shine as a solo artist. Frukwan later released his own album after that, which I may check out down the road one day. I might even check out his work with Stetsasonic. This was actually a decent album.


Top Five Tracks:

  1. Bloodshed
  2. False Things Must Perish
  3. Burn Baby Burn
  4. Man Only Fears
  5. Nightmare in A-Minor
Album Reviews

Album Review: Gravediggaz – The Pick, The Sickle and The Shovel

Year of Release: 1997

Record Label: Gee Street Records

Round 2 for my Gravediggaz marathon is now on. Here we go. This album was a total contrast to “6 Feet Deep” as it had more of a socially conscious sound to it with a lot of the content sounding more calm than before. However, that is not to say that there weren’t any horror elements to the tracks.

Another thing that differs from its predecessor was that Prince Paul was barely involved in this album, as RZA had more of a hand in the production this time around, as well as Wu-Tang producers, 4th Disciple and True Master. In fact, 4th Disciple and RZA both co-produced the album’s lead single, “Dangerous Mindz.” Not to mention that was one of the very few songs on the album that RZA rapped on. Too Poetic and Frukwan (or should I say Grym Reaper and Gatekeeper, their alternate names, respectively?) actually provided more of the lyrical content on this one. A couple of examples that had those two rapping on them were “Da Bomb” and “Unexplained.”

RZA shined on his lone solo track, “Twelve Jewelz.” While he may excel as a producer more than as a rapper, he has shown a lot of talent as a rapper himself and this song is proof. He has done some good solo work, too, but that is a topic for another day.

Now that I think about it, there is a little more Wu-Tang influence on this album as opposed to its predecessor. As mentioned before, there were tracks that RZA produced, along with the aforementioned producers, 4th Disciple and True Master, but then there were two tracks that were produced by Goldfinghaz and one from Darkim Be Allah. Let’s not forget that there were appearances by Killah Priest, Shabazz The Disciple and Hell Razah. So most of the Sunz of Man appeared on here. I am surprised that Prodigal Sunn and 60 Second Assassin didn’t appear. There could have been the whole group on there. Hell, I am surprised that some other Wu affiliates didn’t appear, or even the Wu-Tang Clan members. It would have been interesting to hear ODB, Meth, Rae, or Ghostface on this. Yes, I am aware that Gravediggaz was a side thing that RZA was involved in, but this album had the feel of a Wu-Tang album, whether it’s of the main group or even other members of the Wu empire. Either way, their involvement in the album did it justice. The three members of Sunz of Man did a good job on their appearances, especially in “Repentance Day.”

What about the horrorcore style on this album? As noted before, this album had a different feel in comparison to the first album, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t there. There were some songs that had somewhat of that feel. “Repentance Day,” “Pit of Snakes,” “Da Bomb,” and “Unexplained” were among the primary examples. Then you had the conscious songs. One of the standout tracks of that example was “The Night The Earth Cried.” There were such deep lyrics and a nice somber beat to go with it.

It seemed that this album was given average ratings when it came out. In my personal opinion, I really don’t think that this album is average, per se, and it’s definitely far from bad. While I won’t say that it’s as great as “6 Feet Deep,” it still stands on its own as an above-average album and it’s worthy of listening to. I wish that Prince Paul had more involvement in this one, though the production from RZA and his fellow Wu producers was still good.


Top Five Tracks:

  1. Dangerous Mindz
  2. The Night The Earth Cried
  3. Repentance Day
  4. Fairytalz
  5. Elimination Process
Album Reviews

Album Review: Gravediggaz – 6 Feet Deep

Year of Release: 1994

Record Label: Gee Street Records

It must be said: Horrorcore rap may seem like something that is rarely heard of, but it is not as uncommon as one would think. While I may have covered some of the bases in my review of the Flatlinerz album, one must know that while that album may have been rather infamous for some subject matter, that one actually came out AFTER the debut album of the Gravediggaz.

The Gravediggaz was a horrorcore supergroup that consisted of RZA (As the Rzarector), Prince Paul (As The Undertaker, not to be confused of the professional wrestler of the same name), and two rappers named Frukwan and Too Poetic, who respectively went by the aliases of The Gatekeeper and The Grym Reaper. According to some sources, the album was initially supposed to be titled “N***amortis,” but was changed to help appeal to the American audience.

When you actually listen to the tracks of this album, the songs really had that horror vibe to them. Prince Paul had a hand at most of the production of this album, if not almost all of it. A lot of the beats sounded rather unsettling. The verses from each of the rappers who provided the vocals each did a good job with it. RZA’s verse from “1-800 Suicide” was REALLY unsettling. Shabazz The Disciple of the Sunz of Man, a group that is affiliated with Wu-Tang, provided a dope verse in “Diary of a Madman,” one of the album’s best tracks:

Bear witness, as I exercise my exorcism
The evil that lurks within the sin, the terrorism
Possessed by evil spirits, voices from the dead
I come forth with Gravediggaz in a head full of dread
I’ve been examined ever since I was semen
They took a sonogram and seen the image of a demon
At birth, nurses surrounded me with needles
and drugged me all up with the diseases of evil
Grew up in hell, now I dwell in an Islamic Temple
I’m fighting a holy war in the mental
Look deep into my eyes, you’ll see visions of death
Possessed by homicide is what I’m obsessed
Giving niggaz brain dimples
Dragging they asses on my hook by they temples
The cause of death is unknown to the cops
Cause when I kill them, I’m not leavin one element to autopse
First I’ll assassinate em
And them I’ll cremate them
and take all of his fucking ashes and evaporate em
Or creep through the graveyard and hunt down your tombstone
Dig up your skeleton and stomp all your fucking bones
You try to haunt me nigga, I ain’t trying to hear it
Buck Buck Buck, I’ll give your ass a holy spirit.

Speaking of that song, that was one of the few tracks on this album that RZA had his hand in the production, though Prince Paul had produced some of it, too. Not to mention that it was probably the only track that had some Wu affiliates on it, Shabazz and Killah Priest. Also, according to a review that I read about this album, RZA provided a sample of an unused Wu-Tang demo, and then you have a sample from a Johnny Mathis song that sounds like it came straight from an old horror film.

Every song on here had a vibe of rage. “Bang Your Head” is a great example, as well as “Graveyard Chamber.” Then you have some songs that just sound really creepy, like the title track. It wasn’t just the beats that gave an unsettling vibe, it was also the delivery of the verses, one example being “Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide.”

It’s been 23 years since this album had come out and it still holds up. It may be a horrorcore album (Not that it’s a bad thing), but you can listen to it like any other hip-hop album and just try to look past the violent and hateful lyrics. It is top-to-bottom a great album, even the interludes are worth listening to.

One more thing, it appeared that the European release of this album had a song called “Pass The Shovel.” Why this didn’t appear on the Western release is beyond me. It is off da chain!


Top Five Tracks:

  1. Diary of a Madman
  2. Detective Trip (Trippin’)
  3. 1-800 Suicide
  4. Blood Brothers
  5. Graveyard Chamber

Movie Soundtrack Review – Tales From The Hood


Year: 1995

Label: 40 Acres and a Mule Musicworks/MCA Records

Track Listing:

  1. Let Me At Them – Wu-Tang Clan
  2. Face Mob – Facemob feat. Scarface
  3. Tales From The Hood – Domino
  4. Born II Die – Spice 1
  5. Ol’ Dirty’s Back – Ol’ Dirty Bastard
  6. I’m Talkin’ To Myself – NME & Grench The Mean 1
  7. The Hood Got Me Feelin’ The Pain – Havoc & Prodeje feat. Dawn Green
  8. One Less N***a – MC Eiht
  9. From The Darkside – Gravediggaz
  10. Death Represents My Hood – Bokie Loc
  11. Hot Ones Echo Through The Ghetto – The Click
  12. The Grave – NGN feat. Killa

Prior to starting this blog, I had plans to write pieces on a bunch of albums in my collection and until now, I decided to wait until a particular time to write one on the soundtrack to the 1995 film “Tales From The Hood.” Now why did I wait until October to write a review on this film’s soundtrack? I figured because it’s Halloween-time and what better time than to write it on this? Anyway, let’s get on with it.

This album is quite a mixed bag, but I don’t mean in terms of quality. I mostly mean in terms of style. On one hand you have songs that are dark and creepy. On another hand you have some songs that are just straight violent and have more of a gangsta feel, and then you have some songs that either have some somber feel to it or just a little more of a straight hip-hop feel to it. So despite being the soundtrack to a horror film, it is not a horrorcore rap album, at least not at 100 percent.

To put it bluntly on the latter category, a couple of good examples of just straight hip-hop are the tracks, “Let Me At Them” and “Ol’ Dirty’s Back,” both of which are from two Wu-Tang Clan members, Inspectah Deck and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. First thing I must note is that even though it says that it’s a Wu-Tang Clan song, it’s only Inspectah Deck on the song. Not that it’s a bad thing, as it’s a standout track from him, but it could have just listed him instead of the group’s name or at least “Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang Clan.” Anyway, “Let Me At Them” is a good track to kick things off as it is Deck spitting some sick rhymes in the process. It almost feels like he has one long verse in the song and he even produced the beat, according to the booklet. What a way to kick it off.

Now what about the ODB track? The only thing that I didn’t like about the track was the intro, with some boy calling out the names of west coast rappers, but then ODB said “Enough respect to the west coast,” as it is no dis to them. The beat on this song was rather grimy and ODB, along with his brother 12 O’Clock, had some good rhymes on this song. So score another one for the Wu on this album.

Regarding the gangsta tracks, “Face Mob” from…well, Facemob was actually a hardcore track in its own right. The first verse was done by Scarface and I think DMG and Smit-D were the ones who did the other two. The beat had a dark and gritty feel for the song and the lyrics went with it. While The Click’s “Hot Ones Echo Through The Ghetto” had a more upbeat feel to it with its beat, while the verses from each member were good, but it seems that E-40 and B-Legit had more than D-Shot and Suga-T, not to mention that she had the shortest verse on the song. Of course, frequent Sick-Wid-It collaborator, Levitti, provided the vocals on the chorus. And then you have a more somber-type of song from MC Eiht called “One Less N***a.” This song is like a mix of “Take Two With Me” and “Nuthin’ But Da Gangsta” from his first solo album, “We Come Strapped.” It has a more mellow yet somber beat that is mixed with hardcore lyrics. Not a bad mixture. I wouldn’t doubt if he had done this song not long after that album as it is similar to those two aforementioned tracks.

Then you have “The Hood Got Me Feelin’ Pain” from Havoc & Prodeje of South Central Cartel, NOT to be confused with Mobb Deep (The spelling of Prodeje is different from Prodigy), which is a song about the hard times in the hood. It felt like an emotional song from these guys and they spoke about the struggles. Dope track in my opinion.

Domino’s “Tales From The Hood” talks about the trials and tribulations of living in the hood as well. Domino mostly sang on this track and I think that was mostly his style looking back, as I still don’t really know much about him outside of “Getto Jam.” The rapper, Chill, on this track did a decent verse. Also, the beat was rather mellow, yet a little creepy.

Now we get to the horrorcore tracks. The odd thing about these tracks is that the majority of them were done by guys I have never even heard of before buying this album, while two other tracks were done by guys who are more known. I will start with the more known guys first.

Let me just say that one of the horrorcore tracks that stood out the most in this album was “Born II Die” from Spice 1. Now I know Spice 1 has more of a gangsta-style in his music, but this song has horror written all over it with his graphically violent lyrics and rather horror-style beat. Hell, I wonder if the beat that was used in the trailer for the film was a slowed down version of this song. If you saw the movie, there is no denying how well it went with that sequence.

“From The Darkside” by Gravediggaz also has a horror-like beat to it. It seems that it sampled some opera song. The beat was mixed by Prince Paul. I am going to tell you right now, you will get the chorus stuck in your head with them saying “You are dumb, and deaf, and blind.” It’s just infectious in an odd way.

Now we get to the three tracks from the unknowns. I don’t know if any of these guys had recorded albums after this, but if not, it’s a real shame, because these three songs are exceptional and have a good horrorcore vibe to them. Not to mention that the rappers had good verses in those songs. My favorite of the three is “The Grave,” especially when you hear that deep voice and that evil laugh towards the end of the song. However, “I’m Talkin’ To Myself” and “Death Represents My Hood” are still good tracks.

I have to say that this was a good soundtrack to an underrated horror film that I have seen. You have some straight-up hip-hop tracks, a couple of songs that talked about life in the hood, then you also have gangsta tracks and also horrorcore tracks. I mean it’s good that there was some variety on this soundtrack. Overall, I give it a 4/5.

Top 5 Tracks:

  1. Born II Die
  2. The Grave
  3. Let Me At Them
  4. Hot Ones Echo Through The Ghetto
  5. Death Represents My Hood