Robert Diggs’ credits and aliases are expansive; known by many as The RZA/Prince Rakeem/Bobby Steelz/The Abbott/Bobby Digital/The Scientist/Prince Delight/Prince Dynamite/Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah Founding member of The Wu-Tang Clan/Founding member of The Gravediggaz/Super Producer/Actor/Screenwriter/Director…
Phewww…I know right?!
In 1994, we were introduced to “The Gravediggaz” and our beloved RZA or as known by his alias in this group, “The Rzarector”. This was thought of by many as a “super group” combining other hip-hop catalysts of the time, The Undertaker (Prince Paul), The Gatekeeper (Frukwan), The Grym Reaper (Too Poetic) and The Rzarector (RZA). The Gravediggaz were among a few that birthed a subgenre of hip-hop deemed “horrorcore”. Chants riddled with serial killer ramblings and suicidal cliff notes are laid over hard-hitting beats, pounding gavels and high-pitched screams. In the debut and arguably most successful album, 6 Feet Deep, blood is literally dripping off the CD and a toe tag graces the back cover.
With the release of 6 Feet Deep on August 9, 1994, we became acquainted with the super intense death squad and Stephen King like movie scenes created in our mind with each track.
My favorite from this album, “1-800-Suicide” is a Prince Paul beat and thought by many to be his best. The whole album has that grimey 36 Chambers feel to it. I always felt like I was in the back alley somewhere crouched down underneath a fire escape, overhearing some horrific murder.
The Sophmore album, The Pick, The Sickle and The Shovel, entails more production from the RZA and therefore more real and less shock. Unfortunately, this took away from The Gravediggaz initial appeal and received more unsavory reviews from those becoming hype to the new “true” horrorcore being developed. Although collectively, as a whole, the album falls short of their previous work. In my opinion a couple of the songs off The Pick, The Sickle and The Shovel are some of the best tracks in hip hop history. “The Unexplained” is in my Top 10 all time favorite tracks. From the beat to the ridiculous lyrics coupled with the faultless delivery; this is hip-hop at its finest!
“Behind the ghetto plains, the warfare reign
Must we be the bearer of bad terror the mystery
Behind the unexplained…
Let us pound it through your brains (through your brains)”
In “Dangerous Mindz”, Too Poetic, RZA, and Frukwan exceedingly exhibit their true emcee abilities. Word arrangements giving verve and dexterity to each syllable uttered.
“Hazardous vocabulary attacks be beautiful
Acoustical notes we provoke, it comes out musically dope
Niggaz realize they just can`t cope
The hair, bustin out the head resembles fire and smoke Loc”
The Gravediggaz were an essential pillar of my hip-hop structure and paved the way for many artists after them such as Cage, Kool Keith (although he still believes he was the creator of the genre, I disagree) and even Eminem (I don’t know if Kim would have been killed like that without the homies The Gravediggaz).
I am forever indebted to them for helping create “that wicked shit”.