Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Gravediggaz - Niggamortis / 6 Feet Deep


Gravediggaz - 1-800 Suicide

Gravediggaz - Pass The Shovel

So back to 1994 and the supergroup The Gravediggaz. The brainchild of the godlike Prince Paul, the group was made up of the Prince, RZA (then known as Prince Rakeem), Frukwan (from Stetasonic) and Too Poetic (now sadly passed away). They released their debut album 6 Feet Deep which was amazingly mainly slept on by the public before being reappraised and rightly raised to classic status when they released their second album, The Pick, The Sickle And The Shovel, in 1997, as RZA rose to the height of his fame. If you need more info there's a reasonably complete biography here.

A not widely known fact is that there are two versions circulating of their debut album 6 Feet Deep, the standard version and the original version released in Europe which included extra tracks and was superbly titled Niggamortis.

The first tune for your expectant ears today, 1-800 Suicide, is from the standard released version and was probably their biggest hit off the album. I love the bass and organ carrying the track before the guitar riff kicks in for the KRS One sampling chorus. On top of all that it's got a Ferris Bueller sample thrown in there as well - what more could you ask for? I always thought the Too Poetic verse stood out as the lyrical highlight of the track more for his delivery than the lyrics themselves.

The second track for your listening pleasure is the Niggamortis exclusive track, Pass The Shovel. Why this wasn't included on the 6 Feet Deep version is beyond me as it's a sweee-eet little track. A pounding beat and chorus of building horns with occasional whoops give the track a real vital energy. Once again the bass is funky to the extreme and I love the way Paul plays around with the basic backing, scratching it, throwing in a choir for one part - absolutely brilliant.

While the second album is decent and I certainly don't have a problem with RZA's talent behind the production desk I do feel it misses the fun of this debut release.

You can get a copy of 6 Feet Deep HERE.

Or you can get a copy of Niggamortis HERE.


Anonymous said...

work on those mp3's

adam said...

Love this track, I remember putting it on a mixtape along with 'trippin', way back when. But, not really being a hip-hop head, I didn't realize that RZA was involved. Figures.

Junior said...

Yeah, looking at the album now with hindsight the influence of RZA on the production seems obvious. Shame that Prince Paul took a back seat on the subsequent albums as I think their two contrasting styles work well together.