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This album was released on August 9th in 1994. It was originally titled Niggamortis. They kept that title for the European version. I’ve been wanting to listen to this album for a LONG ass time. I was thinking that it wouldn’t make sense to do a Gravediggaz marathon when I still hadn’t done more notable artists like Tupac, Biggie, Jay Z, & The Wu-Tang Clan, but then I remembered that the RZA is a member of the Gravediggaz. So that’s why I decided to not only do all of the Wu-Tang albums, but all of the solo projects and side projects like this as well. I’m not really that familiar with the Gravediggaz. The only song I’ve ever heard by them is Diary Of A Madman, but I fucking love it. If you’ve heard that song, you know why. So yeah. I’m really excited to hear more shit like that. This isn’t just some shitty side project that RZA did tho; this is one of the most important Horrorcore albums of all time. I guess this is around the time that Horrorcore’s popularity as a subgenre of Hip Hop peaked. I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a Horrorcore album on this website. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever even HEARD a Horrorcore album. I used to be a big fan of Tyler The Creator, but the only full albums that I’ve heard from him are Wolf & Cherry Bomb, and that’s when he stopped doin’ Horrorcore. Oh, I guess I should explain who The Gravediggaz actually are. The four members of the group are The Undertaker (Prince Paul), who is a producer, The Gatekeeper (Frukwan), The Grym Reaper (Too Poetic), and The RZArector (RZA), who are all rappers. The RZA also produces obviously. So yeah. I’m really excited for this.
Track 1: Just When You Thought It Was Over (Intro) [Prod. The Undertaker]
This is a ten second intro. There’s no need for me to say anything about this track. It didn’t even need to be it’s own track. This could’ve played right at the beginning of the next song. It doesn’t matter tho. I’m obviously not gonna rate this.
Track 2: Constant Elevation (Prod. The Undertaker)
Okay, it’s starting for real now. Poetic’s on the first verse. Oh FUCK YES. This is so fuckin’ weird. It sounds like ODB’s crackhead friend got possessed by a demon. Frukwan’s goin’ in now. Yes. This is exactly what I was hoping it would be. Frukwan’s flow is dope af on this shit. Goddamn. RZA fuckin’ killed that last verse. He sounded so fuckin’ crazy. You know why this shit works? You can tell that they weren’t takin’ themselves too seriously. That’s the main problem I have with Tech N9ne. He’s so fuckin’ corny because he’s always tryin’ so hard to be dark. This is way more entertaining. You can tell that they were having a lot of fun when they made this shit. Their deliveries were weird as hell on this. It reminds me a lot of ODB’s style. I love this shit. This was a great way to start the album off. This shit is dope af to me. 5/5
Track 3: Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide (Prod. The Undertaker)
Yesss… This beat is dope af. God, I love RZA’s delivery. Every time he spits it just sounds so fuckin’ hard. This fucking album, man. I know I’m only on the second track, but I’m enjoying this way more than I should be. This is fucking awesome. The first verse from RZA was great. Poetic’s verse was dope af too. His flow sounded so good over this smooth beat. Frukwan’s verse was great. I feel like I’m gonna be sayin’ the same shit for each verse. They’re all great. RZA had another verse at the end and it was dope af. This song is fucking awesome. Goddamnit, I love this shit. 5/5
Track 4: Defective Trip (Trippin’) [Prod. The Undertaker]
OOooooooh shit… HAHAHAHA. This is fucking incredible. That intro was great. As anyone could tell from the title, this song is about getting high. Frukwan’s goin’ in about gettin’ stoned on the first verse. Prince Paul sampled a De La Soul record for the hook. Poetic’s rappin’ about huffin’ glue. “Know what I see when I trip? / The rats in the basement all start to flip / All through my building from door to door / I swear there’s a fire, so I piss on the floor.” His verse was dope. RZA’s verse was dope af too. He rapped about drinkin’ wine and gettin’ dusted. I’m not in love with this song like the others. The way it started had me thinkin’ it was gonna be a lot better than it ended up being. It’s not bad tho; I still really like the song. I’m just not blown away by it. I wasn’t that impressed with the production, and the hook didn’t really do anything for me. Everything else about it is dope tho. I fuck with this. 4/5
Track 5: 2 Cups Of Blood (Prod. The Undertaker)
HAHAHA. Yo, this shit is so fucking dumb. In the cool, funny way tho. Not the annoying way. Right at the beginning of the track, the RZA’s like, “Aiyyo, Reaper. Those kids out there seem mad thirsty; you got somethin for them to drink?” Poetic responds by sayin’ “Yo we can wet up two cups of blood,” and then the beat drops. I just listened to the whole song. It’s really dope. Poetic & the RZA are tradin’ bars the whole time. Frukwan’s nowhere to be found. The beat’s pretty good. I like the song, but it just sounds kinda incomplete. Probably because it’s just under a minute and a half long. I like it tho. It’s dope. 4/5
Track 6: Blood Brothers (Prod. The Gatekeeper)
I can’t decide whether or not I love this beat. Something just sounds off… It’s like it’s too happy sounding. RZA’s on the first verse. Yes. His verse was dope. “Acquired the knowledge how to master my thoughts / My skinny frail body couldn’t fuck with the sports / Six feet two, still wack on the court / So I stalked New York with a black pitchfork.” Hey, I guess the RZA & I have something in common. Except I’m not tall. Frukwan’s on the second verse. He did his thing. The hook gets the job done. Poetic’s goin’ in on the third verse. He killed it. Frukwan’s spittin’ again on the third verse. He did his thing. RZA closes this shit out with the final verse. I fuck with this song. Again, I wasn’t amazed like I was with the first couple of songs, but I still enjoyed the song. This is dope. 4/5
Track 7: 360 Questions (Prod. The Undertaker)
This is exactly what the title implies. Except it’s not 360 questions. It’s a skit in which a bunch of people ask 7 questions, including “do y’all eat ass?” I’m not gonna rate it since it’s just a skit.
Track 8: 1-800 Suicide (Prod. The Undertaker)
This beat is dope. I guess the theme behind this song is that there’s a hotline dedicated to telling callers how they should fucking kill themselves. “Get some LSD or a drink from the bar / Get behind your wheel and crash the car.” Frukwan did his thing on the first verse. Prince Paul sampled KRS-One for the hook. It’s dope. Poetic’s voice kinda reminds me of Zombie Juice. His voice sounds like Zombie Juice, and his delivery sounds like ODB. His verse was pretty dope. He had kind of a melodic flow. RZA’s on the last verse. He killed it. He was tellin’ a story of these 6 guys who he somehow got to kill themselves. It was great. I really fuck with this song. I was honestly kinda bored until I got to RZA’s verse tho. It’s because of the slow pace of the song. I still like it tho. It’s dope. 4/5
Track 9: Diary Of A Madman Feat. Shabazz The Disciple & Killah Priest (Prod. RNS, The RZArector & The Undertaker)
Alright, here it is. I’m pretty sure this is The Gravediggaz’s most popular single. This is the only Gravediggaz song I’d ever heard before starting this review. I’m also pretty sure that this was the first time a Killah Priest verse was ever recorded. I’m not really familiar with him, but I think he’s one of the more well known Wu-Tang affiliates. Okay, it’s starting now. This beat is dope af. Shabazz The Disciple is on the first verse, and I love his aggressive delivery. His verse was dope af. “First I’ll assassinate him, and them I’ll cremate him / Then take all of his fucking ashes, and evaporate him / Or creep through the graveyard and hunt down your tombstone / Dig up your skeleton and stomp all your fucking bones.” So, yeah. His verse was great. Poetic didn’t have a verse; he just sung a short bridge after Shabazz’s part. Let’s get into the most important piece of this song tho. RZA fucking annihilated that second verse. He completely stole the show for me. As I mentioned before, I don’t really know shit about Horrorcore, but, as a casual fan, I’ve never heard a more fucked up verse than this. “Upon my wounds they seasoned me with salt / And nailed my hands, feet to the form of a cross / AAAAAGGGHH!!! I cry / As the blood drips inside of my eye / Refusing to die.” The first time I heard that part of the song, I was like “Jesus, dude.” It would’ve been good enough with the lyrics alone, but when you factor in his horrifying delivery it really elevates this verse to the next level. The way he screams makes it really seem like he’s reliving the story he’s telling in the booth. Oh yeah, the story… I haven’t told y’all what his actual verse is about. His verse is basically him recalling what happened in his nightmare. “I got tackled with handcuffs and shackled in restraint / At the bottom of a holy tabernacle.” He talks about how he got tortured by a bunch of insane Jesus freaks. This is one of my favorite RZA verses ever. He controlled this shit. PLEASE listen to this song if you haven’t heard it before. That verse needs to be heard by as many people as possible. I guess I should also explain the setting of this song too… It takes place in a courtroom. I guess they’ve all been charged for murder. They’re trying to plea insanity, and each verse is one of their testimonies. Killah Priest & Frukwan were on the third & fourth verses respectively, and they both did their thing, but RZA really stole the show on this one for me. I fucking love this song. This is dope af. The music video was cool too. 5/5
Track 10: Mommy, What’s A Gravedigga? (Prod. The Undertaker)
Hey, this intro where Prince Paul is speaking sounds really familiar… Oh yeah, the part where he says “one, two” was sampled on Mortal Man by Kendrick Lamar. That’s awesome. I didn’t know that was a Gravediggaz sample. This beat is really smooth. Poetic’s on the first verse. He did his thing. Frukwan’s goin’ in now. His verse was pretty good. RZA did his thing on the last verse. This is a really short song. There are only three verses, and they’re each about six bars long. The track is about a minute and forty five seconds long. The intro from Prince Paul takes up about half of the song. So yeah. It’s really short. I liked it tho. It’s a real laid back, relaxing track. I fuck with this. This is dope. 4/5
Track 11: Bang Your Head (Prod. The Undertaker)
Wow. This beat sounds really different compared to everything else so far. Until the percussion comes in it almost sounds electronic. This song kinda sounds like an amateur Death Grips impersonation until the first verse starts. The way RZA was screaming “bang your head” just kinda reminded me of MC Ride. This beat is dope af. RZA’s on the first verse. He killed it. This is awesome. This really just reminds me of a much more accessible alternative to Death Grips. I really don’t know as much about experimental Hip Hop as I wish I did, so you’ll have to forgive me if I sound like a fucking dumb ass when I make that Death Grips comparison. Poetic’s verse was great. Same goes for Frukwan’s verse at the end. This shit is dope af to me. I love the beat, and I love the energetic delivery on the hook. I definitely fuck with this shit. 5/5
Track 12: Here Comes The Gravediggaz (Prod. Mr. Sime)
This beat is pretty good. The hook from RZA isn’t bad. Poetic’s on the first verse. It was dope. Frukwan came in after him, and he did a good job too. RZA killed the last verse. I don’t really have anything interesting to say about this track. It’s just a good song. Nothing really stands out that much. I enjoyed it tho. It’s dope. 4/5
Track 13: Graveyard Chamber Feat. Dreddy Kruger, Shabazz The Disciple & Killah Priest (Prod. The RZArector)
This hook from the RZA is really simplistic, but it gets the job done. The first verse from Too Poetic was dope af. This Dreddy Kruger guy is goin’ in now. “I love black women, and I hate fucking crackers.” Hahaha. Wow. Well, at least he’s honest. HAHAHA. This guy’s verse is hilarious. “‘Cause times is bad like luck / That’s why I don’t give a fuck / I dig up my nose and my butt on the bus.” HAHAHA. What the fuck? That verse was great. His flow was kinda weird. It sounded like he was squeezing a few too many words into each line. It wasn’t that bad tho. The third verse from RZA was pretty good. Shabazz did his thing on the fourth verse. Frukwan’s verse was dope. Killah Priest did a good job with the last verse too. “I dig through your chest like a jar of Vaseline.” That line is so hard. It just ended. That was pretty good. I wasn’t in love with the beat tho. The way this track just has 5 MCs spittin’ over this grimy production really reminds me of 36 Chambers. At the same time tho, none of the verses really blew me away that much. They were all pretty good. None of them were great tho. Well, I guess I did really like Poetic’s verse. I enjoyed the song. I’m just not blown away. It’s still dope tho. I fuck with this song. 4/5
Track 14: Death Trap (Prod. The Undertaker)
This beat is dope. The hook from Frukwan isn’t bad. He’s on the first verse. It was pretty dope. He rapped about some guy who OD’d on coke, and then some chick who got stabbed to death by a misogynistic asshole just because she wouldn’t have sex with him. RZA rapped about some crack dealer who got shot because he was walkin’ through the hood with a shitload of money on him. Poetic definitely had the best verse. He rapped about some girl named Lizzie who was getting molested by her step dad, so she chopped his fuckin’ dick off with an axe and killed him. This is another song that I fuck with, but I’m still not blown away by it. Nothing really stands out about it. It’s dope tho. 4/5
Track 15: 6 Feet Deep (Prod. The RZArector)
This beat is alright. The hook is dope. The first two verses were from Poetic & Frukwan respectively, and they were good, but that flow they were using got old pretty quickly. The RZA used it on the third verse too. I hope they don’t use that shit for the whole song. Even the hook has that same flow. The last three verses aren’t as bad. This is probably the most underwhelming track on the whole album so far. I still like it, but not nearly as much as the other tracks. This song really doesn’t have that much replay value for me. I don’t think it’s bad, but I doubt that I’ll be coming back to it that much. 3/5
Track 16: Rest In Peace (Outro) [Prod. The Undertaker]
Oh shit. This beat is dope af. Damn. This is one of the best beats on the whole album. Fuck. I wish they rapped over this. This track is just RZA yelling a bunch of random shit over this dope ass beat. Fuck. I really wish they spit some bars over this. I’m not gonna rate this track since it isn’t a full song, but I enjoyed it tho.
Track +: Pass The Shovel (Prod. The Undertaker)
This song was exclusive to Niggamortis, which was the European version of this album. It’s starting now. This beat is pretty underwhelming. Frukwan’s on the first verse. He did his thing. The second verse from RZA was pretty dope. I’m really not feelin’ this beat. Poetic’s verse wasn’t bad. The last verse from RZA was cool. Nah. I’m not really feelin’ this track. It’s not that bad. I don’t think it’s a wack song. Except the beat. The beat is wack to me. Everything else about this song is fine. It’s just not that good to me. It has pretty much zero replay value. I’m not gonna be playin’ this shit again, but I don’t think it’s that bad. It’s alright. 3/5
This album is dope. It started off really good, and then it kinda went downhill a little bit. It came back a little bit during the middle, but then it went right back. The Gravediggaz actually remind me of the Flatbush Zombies a lot. Meechy Darko is RZA, Zombie Juice is Too Poetic, and Frukwan & Prince Paul are Erick Arc Elliott. Not only are their styles similar, but the RZA steals the show on damn near every song, just like how Meechy Darko always steals the show. Without the RZA, this would be a much more boring album. I think Poetic & Frukwan are much better rappers than Juice & Erick tho. Anyway, I fuck with this album. I am just slightly disappointed tho. None of the other songs ever get as dark and violent as Diary Of A Madman. That song actually felt like Horrorcore. The other tracks have violent themes, but they’re so silly that they never really instill the same emotions as Diary Of A Madman. So yeah. I wish this album was darker, and less silly. I still really enjoyed it tho. I’m glad I finally got a chance to listen to it. I fuck with this album. It’s dope.
Favorite Song: Diary Of A Madman
Least Favorite Song: 6 Feet Deep
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I’m not gonna lie this the best horrorcore album of all time. Should be 100%
A few things I should note.
A lot of this album was inspired by the 5 Percenter ideologies, such as “Mental Death” a common phrase used by the Nation Of Islam describe an ignorant minded man/woman, for example Blood Brothers, 1-800 Suicide, Diary Of A Madman use various references pertaining to NOI viewpoints.
The fruition of the ‘Diggaz was because Tommy Boy Records had all screwed them over at some point in time. Leaving them to rot on the shelf (so they threw that last question at the end of 360 Q’s as a middle finger to the label) also initially the whole Gravedigga concept was spawned from Prince Paul who wanted to take a break from producing the De La Soul stuff.
The track “Here Comes…” was featured in the 1994 B Horror film “The Fear” (which had some pretty cool Horrorcore acts on there, I recommend that soundtrack along with 1995’s “Tales From The Hood” soundtrack as well.) The beat to “Mommy” is actually from De La Soul’s “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”
“Suicide” would later be remixed for MTV in order to promote the 1995 Tales From The Crypt movie with Jada Pinkett-Smith.
And if you dig this album look up the Flatlinerz who Def Jam formed as a response to the ‘Diggaz (Russell Simmons’ nephew Jamel was the front man)
The funny thing is that they almost signed to Ruthless Records’ only for Jerry Heller to convince Eazy that the Horrorcore thing wasn’t going to work out (the old man was technically right if you think about it, even though Eazy himself was testing the waters with songs such as the outro to Eazy-Duz-It, 24 Hours To Live, Neighborhood Sniper, Any Last Weeds etc.)
Also I recommend tracking down the intro from their 1992 demo “The House That Hatred Built” which is pretty dope.
This was a good read keep it up.
Thanks for the info and thanks for reading!
No problem ese