In 1994 I was a suburban white kid living in New Jersey. So naturally, the Wu-Tang Clan spoke to me on a deep level. (right?... right) I was obsessed with Wu-Tang (and still am, really), Kung Fu movies (check out my summer series here on Geekade), comic books, video games, and horror movies. Pretty typical, really. I also thought I was going to be a professional skate boarder and as such watched a ton of skate videos. On one of those, couldn't tell you which one now, one of the tracks playing along with the video was from the Gravediggaz. The track was Bang your Head from the record 6 Feet Deep. I loved the track instantly because it was so different than what was out at the time AND featured my favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan: the RZA. A few months later, the soundtrack for Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight was released. It featured the track 1-800-Suicide from the Gravediggaz and that was all I needed. I got the album and listened to it on repeat for months. It had a prominent spot in my five disc changer. (that's a CD changer, kids, which is as outdated as could possibly be now) They pioneered the horrorcore genre and remain one of its biggest influences.
The Gravediggaz, I would later learn, were a sort of super-group. The original line up consisted of the RZA (the RZArector), Poetic (The Grym Reaper), Frukwan (The Gate Keeper), and Prince Paul (The Undertaker). The group was put together by Prince Paul who handled producing duties for 6 Feet Deep. The album dealt with themes of suicide, violence, and hell in a cartoonish way as well as tackling the music industry and the struggles of inner city life. Everything was couched in black humor. It was like listening to a slasher film. They were saying something behind the violence and gore if you really listened, much the same way Wes Craven was saying something behind Freddy Krueger if you really payed attention. The album holds up remarkably well and if you are a fan of hip hop is well worth your time. You can find copies of it streaming on YouTube, just look down, or you can grab the record through various digital services. (the American release is 6 Feet Deep, the worldwide release is Niggamortis because we are easily offended) It is not just a good record but an important one. Follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, and let me know what you think.