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Monday, July 29, 2013

[COMP] GRAVEDIGGAZ + PRINCE PAUL on "6 FEET DEEP"

My man Pattch82 used to be a frequent collaborator on The Lost Tapes a while back, and is now writing dope interviews for HipHopSite. Among both me and Pattch's all time favorite producers are Prince Paul, and one of the greatest albums of all time is undoubtedly "Niggamortis" a.k.a. "6 Feet Deep", the first album by RZA, Poetic, Fruwan and Paul as The Gravediggaz. In this fantastic interview with Prince Paul, Pattch took the man on a trip down memory lane to extensively discuss the making of that timeless debut. Below you'll find some choice quotes from the interview, and at the bottom of the post you'll find a compilation featurign the Diggaz' original demo tape, some additional B-sides, RZA and Paul remixes, and so on. But I strongly suggest you read the entire interview @ HipHopSite where he actually breaks down all the tracks on the LP. Mad props to Pattch for conducting this beautiful conversation.

HSS: You mentioned that you gathered RZA, Poetic and Frukwan together at your house to discuss the possibility of forming a group. What was that meeting like with the four of you all together for the first time…?
PAUL:
I think it was really just guys trying to get to know each other because they knew of each other, but they didn’t know each other. And at the same time they didn’t really know what each others skill level was. So it was a meeting to more or less get them to understand why I’d picked each one of them and what I thought they possessed that I thought would be cool collectively as a group. So it was a lot of playing music and guys giving each other respect for the work they had done. I think once they realised that I didn’t pick any slouches, you know each of them had something to offer, then it just made it a little more relaxed and like ok let’s come up with some ideas and ok, ok you are nice… I see why Paul called you here. It was cool after that and then we came up with the first song, “The House That Hatred Built”, and that was the first thing that we did just all sitting down together after coming up with the concept of what the group was… the Gravediggaz.

HSS: Was the track recorded during that first meeting too…?
PAUL:
Yeah if I remember correctly. In the midst of bringing them all together and us sitting and talking and we were like ok the name of the group is Gravediggaz. I thought ok I think I have a beat for that. I had so much music and a lot of the music I was making back then was really dark. I think I was going through some type of weird depression or something so it kinda worked out that the name of the group was Gravediggaz and I had a whole bunch of music that was dark and it was just a track that fit the vibe at the time. The guys came up with stuff and we recorded it. Once everybody heard how they sounded together on one track that made them even more excited to want to work together.

HSS: The demo tape that you recorded, was that done around the same time…?
PAUL:
Yeah the demo tape followed right after. Once we had the first initial meeting it was just a matter of getting everybody’s schedule together and figuring out when we all can meet up next. At the first meeting I played music and they liked it, so I gave them some songs, “2 Cups Of Blood” was one of the beats which I thought was just a throwaway track, but I remember RZA was like “YOOOOOO that’s crazy let’s use that!” I’m thinking he’s crazy, you wanna use that?! It’s not even done! So I gave them the beats, put them all on cassette. They took it home, listened to it, and the cool thing is they talked amongst each other without me having to be there, because introducing them is one thing but then for Poetic to reach out and discuss ideas with the others like on this song I’m thinking about doing this or let’s do that… So by the time that they did come back to my house to record we had a good grasp of what needed to be done.

HHS: “Defective Trip (Trippin’)” is next. Who usually came up with the subject matter for each track…? Was it them hearing the beat or did you have a certain topic in mind for each track…?
PAUL: It was both. With some of them the guys would hear it and be like “ok I’m thinking this,” like RZA with “Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide”. With “Defective Trip”, I had that idea; I was like man “let’s talk about trippin’, drugs.” And I thought the beat kinda fit the vibe of trippin’ you know? Kinda spacey a little bit, still funky. I gave them the concept and they just ran with it. That was the cool thing about working with them, we were all able to talk to each other and express an idea without feeling nervous you know, everybody was open so if it was a stupid idea they’d tell you it was stupid… but respectfully, haha. So I came with the concept, they wrote to it and I just added all the stuff around it.

HHS: The next track is “2 Cups Of Blood”, which was originally on the demo tape. Did you re-record that track for the album or did you use the demo recording…?
PAUL: No. A lot of stuff that you hear on the demo tape is actually on the album. So yeah, “2 Cups Of Blood” was recorded at my house, it was recorded on an 8-track cassette Tascam, I had an SM58 microphone, everything that you hear on that record is low budget and we just mixed it at a decent studio to make it sound good. But yeah, that was recorded at the house; Poetic and RZA were going back and forth. I know Frukwan kinda felt left out, I don’t think he was there at the time they recorded the rhymes. I was like “yo it sounds good as it is man, I don’t wanna change it.” Not every song has to be predictable with all the same people all the time. It’s one of my favorite songs, the beat was a mistake but it worked out and I gotta thank RZA for that because he heard something that I didn’t hear.

HHS: “Blood Brothers” is a track that Frukwan produced…
PAUL: Yeah “Blood Brothers”, the original track was on a demo that he had. When I put the group together I listened to it a lot and I liked the beat so much that when we started making the album, I tried to get everybody involved so I was like “yo let’s use that beat that you had”. I think Poetic came with the hook and expressed it to RZA and Frukwan and they just wrote to it and that’s more or less how that one came about. We had to recreate the beat because there was a lot of samples so a lot of it we replayed but we tried to make it sound a lot like a sample.

HHS: “Pass The Shovel” was next, but that track only appeared on certain versions of the album [early European presses when the album was called "Niggamortis"). Was it left off the American release due to sample clearance issues…?
PAUL: Nah I just really didn’t want it on the record you know. That was put on by the recommendation of the label; they wanted another track to put on the UK release. I said ok, but to me it didn’t really fit the theme of how the album went. It was originally a demo that we recorded at the house and then we re-recorded the vocals. I actually like the original demo over the re-recorded one, but that was more to please the label. At the time I felt the beat really didn’t fit where we were going.

HHS: “Diary Of A Madman” is probably one of your best known songs. Can you tell me how the situation with the production credits happened…? Because you actually produced the track right…?
PAUL: Yeah I mean what got it twisted… I’ll explain how it happened… RZA came in with this sample and we were like “yo that’s crazy let’s use that.” RZA was like I don’t know, it’s not mine, I didn’t loop this up my man RNS who lives around my way did it. I was like “yo, ask him if we can use it.” RZA said “man we gonna have to give him credit, we gonna have to break him off a little bit and give him some credit.” I said “yo whatever it takes to get the loop.” So when we looped it, we didn’t even get the real loop, we just took it off the cassette. I said “yo, ask him what the sample is.” He was like… “he got it from a car commercial.” I said what?! Get outta here! RNS wouldn’t disclose what the sample was at the time. So I looped it up and added a beat and stuff to it. I took it, programmed the beat, recorded all the vocals, arranged all the vocals and that’s when I met Shabazz The Disciple and Killah Priest, they came down to the studio. Shabazz heard the beat, just the beat and the loop and he wanted to rhyme on it and he killed it! He was the first one rhyming on that song and the guys didn’t know how to follow it because it was too crazy. There was no concept to the song, just his rhyme. So I had to sit down and figure out how I could make this cohesive because there’s no hook, there’s no concept. So I came up with the courtroom thing and then I wrote out that part. When all the rhymes were on, I put the courtroom part on and I never told them what I was going to do. I played it for all of them and they were like yo, how did you come up with that idea, that’s crazy! How did you link all that together! It was just an idea I came up with. I took it, recorded the vocals, mixed it and at the end of the day I didn’t care about credit, I just worried about the record getting out. Technically RNS was never there, we used his sample and it was through RZA because it was RZA’s connect so then RZA got credit but the person who actually put the whole song together was me, haha. So I never got the proper credit, but I didn’t care. If it’s gonna take RNS to get credit for this so we can use the sample, because it was dope and I had no idea what it was, RZA had no idea what it was, so RNS was the only person that had a link to that sample. Now I know what it is, but back then I didn’t know what it was. It all worked out. So when I see people like oh RNS and RZA killed the track… I’m like what?! Even the production sounds like me, you can tell. RZA and RNS ain’t gonna come up with the whole courtroom scene, it’s not their style. But it all worked out in the end, haha.

HHS: So what are your overall thoughts on the album now…?
PAUL: I’m still satisfied with this record; it’s probably my favorite record that I’ve done and I don’t like too many records that I produced. I think the records I’ve done are ok, but that one I listen to and I enjoy it from front to back. When I listen to the album it’s a little different for me because I hear all of the production and all the hard work. I’m sure it would be ok if I came to the studio, did the rhymes and then I’m gone… but I pieced a lot of that together so when I listen to it I’m usually like wow I can’t believe I did that and the equipment I did it on. Now everything is done via computer. I did everything on DAS-950’s, I had a sequencing program called Master Tracks and I used the SP-12, did things by writing stuff down on paper and numbers. There were no screens to look at and move things so it was hard. So when I listen to it I appreciate a lot of the hard work. When I listen to it I miss Poetic because throughout the whole project me and him were probably the closest, he was a Long Island dude, we talked all the time. It was nice at the end of the day for guys like Poetic and Frukwan, them especially, to be able to buy cars, take care of their families. So for me to help provide that, to me that was a better feeling.

As mentioned before, there's a lot more interesting stuff from Pattch's and Paul's conversation; so please head over to HipHopSite.com and read the full thing! And also check out this lil' Gravediggaz compilation below peeps!

GRAVEDIGGAZ - "DEMOS, B-SIDES, SKITS & DEATH"

01. "Intro" (Demo)
02. "Aah Here Come The Gravediggaz" (Demo)
03. "Freak the Sorceress" (Demo)
04. "Pass The Shovel" (Demo)
05. "2 Cups Of Blood" (Demo)
06. "Ashes to Ashes" (Demo)
07. "1-800 Suicide: Partial" (Demo)
08. "The House That Hatred" (Demo)
09. "From The Darkside" (Ft. Craig G)
10. "Michael Jackson Skit"
11. "1-800 Suicide" [Poisonous Mix]
12. "Mommy, What's A Gravedigga" [RZA Mix]
13. "Freak The Sorceress"
14. "Pass The Shovel"
15. "1-800 Suicide" [New Vocal Version]
16. "Mommy What's A Gladiator" [Cali Mix]
17. "Reincarnation Of Freud"

DOWNLOAD COMPILATION 

1 comment:

  1. djbosscrewwreckaJuly 31, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    Thanks for posting this. Classic album. Good read.

    ReplyDelete