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Contributed by: Matthew Swift
Source: The Elements
Posted on: September 9, 2001 05:27 MST
Filed under: Rap


Q. So tell us a little about this new Gravediggaz album! what's it called, it's signifigance and the topics that are addressed?

A. "The name of the album is 'Nightmare A Minor' its actually on me and Poetic's independent label we puttin' out called Titanium Sunstar Records.." " ..We're
basically still dealin with the realm of the Gravediggaz right now, we're still dealing with shock treatment, still dealing with the ghetto and we're still dealing with the mentally dead....some of the topics we address is like how all things must perish....you know, basically how all these rich rappers out here are talking about as far as the bling bling and all that stuff, how they direct theirs, their only guide being that they're one dimensional and pretty much that's the only topic, the only topic they hit on. Gravediggaz is pretty much about the reverse flip of that. Whereas, we're trying to awaken our brothers and sisters instead of leading them in the wrong direction. Some of the topics like Burn Baby Burn, The Killing Fields, Blood Shed, Rest In Da East, God Versus Devil, naw mean? The album is hot! * laughter *"

Q. Rza is obviously absent this time around, is he still a part of the Gravediggaz family?

A." Uhm..... I dunno...you have to ask Rza that. Me and Poetic knew what we had to do. Prince Paul showed his love, but I can't speak for the Rza, I can only speak for Fruitkwan the Gatekeeper and Poetic the Grym Reaper..."

Q. With Rza gone, production will obviously have a different feel to it. Who made what contributions this time around?

A. Production still had the Wu Element as far as Tru Masta, 4th Disciple. Poetic and did a couple tracks and I myself did a couple of tracks...And it blends pretty well, it's still deep and it's still dark. Me and Poetic had total control over what we did, me and my partner just went through it, with nobody at all telling us what to do...."

Q. The last Lp was so different from the first, is this LP comparable at all to those two?

It was different because (before) it was three emcees, and now it's just two emcees. And pretty much the first album was for the satisfaction of the record label... They wanted Gravediggaz, they wanted horrorcore, they wanted some evil shit... And being that we were grown men... and dealing with zombies* laughs * .... But you see Gravediggaz was a cultural awareness group . Basically, now that me and Poetic got control and Gravediggaz is just us, we had that creative freedom. The third album, it could be compared to the first, as far as the raw cuts and the raw lyrics. We tried to keep it as Gravediggaz as possible, still make it apply to the realm while dealing with the black experience, growing up, the black youth and things of that nature.

Q.Tell us about the single-Rest In Da East ....

A. Rest In Da East is pretty much a battle song, as far as emceeing, as far as umm, just a simple, hiphop, where it started from, and how it dominated all over the globe. And whereas, emcees not taking it into their head, cuz they sold an x amount of units of records saying that 'they are hiphop', that don't make them hiphop. It's just some open up freestyle, shittin on niggaz whether they like it or not.... So if they want it, we're basically letting em know they can come back....."

Q. What was it like working with Poetic on what Im sure you both knew was to be his final project?

A. He wanted to do it, you know he was diagnosed with cancer back in 99 and only given like 2 months to live and existed like 2 years after that. So even through the cancer, we were in the studio knocking out songs and he was alright. It was the love of hiphop music for Grym that kept him going.

Q.Dealing with the loss

A. ......that's my man, we were pretty much roommates. Honestly it's kinda hard right now, cuz promoting the album and my man aint there with me to do it. He can't share in the glory of what we made. I just want his memory and his contribution to be there as far as hiphop. He had a love that was from the heart, it wasn't just all about the money.
On 'Burn Baby Burn' he was talking about his condition with cancer. He was going through something for a whole year and gives you a sample of it summed all up in a record. * laughs * So he had a sense of humor and I miss him a lot, that's my man.

Q. How was that experience affected you?

A. Everything I'm doing right now is just trying to keep all that alive as far as Poetic. Poetic's energy pretty much gave me self reliance on life and how precious it is. Loving yourself and knowing how to exist. You can't argue with the laws of nature althought sometimes life is unfortunate. One day my day might come but I know my day might come but Poetic will have secured a home for me in Heaven. And I'm still looking out for him on planet earth while living in Hell. And the title Nightmare In A Minor is pretty much titled after the whole nightmare we were going through. The nightmare he was going through as far as not knowing how much longer he had, and the nightmare I was put through having to see him go through it. Sleeping next to his hospital bed, the chemo, all that stuff.

Q. how has the Gravediggaz experience pushed your style, tastes and techniques since the days of Stetsasonic to now and where do you think it's heading?

A. You know whats kinda ill? If you take Stetsasonic ... S-T-E-T-S-A-S-O-N-I-C and you take Gravediggaz G-R-A-V-E-D-I-G-G-A-Z, they got the same amount of letters. (laughter)

Well pretty much, it was an honor to be the first and start something as a leader, the first hiphop band (Stetsasonic) and then come back as a Gravedigga and start a new category. The big difference is before it was seven cats and now its just me. So pretty much from 'Talkin' All That Jazz', 'Go Stetsa', 'Self Destruction' doin a song called Africa with a great percussionist from Africa and Jesse Jackson. I kinda still feel good about what I'm doing, cuz I know I served my responsibility. But now, Gravediggaz is just keeping it real., no holds barred, Im in yo face, this is is what's going on.

Q. Now here's a very very serious question. Do u ever go back and try on the outfit you had on in the Stetsasonic-Talkin All That Jazz video?

A. What you mean troop suits? Actually I don't even have that shit no more, I don't know where it is. And I bet you it's not even white no more. Word. (laughter)

Q. have we seen the end of Gravediggaz?

A. There will be future work from Gravediggaz. I'm working on another album now, but just taking it easy and trying to recover mentally from my partners passing. There's still tracks that me and Poetic have done. You know, I want to keep his memory alive as far as I can. I don't want to act like Im trying to profit off of it, cuz Im not. But in the future, Gravediggaz will be featuring other artists. But no artists have been confirmed as of yet, it's still in the workings.
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