26 years ago today, the Gravediggaz released their debut album 6 Feet Deep under Island Records. It was primarily produced by Prince Paul, who provided the album with a sound that was noticeably darker than anything he had done before. The lyrics mix black humor with criticism regarding the music industry, cartoonish violence & esoteric references to the Nation of Gods & Earths. To me, this is the greatest horrorcore album ever made.
6 Feet Deep (alternately titled Niggamortis) is the debut album of the horrorcore supergroup Gravediggaz. It was released on August 9, 1994 by Gee Street Records. The album was re-issued in 1997. 6 Feet Deep received generally positive reviews, with critics praising its ominous production and lyrics, and is considered an influential album in the horrorcore subgenre. The album peaked at number 36 on the Billboard 200 and spawned three singles: “Diary of a Madman”, “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide” and “1-800 Suicide”.
The original title of the album was Niggamortis, but it was changed to have a better reaction with the American crowd. However, the record was called by its original title overseas. The European version also included the bonus song “Pass the Shovel”.
The last question on “360 Questions” is a reference to Tommy Boy Records, to which each band member had been signed at one point.
Grym Reaper’s first couple of lines from “Here Comes the Grave Diggaz” (You don’t pull on Superman’s cape/You don’t spit into the wind/You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger) are from the song “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim (song),” originally by Jim Croce.
Killah Priest and Shabazz the Disciple made their first released appearances on “Graveyard Chamber” and the single “Diary of a Madman”. This led to RZA signing them both to his Wu-Tang Records together with their group Sunz of Man. Dreddy Kruger made his recording debut on “Graveyard Chamber” as well.
Three charting singles were released from the album. “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide” and “1-800 Suicide” found minor success on the rap charts, while “Diary of a Madman” became the group’s only single to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, making it to 82
The album was well received and is considered to be one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time. It is also notable as a unique collaboration between two of the most influential producers on the East Coast at the time, Prince Paul and the RZA.
Rolling Stone (10/6/94, p. 90) – 3.5 Stars – “[Gravediggaz] evoke the atmosphere of horror movies and ominous effects, they’ve also been street tested, boasting hard beats and verbal skills.”
Entertainment Weekly (8/19/94, p. 62) – “The album doesn’t take itself very seriously, but the flustered beats, washed in minor chords, are strangely irresistible–partly because it is all so silly”. – Rating: B
Q magazine (11/94, p. 129) – 3 Stars – “The foursome use death, burial and The Grim Reaper as central themes for a chilling mid-tempo stomp through America’s urban problems.”
The Source (9/94, pp. 91–92) – 3.5 Stars – “No, this isn’t the climax of the latest Stephen King flick or Jason, part 17. It’s an image created by the Gravediggaz, one of a number of new groups combining rap with horror-movie macabre to create a genre unofficially known as `horror-core'”.
NME (12/24/94, p. 22) – Ranked #22 in NME’s list of the `Top 50 Albums Of 1994.’
NME (Magazine) (9/10/94, p.46) – 8 – Excellent – “Gravediggaz feverishly document the low life – graveyard low.”
In 2009, Fangoria named it as an iconic horrorcore album.