6 Feet Under

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A decade after Gravediggaz debuted in 1994 with 6 Feet Deep, the former supergroup was reduced to a less-than-super solo act for the (too) similarly titled 6 Feet Under. Frukwan is the only member who remains after the departures of RZA and Prince Paul (years ago) and the passing away of Poetic (more recently), and while his persistence is commendable, it's pretty clear he's carrying on the torch longer than most fans probably care. In fact, most fans dropped off after Gravediggaz's second album, The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel (1997), believing that the joke had run its course. After all, Gravediggaz were a joke, at least initially, which is partly why RZA and Prince Paul called it a day after that second album -- the joke was becoming unfunny. And just as it wasn't so funny then, it's certainly not funny years later, as Frukwan struggles to retain the essence of Gravediggaz for 6 Feet Under. He's a talented rapper, and he's diligent if anything; however, there's just no getting past the fact that the Gravediggaz shtick isn't what it once was, something that is all the more marked because of how Frukwan has titled this album so similarly to that of the group's debut, which does no service whatsoever to this ten-years-after release (except perhaps in terms of marketing). Granted, taken on its own it's a fine album that should delight anyone who enjoys horrorcore rap, which was pretty hard to come by in 2004. But no, this is not even in the same ballpark as 6 Feet Deep. That classic album was a group effort that never took itself seriously. It was fun and silly. This one is essentially a two-man effort (Frukwan raps alone and Arnold Hamilton produces everything except one track, the True Master-produced "Burn in Hell") that takes itself too seriously (the album's commemorative, borderline-hyperbolic liner notes only further that sense). Frukwan has good intentions here, but he should have let the group pass away with the loss of Poetic, for despite his good intentions his work here only does the group's legacy a disservice. Burial time has come, no doubt.

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