Prince Paul Explains Why He’s Bothered By 1 Important Gravediggaz Credit (Video)
Prince Paul was a founding member of The Gravediggaz. At a time when he was still very active in producing De La Soul records, the Long Island, New Yorker assembled a quartet with Stetsasonic band-mate Frukwan (aka “The Gatekeeper”), as well as onetime Tommy Boy Records label-mate Poetic (aka “The Grym Reaper”) and Wu-Tang Clan’s Abbott, The RZA (aka “The RZArector”). Paul assumed the alias “The Undataker” and would eventually help the horrorcore act land a deal with Gee Street Records and find success.
Members of The Gravediggaz have been off and on for more than 20 years. Sadly, member Poetic passed away in 2001. However, the crew is best known for its original lineup, and 1994 debut 6 Feet Deep. Although it was recorded first, the LP was released less than a year after Wu-Tang’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It entered in the Top 40 and became a hallmark of the horror-core sub-genre. In its history the group had one song enter the charts, “Diary Of A Madman” (embedded below), with production credited to RZA, Prince Paul, and RNS. In a new interview, Prince Paul corrects history.
“When people talk about ‘Diary Of A Mad Man’ and the Gravediggaz record, I produced that record,” Paul asserts. “But I divied out the credit because it goes through a chain of people, and I’ll tell you how it happened—and no one can dispute this,” he says in a video for sample-buying service Tracklib. “The sample originally came from RZA’s homeboy, RNS. RZA said, ‘Yo, I got the sample, but you know, my boy has it. But I wanna use it; it’d work good for The Gravediggaz.’ I was like, ‘Cool. Let me take it and let me flip it.'” Paul went to work, but RZA insisted that they owed credit to the Staten Island producer who also made “Blue Cheese” for The UMC’s, and records for Shyheim Da Rugged Child. Paul conceded. “Alright, so RNS gets credit for the record. RZA gets credit ’cause it went through RZA, and me, ’cause I put the whole record together: programmed the drums, put the court pieces and stuff in it. But when you look at the credits, everybody goes ‘Yeah, RZA produced it, but Paul had nothin’ to do with it.’…it’s obviously a Prince Paul production, you can hear how it’s done. Nobody makes stuff like that, at least during that time.”
Paul says he finds that perception frustrating. “They based the credit on the sampling and not the actual work; the founder of the sample gets more credit than the person who actually puts the song together.” Paul says he assumes some responsibility for trying to make everybody happy in the situation, “when in essence, it really should’ve been ‘Produced by Prince Paul, Sample provided by [RNS] through The RZA.'”
“That bothered me,” Paul admits of the song that also features then-Sunz Of Man members Killah Priest and Shabazz The Disciple. “But I’m glad I get to clear it up now.”
#BonusBeat: The Hype Williams-directed visual for 1994’s “Diary Of A Madman”: