25 July, 2013@1:34 am
I first spoke with Prince Paul in September 2012 for an interview that covered pretty much his whole career. The interview got a great response when it went up online, particularly the questions about the Gravediggaz. Since then I wanted to reconnect with him to discuss the first Gravediggaz record in more detail. It is a stone cold classic in my opinion and I had a lot of questions for him. I finally got the opportunity to speak with Paul again last week and I focussed the entire hour long interview on the creation of Niggamortis/6 Feet Deep. Paul was in an especially talkative mood so the interview is really in depth. We breakdown the album track-by-track as well as discussing the problems he had trying to get a deal for the group, getting the record out and much more.
I feel this is the definitive interview when it comes to 6 Feet Deep, I don’t think Paul has ever spoken in as much detail about the making of this album. So sit back, take some time and enjoy the read… Like I said, it’s very long! – Pattch 82
HHS: Wassup Paul, how are you…?
PRINCE PAUL: Yeah I’m good, just getting my day started. How you doing…?
HHS: Yeah I’m good. I wanted to focus the interview on the making of the first Gravediggaz record if that’s cool with you…? It’s a personal classic of mine and I got a lot of questions! Haha…
PAUL: OK yeah, no problem.
HHS: We kinda touched on this the last time we spoke… 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.
HHS: 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.
HHS: 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: You had to shop the demo for quite a while before you finally found a label that was interested…
PAUL: Yeah nobody wanted to mess with us you know. One reason why I put that group together was I felt I was being disrespected in the music industry in the terms of just probably record execs. It’s funny at one point you’re in the limelight and people are like “he’s the greatest thing ever” and then a year later it’s like “awww he’s wack, De La Soul have fallen off”, because back then De La Soul Is Dead was considered a failure. Now it’s like “wow it’s a great record,” but back then it was like “woah they fell off.” And then dealing with Russell and them, we had the Dew Doo Man label that we were talking about and then didn’t happen and it was just horrible. Going through all that and then shopping the demo and I’m thinking it’s the greatest thing ever, I’m putting three guys together who are having hard times so they’re feeling what I’m feeling so I’m thinking this is a combined energy that we’re putting on this demo and we’re doing everything with passion and people are going to love it. And then they go “ohhh Gravediggaz… it’s a gimmick… I don’t know… its kinda wack.” I remember I had a friend she worked at Jive and she brought it there and one of the guys, I’m not gonna mention his name… I do remember his name because it kinda bothered me… but she brought it into the A&R meeting and he was like
“ohh man these guys are old, they’re played out, nobody wants to hear them again.” And this is pre-Wu-Tang so I guess that shows the power of having Wu-Tang behind the situation too. And it really bothered me and it literally sat for a year, I went to all the labels, anybody that I knew, that I had connects with… Tommy Boy, Def Jam, Jive, every label we could think of and they turned it down. It kinda hurt man, something I worked really hard at, I mean HARD.
HHS: I heard that you had a meeting with Eazy-E too about possibly putting the record out on Ruthless…?
PAUL: Oh yeah, you know it’s funny out of all of the meetings, initially he was one person that was interested in putting out the project. I flew out to California because I had a connect out there and I knew Eazy from before because we had toured with N.W.A. on a few dates when I was with Stetsasonic. He’s a real nice guy, it’s funny I’m thinking N.W.A. is all street and gangsta, but he was a real nice dude man. I remember going to L.A., going to Ruthless Records and I remember he had the demo in his hand and he’s like “yo Gravediggaz… I really like this, I wanna sign y’all.” I’m like REALLY?? Wow! One, I’m a big N.W.A. fan to begin with, people don’t realize how huge of a fan I was so this was kinda going full circle for me. So I’m like, “wow he get’s it, after all this rejection, Eazy gets it.” So I’m like “yeah let’s do this deal,” and I remember Jerry Heller was there at the time making an offer. First of all I gotta thank Eazy, God rest his soul, for giving me a copy of the N.W.A. VHS tape that I wanted so bad and it wasn’t in stores at the time hahaha, so I had to get that! So then I talked to Jerry Heller, he was ok but was very disinterested you know, he doesn’t care about the music, he’s just the business dude. But that contract, I don’t remember the details, but I do remember it was probably one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my life… it was almost like, it was better off not putting out the record at all, hahaha. I’m not saying it was this bad, but it was like yo you wanna put out a record? Pay me and we’ll put out the record, haha. It made sense why a lot of the people at the time had beef with Jerry Heller because it was that bad. It was like… what? Are you kidding me? It was horrible. So I still had a little faith and I was like “yo I’m gonna wait out for a better situation.”
HHS: How much time had passed between recording the demo and the actual album…?
PAUL: Over a year, because it took us a year to get the deal. It was almost a year to the day when John Baker from Gee Street called and said hey I like this demo and I wanna sign you guys. And the deal was actually half way decent. So we started the demo in ’91 and the actual album came out in ’94 so there you go haha. Right after we signed the deal it probably took us about six months to record it.
HHS: On to the album itself… it opens with a short intro “Just When You Thought It Was Over” and then goes straight into “Constant Elevation”, an absolute killer opening track!
PAUL: Oh yeah, my whole thing when putting an album together, and I still feel this way, is I like having an introduction to what the album is about. This is when people used to listen to albums; I don’t think people really listen to entire albums as much any more, they kinda skip each track. I tried to set up the mood and I wanted to let people know what they were getting in to before the whole album started. And then “Constant Elevation”, even before we recorded the album I knew I wanted to make that the opener, even before the vocals got on I already had an idea what the intro music should sound like.
HHS: How did you manage to get them to spit in those crazy styles, especially Poetic and RZA…? Were you pushing them or were they experimenting themselves…?
PAUL: Well it all started with Poetic. “Constant Elevation” was, I think, the first song that we recorded collectively after we had gotten the deal, the first track done in a real studio rather than recording at my home. I remember Poetic started rhyming, RZA didn’t get there yet. There was me, Poetic and Frukwan, RZA was late getting to the studio. I asked Poetic to start it off and he just came with some regular… you know, not regular… but you could tell he hadn’t been in a studio in a while. And I’m like “come on man, come on this ain’t you, you’re nice man, don’t front man; you’re nice so let’s show it.” Then after a few more tries he came out with the “BEEEEEWARE!!” And he kicks the whole rhyme like that, real crazy. Now that’s what I’m talking about, that’s what I’m looking for. That kinda set the precedent on the album of what his style would be. Frukwan had to follow that right after, and he didn’t want to be outshined so he had to make sure that he got in where he fit in and then by the time RZA got to the studio I played him what we had done and his eyes lit up like “YOOO!! That’s crazy!” I wanted him to do just his regular style that he was doing at the time, but he was like “nah nah I gotta change it up, gotta change it, listen I’ve been working on this style of voice.” And that’s when he came with the style of voice we have on the album. We did two versions; we did one like how I wanted it to be done, which is on my Hip-Hop Gold Dust album, which I personally liked better and then the style that he did that ended up on the album.
HHS: I was going to mention the alternate version on your Gold Dust compilation. So is that the version that you actually wanted on the album…?
PAUL: Yeah that’s the one where I was like “yo that’s what I like.” People don’t understand that Gravediggaz was like a reinvention for everybody, Frukwan didn’t wanna come out like Frukwan, Poetic didn’t wanna sound like Poetic. Prince Rakeem didn’t wanna come out like Prince Rakeem and I’ll remind you when we were there putting the group together he didn’t even have the name The RZA then. He made up the name at my house, because we were all thinking of names, ok I’m the Undertaker you know, The Gatekeeper, Grym Reaper. He said “I’m the Resurrector but I spell it RZA-rector, you can just call me RZA for RZA-rector.” So we’re like “ok that’s cool, that’s different.” So that’s a little known fact, he made up that name at my house.
HHS: Then we come to “Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide”…
PAUL: Yeah RZA came in and I remember at the same time he was recording with Wu-Tang. He heard the beat and wanted to use it, originally that wasn’t the beat I wanted to use because I had another idea but it worked out. He came up with the hook; he was like “yo I’ve been having this idea in my mind – nowhere to run to baby, nowhere to hide.” OK let’s do that, we recorded it and everybody laid the vocals down, RZA did a rough take and right at the point where he messed up at I put the little “daaa daa da da” (sings the kung fu riff from the beginning of “Protect Ya Neck”) to cover up the space where he messed up, because “Protect Ya Neck” had just came out. He was like “yo I’m coming back to redo my vocals,” when he came back he heard what I had done with it; I think Method Man was with him too. He was like “YOOO! That’s crazy!” I was like “yeah I didn’t have time for you to come back and fix it; I just wanted to get on to the next song.” He was like “yo that’s crazy; I love how you came up with that idea.” So it was a mistake that I covered up. I liked his delivery; it’s just that he kinda forgot what he was going to say at the time so I covered it up.
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: Next is the short interlude “360 Questions” with a little dig at Tommy Boy Records…
PAUL: Haha yeah, I just wanted to be silly. Ahh man I’m trying to remember everyone who is on there, I remember there was a bunch of people at the studio; we were at a studio in downtown Manhattan called GLC Studios. We just had a whole bunch of people there and we were like yo let’s just have them ask questions… I think Vernon Reid was there, just random people you know. And then yeah at the end… who killed Tommy’s Boy… I wasn’t expecting that one, haha. We were all ex-Tommy Boy artists at the time and everybody had bad stories about how they got dropped, except for me of course, I wasn’t dropped I just kinda moved on. So I was like, cool… and when we were sequencing the album I thought “Suicide” would be really good after that.
HHS: “1-800 Suicide” has such a laid back beat but the lyrics are so crazy that it creates a strange vibe. The lyrics seem even more unhinged because they’re spitting over such a calm, melodic beat…
PAUL: Well, I remember playing that beat for them and I really liked that beat, I made a few beats during that time that I was like “yo I really like this one I gotta record it.” I think I may have come up with the concept of suicide because I sampled the KRS-One thing in between, and they were like “yo this is crazy!” We recorded the vocals exactly how you hear, Frukwan came on first and I remember the guys were like “yo he nailed it, he nailed the concept, he nailed the vibe,” and that was his first take that you hear on the record. Then Poetic was like “yo watch what I got, I’m gonna go a little different on it” and he did the whole sing-songy part and I was like what?! That’s so nuts! Because the rhyme was crazy, the rhyme style was crazy. And then RZA kinda just reeled it on home, just going in with his Prince Rakeem style, but hardcore, hard. That was his first take.
HHS: There was also the RZA remix of “1-800 Suicide” that was on one of the singles. Poetic’s verse especially on the remix is crazy…
PAUL: They had asked me to remix it and I told RZA “yo man I can’t really think of anything for it, why don’t you remix it.” He said ok, and then he came up with the idea. Poetic was always the type of dude that was very competitive and I used to always put him a RZA against each other a lot. I used to always tell Poetic like “yo I think he’s nicer than you…” and then I’d go to RZA and go “yo man I think Poetic can kill you man,” hahaha. It always brought the best out of Poetic and with that rhyme he wasn’t taking no shorts man, he killed it. It’s a very underrated rhyme, people talk about great verses and to me that’s one of them.
HHS: “Pass The Shovel” was next, but that track only appeared on certain versions of the album. 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: “Mommy, What’s A Gravedigga” is quite a short track. A longer version appeared on the B-Side of one of the singles. Is there any reason you put the short version on the album…?
PAUL: I just wanted to keep it short and sweet, which was my thought process back then. It was a short, cool sample. The first time I remember hearing that sample was when Pos had it for a De La remix; I was like yo that’s dope! People didn’t really know the remix that well so I was like yo, I’m gonna reuse that. So I got my man Scotty Harding, who was my engineer for the album, play the bass over it and I’m gonna flip it the way I want to flip it. We made it really, really short and I like what they did to it. I added people’s vocals, the girl’s vocals at the beginning. People used to record stuff and send vocals in on cassette so I could sample it and put it on the album at random places, it worked out.
HHS: “Bang Ya Head” is a real hardcore track… the beat is crazy energetic. What was the thought process behind that one…?
PAUL: That was a beat that I had that I originally recorded as a demo for the Cold Crush Four believe it or not haha. They never put it out and never used it and I still liked the beat so I played it for RZA and Poetic and they liked it. RZA had just been recording “Da Mystery Of Chessboxin’” with Wu-Tang and he came back and he’s like yo for some reason U-God kept on saying “run in to the wall, bang ya head”, so we should call this Bang Ya Head, it has that kinda vibe to it. RZA said it was stuck in his head to use that with this beat. I said “yeah whatever you wanna come up with I’m just glad you wanna use it.” RZA set it off, he came up with the hook, and he showed the guys how he heard the track.
HHS: “Here Come The Gravediggaz” was produced by Mr. Sime…
PAUL: Oh yeah Sime, that was Poetic’s homeboy at the time. Poetic and his brother were doing The Brothers Grym when we reconnected. Sime was their producer, and he produced their demo. It was amazing; I thought he was an unknown amazing producer. Since Frukwan had a beat on the album, and RZA was participating and I wanted everybody to be involved, Mr. Sime came up with that beat and he played it for me. I was like “yo, it’s only fair to have y’all do a track on the album, put that one on there.” So that one was all conducted by Poetic, him and Mr. Sime got together, came with the beat, took the hook, told the other guys what it was and I just mixed it.
HHS: Then we move on to “Graveyard Chamber”. Another crazy energetic track and a classic early RZA beat…
PAUL: Oh yeah RZA killed it!
HHS: How much guidance were you giving to RZA back then with regards to production techniques, etc…?
PAUL: It was nice because he really respected a whole lot of what I did. It was really during the days of “We Love You Rakeem”. We were recording a lot of demos back then and unbeknown to me, he was kinda learning a lot of stuff, programming stuff, he’d watch a lot, he’d ask questions. It wasn’t until years later when we started going to the studio, recording this album, that’s when he started developing his own style and his own stuff. I remember he was heavy in to using the EPS, the Ensoniq EPS and then the ASR came out, the ASR-10. I remember that’s when he brought it to the studio and recorded the “Graveyard Chamber” beat. The thing is, I was so in to technology back then, like up and coming technology… but what was cool about him is he just did his stuff unorthodox, he just put stuff in off-beat, put in snares manually you know haha, and it kinda made me go back on what I was doing. Technically what he was doing was off, but it felt right and sounded right. That’s how it was when he came with “Graveyard Chamber”. It was a late night in the studio and I was like “yo we need another beat.” RZA said he would come up with something and in pure RZA style he made some stuff on the spot. He was like ok I got this sound, I got this idea… and I just watched him on the Ensoniq. It was real late, because we had the graveyard session; it was like 12 at midnight till 8 in the morning. He came up, all the guys came through, he created the beat and I remember it got to a point where I was like “yo man I’m sleepy I gotta go home haha.” I came back the next day and it was done, I was like “what?!!” I think I was there for a couple of the rhymes, like when Dreddy Kruger got on, he killed it. I think I watched Poetic, and I remember RZA wrote his rhyme while we were out on the road.
HHS: I read that you sat in on some of the early Wu-Tang recording sessions…? What was that like…?
PAUL: Well I’m used to going to studio sessions and there’s usually a lot of people in there, everybody vibing off, somebody is writing here, people doing stuff, people talking… but they were just so focussed on getting it done, it was a bunch of dudes in the studio and the energy to me was like having a football team. And in the middle of it all was the coach – The RZA. The beautiful thing was that they had so much respect for the RZA, every word that he said, the cats really respected and looked up to him and to me it was really impressive because RZA had a lot of respect for me. So what was even more impressive at the time… as they looked up to him, he was coming to me and asking me yo what do you think Paul? And I was like “Wow!” It was a nice thing to come in to a lot of those sessions and get respect for being I guess what was called an OG at the time. Just the vibe of those sessions though, cats were hungry man they were really ready to get it done and they were really excited, excited for each other and to me I was impressed. It was good times back then man, even though I was going through a little depression it was nice to see guys together and wanting to succeed. This was before all of the money and the fame and everything kicked in. They were really in to getting that album done.
HHS: Back to the Gravediggaz album, can you tell me about “Death Trap”…
PAUL: Yeah, I like “7 Minutes Of Funk” and nobody ever used the version with the bongos in it, everybody always used the 12 inch version. I remember Bambaataa used to rock it all the time so I was like “yo I wanna do a version of that song.” I played it for them and they thought “ok it’s something kinda new on the album because everything had been going one way, so yeah let’s use this one.” I went and asked Masta Ace to do the intro which I thought would be kinda ironic because he had just done the SlaughtaHouse album and he kinda mimicked all of that. He was in our studio at the time; we were all at Firehouse Studio so it was kinda easy to get him on the intro. I think Poetic came up with the concept of what they should talk about on that track.
HHS: Then we come to “6 Feet Deep” which is another track produced by The RZA. I read that the basis of the beat was some live instrumentation that RZA sampled…
PAUL: Yeah, one day we were in GLC Studios and I think it was before the engineer got in, he came in late and they had a live room with different instruments like drums, guitars, tambourines, pianos and stuff. So here is all of us waiting for the engineer to come in and we’re like “yo let’s see if we can get somebody to run the DAT tape” and we just started playing the instruments. I think I was on the drums, RZA was on the piano, Frukwan was on the guitar if I remember correctly and Poetic… I think he had a tambourine or something haha. So all these guys who can’t play anything, and we’re just kinda vibing and laughing and joking and recording stuff. It was all on one DAT tape, and once in a while we’d get in to a groove and we’d come up with something that I thought was pretty slick. RZA took the DAT tape and I was like “yo man I want a copy of that”… I never got a copy of it. So he took bits and pieces of what we recorded and he sampled it on his ASR and added a baseline and a beat. I was like “yo that’s crazy, that’s the session we did! I want a copy!” I still never got a copy, haha. So he took the stuff that we played and sampled it and made that song.
HHS: The last track is “Rest In Peace (Outro)” which is another dark beat…
PAUL: Yeah in putting the album together we had the intro so I wanted to put an outro on there too, kinda summing up what we did. I think it was just me, Frukwan and Poetic, RZA was coming late to the studio. So I was like “yo this needs some type of ending” and the guys were thinking about it, I guess I didn’t explain it properly. So then RZA came in, I was like “yo this is what I’m trying to do, just sum it up you know, to end the record.” I let him hear the beat and the first take he nailed it, he knew exactly what I wanted, he got it. And then everybody else just followed his lead, that’s why he’s the one main vocal right to the end and everybody else was just kinda vibing off what he was saying and I just produced around it.
HHS: When I spoke to you last time you mentioned that you put the album together almost like a jigsaw puzzle, as in all of the MC’s weren’t always there at the same time. Did that make it even more of a challenge for you to make the album sound as cohesive as it does…?
PAUL: Of course and to me I like challenges like that. I like sitting and putting things together. It’s hard but there’s a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day because nobody knows better. Like on “Diary Of A Madman”, nobody knows that song was all over the place, there was no type concept to that song. But to make a concept to it and to put it together in that way and to grow and they don’t know any different. To me it was lifting my ego too you know what I’m saying? At the time I thought I was kinda wack, people weren’t feeling me so I’m gonna have to show them how nice I am, let me really showcase some production skills. If it didn’t get respect from the people that listened to the album, which when the album came out it wasn’t a big record, but to the guys I worked with like Poetic, Frukwan and RZA they knew all the work I put in to the album so to get their respect, to me it was important.
HHS: Did you do much touring in support of the album…?
PAUL: Yeah, yeah we toured. We toured over in Europe, we did a tour of Japan and we toured the States with Wu-Tang when Wu-Tang first came out. We did a lot of press. The thing is it was just at the time when Craig Mack and Biggie Smalls came in. So we were doing one thing, but that other type of sound started popping. So when people looked at us like, “Gravediggaz? Ahh man this is a gimmick!” We kinda got swept under the rug even though “Diary Of A Madman”. for I think like a couple of days in New York City, was the number one requested single. And it had no hook! So that was pretty cool, but for the most part people thought it was a gimmick which kinda hurt my feelings because I worked hard on that album. I really worked hard on that album. I think if it came out like two years earlier it would have been a big record. If it came out at the time that I put the group together, if it came out during that time I think the album would have been way bigger.
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.
HHS: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, I’ve taken up a bit more of your time that I probably should have…
PAUL: I didn’t even look at the time man, haha. I appreciate it man. Take care.
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