Mommy, What's A Gravedigga?
Written by Hannibal Tha General
Saturday, 04 February 2012 04:36
"Mommy What's A Gravedigga?"
This music that we call hip hop has changed a lot over the years with some calling it evolution while others seem to think that it has degenerated into something that is barely recognizable when compared to what we knew. I had the opportunity to chat with Frukwan Sun Star aka The Gatekeeper a member of the pioneering hip hop band Stetsasonic & The Gravediggaz. As someone who has witnessed the birth and growth of hip hop music Frukwan possesses vast knowledge of this culture we all find ourselves attached to for better or worst. Using the pick, the sickle and the shovel we are about to dig deep into the mind of a Gravediggaz.
Hannibal: Peace Frukwan it is an honor to be here with you and I appreciate you taking the time to chop it up with us and participating in this interview. I recently saw you perform at Cage Vs Cons in L.A a couple months ago with Killah Priest and Shabazz The Disciple and based on the reaction from the crowd I can tell that the love for authentic hip hop is still there. Did you expect the crowd to be so enthusiastic about your music after so many years?
Frukwan: Peace, and to answer your question it was a wave of energy from the crowd that night of the performance, it was also good to be amongst the Wu Family again meaning Priest and Bazz, and in this day and age of the vast forms of RAP music it felt good to be in Los Angeles cause there’s still a love for Gravediggaz and Hip Hop music.
Hannibal: As a part of two very influential groups in hip hop could you give us a little history on both Stetsasonic and The Gravediggaz and how they both came about?
Frukwan: Being with Stetsasonic in the early 80’s began the era of the Original Hip Hop Band. The Mc’s were me FRUKWAN, DADDY-O and DELITE and we had WISE as the human beat box/beat machine PRINCE PAUL was the Dj, then the members expanded to have DBC with the live keyboards along with BOBBY on the drums. It got us lots of exposure, consciousness and we traveled the world, till bout 90 after that I left the band. I was doing my solo thing and a year later me and PAUL connected with POETIC and RZA and formed the Gravediggaz. We all had felt we needed to expose the horrors of the treatment applied on us as a people and wanted the wake up the mentally dead from the present state of unawareness and ignorance of themselves through the use of the pick, the sickle, and the shovel aka Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding, so we created a new chamber in Hip Hop called Horror Core. Seems I’m left holding the torch as the holder-in-due course.
Hannibal: Coming into this business in the 80's with Stetsasonic (one of the first hip hop bands to use a live instruments) then later having success as a member of The Gravediggaz you have been able to witness this culture from the initial stages to the present and achieved success while still remaining relevant. What are your thoughts on the current state of the game and are there any rappers that you are feeling right now? If so who and why?
Frukwan: Far as the current state of our ignorance? RAP will continue to be the straw man of Hip Hop controlled by those who want to profit without concern for our youth. Years ago Hip Hop made sure that we protected our art and involved the youth through teaching to developing them to be thinkers not just Mc’s, so my focus now is to continuing the fight of the poor righteous teacher and manifesting true Hip Hop cause think about the ones that was gifted enough to have success, have they done anything to expose the lie, to make visual images so that our youth can tap inside there conscious state based on our history, our cultural, or have they now become part of the lie and now live comfortably within it? Far as who I listen to I still listen to everything but in moderation cause this music needs to be monitored by the righteous ones who created it, cause remember as the earth recycles its self from the pollutions and the poisons that’s been poured inside, so will Hip Hop.
Hannibal: In regards to fellow Gravediggaz Too Poetic aka The Grym Reaper (who passed away 10 years ago last July due to colon cancer) if you dont mind could you please share some of your favorite memories?
Frukwan: R.I.P my beloved brother Poetic, we always had fun in everything we connected on. We understood the science of life even through his illness, and he was still able to rock the mic and record until his last breath of life. He is still with me to this day, and no one can take his place in any future Gravediggaz material, but my favorite memories have to be every time we was on stage as Gravediggaz.
Hannibal: There has been alot of talk recently about the return of The Gravediggaz with a revamped roster is there any truth to this and if so how soon can we expect to hear some new music?
Frukwan: All I can say is keep your earz open cause there are some unreleased material that exist and newly recorded material that has been collaborated on…so yes there will be new Gravediggaz in the near future.
Hannibal: You are blessed to have witnessed hip hop from its early years to the present and still remained relevant, how do you maintain longevity and still book shows in this arena that has seen so many come and go?
Frukwan: One thing I realized is you can’t fool the fans. Lots of artist take that on face value and that’s why they come and go, but I have been through 3 decades of fans and I can’t leave the Wu out from this cause with the connect to WU-TANG I added on to a younger group of fans, but as I got older I have gotten wiser to a degree of consciousness that I can use to protect and monitor Hip Hop. I still do shows cause those who are Gravediggaz are born to rule the world and that’s what Hip Hop has done.
Hannibal: If you weren’t doing music what would you be doing right now?
Frukwan: Most likely being a teacher, or motivated speaker or connected to something dealing with the youth. Weather, History, Education, or Culture and or Sports.
Hannibal: What direction do you see this music taking in the next decade?
Frukwan: We the original people on the planet, are the life force of energy and other races bank off our existence and what we create, but we are so disassociated with our ability of natural Law and out of fear scared to fight to protect what’s rightfully ours. As long as we continue to live in our lower status, others will take and profit and mimic what we do so this music is what’s shown all over the world. The world is waiting for us to bond as the empire we built. We are still by nature the mothers and fathers of civilization but also remember Hip Hop is a civilization then what does that make RAP? The destruction of civilization…think about it.
Hannibal: Do you have any words of inspiration for the individuals who are pursuing a career in hip hop?
Frukwan: I think that every man or woman’s qualities qualifies or disqualify them through their ways and actions. You have to look at the long term of your projected journey through music, relate it to your everyday current events, if you live negative that’s what you get back. In Hip Hop the challenge is to keep it 100 and the fight to stand your ground regardless of it’s obstacles… meaning agents of the industry that will get you to change your image to fit their program not yours, so control your music don’t let anyone control you.
Hannibal: Is there anything people might not know about you that you would like to share?
Frukwan: That Frukwan is the God! Meaning the maker, the owner and cream of the planet earth, and that I represent Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding as a Gravedigga.
Hannibal: Would you like to give a shout out?
Frukwan: To all the fallen soldiers in the struggle and fight for freedom. Cause remember in order to enter the kingdom of God, you must be born twice, 1st from the womb of the woman, then through the womb of Allah meaning don’t be afraid to be part of a beginning where all came from, seek the truth………….Peace Gravediggaz/WU-TANG for life!
Hannibal: Thank you for your time Frukwan.