Prince Paul, founding member of ’90s Rap group Gravediggaz, recently spoke about the crew’s debut and why they refused to sign a record deal with Eazy E and Jerry Heller, despite his respect for N.W.A.’s legacy and Eazy’s career.
“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,” Paul shared of his meeting with Eazy. “I remember going to Los Angeles, 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.”
Paul continued, explaining that Heller didn’t seem interested in the music and that the offer was one that did not please him.
“I talked to Jerry Heller,” he told HipHopSite. “He was okay 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, [we were] better off not putting out the record at all [laughing]. 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 [laughing]. 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.”
Paul also added that the album is important to him.
“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 okay 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 okay 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-950s, 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.”
Gravediggaz featured Prince Paul along with Frukwan, RZA and Poetic. Their debut album, 6 Feet Deep, was released in 1994. Gravediggaz released The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel in 1997 and later Nightmare in A-Minor in 2002, with less members.