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Back in the ’90s, just as the gangsta rap phenomenon was winding down and hip-hop was fragmenting into its own subgenres, Prince Paul and RZA kicked off the short-lived horrorcore fad with their group Gravediggaz. At the time, the melding of dark, gothic themes with hardboiled rap seemed gimmicky and awkward, a strange extension of the early and awful attempts to bridge hip-hop and metal, but on closer listen, the now defunct supergroup was way more innovative than they were given credit for. Using horror imagery, crazed and off-kilter rapping styles, and genuinely creepy beats to describe life on the streets, Gravediggaz created innovative, complex, expressive music that was macabre yet socially conscious.

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