Frukwan Interview (by A to the L)
Frukwan is going through some tough times. Over the past couple of years he’s watched his best friend, and fellow Gravedigga Poetic fight a brave battle against cancer. Stunning the doctors who has diagnosed him as having only 3 months to live, Poetic showed his incredible will to live, by not only making a mockery of the medical estimates, but by working on, and completing the new Gravediggaz album with Frukwan. Its cruel that with his passing on July 15th, he won’t be able to take advantage of what will undoubtedly be another Gravediggaz success. With the new album scheduled to drop later this month, and with a part to play in organising a memorial for Poetic, Frukwan is a busy man…
Frukwan, I wanna thank you for taking time out to speak with me, at what must still be a pretty difficult time for you. How has the new album turned out?
Frukwan: The new album has turned out exceptionally Gravdigga-ish. The tracks are deep. Gravediggaz are still dealing with the elements of shock treatment, where we still have the dark, morbid sounds, and the issues and topics are still dealing with the mentally dead. We still digging into the graves of the mentally dead – we want to bring the awareness out of the culture of Hiphop – how we act, and how we live. There’s so much hate in the world, and we’re trying to find some kind of solution where everybody can get along as one and have fun.
How many tracks are on the album and are there any guest appearances?
Frukwan: There’s 18 tracks on the album with guest appearances from Prodigal Sunn from Sunz Of Man, and also Shogun, Berretta Nine, and 4th Disciple from Killarmy
Who handled production this time around?
Frukwan: The production was handled by Poetic The Grym Reaper, myself Frukwan The Gatekeeper, Tru Mathematics from the Wu Elementz, and 4th Disciple.
What made you choose the title of the album “Nightmare In A-Minor”?
Frukwan: Well we felt that with the name Gravediggaz, we’ve always been labelled with that “horrorcore” image – its something we can’t get out of, or get away from. It looks like its gonna be stuck with us as long as we have the name Gravediggaz. So therefore “Nightmare In A-Minor” is just another extension of “The Pick, The Sickel, And The Shovel” and “Six Feet Deep”.
Obviously while you were recording, everyone was aware of how bad the situation with Poetic’s illness had become. Did that make it a harder album to record?
Frukwan: Actually with Poetic’s situation on everyone’s mind, it made him work harder. And that meant that I had to work harder because he was working harder. We all knew that he had this illness, and that it was catching up to him, but still he kept fighting it because of his love for his music. That was the most important thing to him besides his health and his family. It was like he always meant to leave something behind because he already knew the situation and we already knew the situation. We were all aware that his situation had stretched beyond the limitations that were placed upon him by the doctors.
Are any of the lyrics reflective of the mindstate you and Poetic were in during the recording of the album, or are they any tracks which touch on his cancer battle?
Frukwan: Oh yeah – he actually rhymed about it in a song called “Burn Baby Burn” on the album. He talked explicitly about his fight with the cancer and how it kinda damaged his body, but it didn’t catch his mind : I praise Poetic : he will always be my best friend, and what I have to keep in mind is that what I’m doing is not only for Gravediggaz : its for Poetic. I wanna try and bring some awareness out that we all have to take care of ourselves, and we have to love each other.
How do you feel about the situation with Tommy Boy, who are re-releasing a lot of the classic Stetsasonic albums? Were you or the other Stet members consulted about that?
Frukwan: Well actually – no. I haven’t heard anything from the old Stetsasonic guys. But from what I understand : I heard that its been re-released – I’ve actually seen it in the stores : And I gotta be truthful : even with Stetasonic : I was proud to be part of the first Hiphop band in the whole rap business, and in the history of rap, you know? It maybe didn’t get the notoriety that rap bands have now, but still, I was proud to be a part of that beginning. Plus I felt that Stetsasonic opened up doors around the globe, going to foreign lands and doing shows and tours. Those people didn’t speak the language, but they appreciated the music – and that was like 15-16 years ago. And now to come back and go back across the globe and tour again, and to see how other countries and other languages have adapted to rap music, to the point where they’re speaking in their native tongue. Its just a blessing to have been a part of that.
Whats next for Frukwan? Will there be more Gravediggaz projects after this one, or are you even thinking that far ahead?
Frukwan: Speaking on that : we’re in the making of another Gravediggaz album as we speak. We’re just taking our time with it. Poetic has other tracks that he’s done, and that we just didn’t use this time : so we gonna continue with the Gravediggaz. We can’t just let it fade out like that without no : we just can’t do that!
Do you have a message to the fans about Poetic, the Gravediggaz, and the new album?
Frukwan: To the fans – thanks for the deadly support. Without the fans there would be no Gravediggaz – people wouldn’t know about the Grym Reaper Poetic aka Tony Titanium, and they wouldn’t know about Frukwan aka Sun Star the Gatekeeper. I just wanna say – keep it real – keep the music real to your heart. Love the music, and love yourself, and just spread the word that this is a way of life that’s universal for everyone to touch upon. Keep your heads up : and just represent Hiphop.
The Gravediggaz “Nightmare In A-Minor” is released on August 28th on Titanium / Sun Star Records (Frukwan and Poetic’s own label)
Thanks again to Frukwan for taking part, and for Lisa at Meridian Entertainment for setting this up.