The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel

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The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel
Studio album by Gravediggaz
Released September 16, 1997
Recorded 1996–1997
Genre Horrorcore
Length 60:24
Label Gee Street/V2/BMG Records
63881-32501
Producer RZA (also exec.)
4th Disciple
True Master
Too Poetic
Darkim Be Allah
Frukwan
Prince Paul
Gravediggaz chronology
The Hell E.P.
(1995)
The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel
(1997)
Nightmare in A-Minor
(2002)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media 6.5/10[2]
Robert Christgau (neither)[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]
Yahoo! Music (favorable)[5]

The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel, released September 16, 1997, is the second album by the Gravediggaz, an influential horrorcore hip hop supergroup. The album has a more socially conscious sound to it and is considerably more calm than its predecessor, and features heavy production input by the RZA and his production team The Wu Elements.

Prince Paul was barely involved in the making of this album although he did produce the outro and the skit preceding "Hidden Emotions". He was still billed as an official member of the group however, and appeared on the cover and inserts of the album. Two singles were released from the album, "Dangerous Mindz" and "The Night the Earth Cried", though neither made it to the Billboard charts.

Reception[edit]

  • Rolling Stone (9/18/97, p. 104) - 3 stars (out of 5) - "...an exotic, multilayered soundscape that is often melancholic, but also melodic....the Gravediggaz deliver plenty to sink your pick into."
  • Spin (12/97, p. 160) - 7 (out of 10) - "The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel is less hyperbolic satire than playfully serious caution--for Gravediggaz, the ghetto's particular nightmare has now come to Main Street. Grieving over lost lovers, friends, and family, the group observes the culture of death as part of the everyday landscape."
  • Entertainment Weekly (10/31/97, p. 108) - "...guest rappers Killah Priest, Omen, and Hell Razor spin oblique horror stories from ghetto hell over bruising beats by RZA and Prince Paul." - Rating: B
  • Q (1/98, p. 112) - Included in Q magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1997."
  • Vibe (11/97, p. 149) - "This second offering from Gravediggaz...finds the Wu-Tang boardsman moving away from production and immersing himself fully in the power of words....RZA is a master MC."
  • Option (11-12/97, p. 100) - "Individually, it seems the Gravediggaz are trying to outdo each other (and every other MC) by writing and rapping denser, more complex rhymes than anybody....they maintain remarkable flow."
  • Melody Maker (09/13/97, p. 50) - "...machetes injustice, decapitates the real criminals, and burys the lot of 'em in a festering, snake-filled pit."
  • Rap Pages (11/97, p. 110) - "There's a lifetime supply of meta-force wordplay for the heads, enough braggadocio for the hard-core and plenty of hooks for the pop quadrant."
  • NME (12/20-27/97, pp. 78–79) - Ranked #20 in NME's 1997 Critics' Poll.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Time Producer(s) Performers Samples
1 "Intro" 1:16 Rzarector
  • Interlude
2 "Dangerous Mindz" 4:54 4th Disciple(co-produced by Rzarector)
3 "Da Bomb" 4:10 True Master
  • Chorus: The Gatekeeper
  • First verse/Third verse: The Grym Reaper
  • Second verse/Fourth verse: The Gatekeeper
4 "Unexplained" 2:58 Grym Reaper
  • Chorus: The Grym Reaper/The Gatekeeper
  • First verse: The Grym Reaper
  • Second verse: The Gatekeeper
5 "Twelve Jewelz" 2:51 Darkim Be Allah
  • The Rzarector
6 "Fairytalez" 4:46 Goldfinghaz
  • First verse/Fourth verse: The Gatekeeper
  • Chorus: Kelis/The Grym Reaper
  • Second verse/Third verse: The Grym Reaper
7 "Never Gonna Come Back" 3:48 Goldfinghaz
  • Chorus/First verse/Outro: The Grym Reaper
  • Second verse: The Gatekeeper
8 "Pit of Snakes" 4:19 True Master(co-produced by Rzarector)
  • Chorus/First verse: The Rzarector
  • Second verse: The Gatekeeper
  • Third verse: The Grym Reaper
9 "The Night the Earth Cried" 4:32 4th Disciple (co-produced by Rzarector)
  • First verse: The Grym Reaper
  • Second verse: The Rzarector
  • Third verse: The Gatekeeper
10 "Elimination Process" 5:37 Grym Reaper
  • Chorus/First verse: The Grym Reaper
  • Second verse: The Gatekeeper
  • Third verse: Shabazz the Disciple
  • Fourth verse: Omen
  • Backing vocals: The Aleem Brothers
11 "Repentance Day" 5:18 Grym Reaper
12 "Hidden Emotions" 6:17 True Master
(Intro skit produced by Undertaker)
  • Chorus: The Grym Reaper/The Gatekeeper
  • First verse/Fourth verse: The Grym Reaper
  • Second verse/Third verse: The Gatekeeper
  • Skit/Fifth verse: True Master
13 "What's Goin' On?" 4:32 Rzarector
  • Chorus/backing vocals: Blue Raspberry
  • First verse: The Rzarector
  • Second verse: The Gatekeeper
  • Third verse: The Grym Reaper
  • Fourth verse: 9th Prince
14 "Deadliest Biz" 3:03 Gatekeeper
  • Chorus: The Grym Reaper/The Gatekeeper
  • First verse: The Gatekeeper
  • Second verse: The Grym Reaper
15 "Outro" 1:17 Undertaker
  • Interlude

References[edit]