[Gate Keeping With Frukwan From Gravediggaz]
14th. April. 2006
Conducted By: Dark 7
Special thanks to
Frukwan, and 5fth Element for the interview.
everybody wanna talk like they got somethin to say,
But nothin comes out when they move they lips, Just
a bunch of gibberish
And m**thaf**kas act like they forgot about Fruk,"
While the last line might not necessarily rhyme,
the whole sentence sings true when it comes to
Arnold Hamilton aka Frukwan, The Gate Keeper. Mostly
known for his affiliation with the Gravediggaz, and
initially Stetsasonic, Frukwan has got to be one of
hip-hop's best kept secret. If one was judged in
hip-hop due to lyrical skills, styles, innovation,
ability to edutain, and present songs with uplifting
messages, then Frukwan's name would be among the top
names in hip-hop right now. Unfortunately we are at
a time where an artist with those qualities above is
deemed to be underground. This is not necessarily a
bad thing because as it was in the beginning so
shall it be at the end, Frukwan shines on the
underground because that's where it is the
darkest. Currently the only one still holding it
down for the Gravediggaz, word is there are possibly
a reunion with the other founding members RZA, and
Prince Paul excluding Poetic (R.I.P), to feature a
new line up of talents, names such as Killah Priest,
Shabazz The Disciple, Omen, and even Warcloud aka
Holocaust have all been tossed around, but hold on, what about Frukwan himself,
what has he been up to? any planned new album? what are his thoughts on the current state of hip-hop, Music,
Gravediggaz, Wu-Tang Clan fam and so on? Well, Sit
up, grab a shovel, and join us as go gravediggin'
into the past, present and more with the man himself, Frukwan
Peace, I like to say thanks first and
foremost for taking the time to answer these
questions, and will also point out that nothing will
be altered, edited or changed when this is published
Frukwan, how are you?
Frukwan: Chillin working on this new album
with 5ifth element
lot of fans probably know some of these questions,
but some donít, so excuse me for asking you, where
you are original from and where you are currently
located at this moment?
Frukwan: Brooklyn New York, currently in
chi-town working on this record, freeing my thoughts
Wu-International: What was your first memory of
Frukwan: Block Parties, break dancing, and
hittin the Bronx
Wu-International: How did you first get into
Frukwan: listening to Devistating Tito back
Wu-International: Some people may not know this,
but you were in Stetasonic along with Prince Paul,
before forming Gravediggaz, can you please give us a
history of how these groups came about and your part
I got connected with Daddy O and Delight in
Brooklyn and we starting doing talent
shows and recording together, then we snatched up
Prince Paul cause he was so ill at scratching. Once
I left Stetasonic in 90 me and Prince Paul hooked up
Rza and Poetic because they were label mates at
Tommy Boy. We started production at Prince Paul's
crib and just came up with Gravediggaz that was in
92 and that was when history was made.
Wu-International: You were
known as Fruitkwan, and now frukwan, why the change
and is there any meaning to the name?
Frukwan: It was a typo error,
the label didnít know how to spell my name, itís
always been Frukwan
Wu-International: What other names or alias do
you go by if any?
Frukwan: The Gatekeep, Sun Star, and now its
Frukwan Sun Star
Wu-International: For the new fans reading this,
can you please explain what the name Gravediggaz
meant or stood for and your message?
Frukwan: It means digging graves of the
mentally dead, and it stood resurrecting the
mentally dead from their state of unawareness and
Wu-International: Who are you influenced by and
how do you expect to influence?
Frukwan: Being God like
Wu-International: Gravediggaz brought something
totally new and unique to the table in hip-hop and
to date fans are still crying for another
gravediggaz album, inquiring minds would like to
know what the status of Gravediggaz is right now?
Frukwan: Minus Grim Reaper
(R.I.P), we will once again surface and come back to
light in the near future.
Wu-International: There was a
rumour some years back about the group getting back
together with new similar line-up to include all
original members, RZA, yourself and Prince Paul and
new additions of affiliates such as Shabazz the
Disciple, possibly Killah Priest, and new entrants
like Warcloud aka Holocaust, What is your
knowledge or take of this?
Frukwan: A gravediggaz
album will be the hottest album on the planet,
regardless of who is on it, it will be
groundbreaking, that will feature various artist,
and you will be the first to hear this classic.
Wu-International: Y-kim The
ill figure (Producer from Royal Fam) said in an
interview that he was also working on bringing
Gravediggaz back, Do you know of Y-kim and have you
had talks with him in regards to this?
Frukwan: Spoke to him for a moment, but we've
both been busy so we havenít actually sat down and
figured this out, but the new album is in the
Wu-International: The chemistry between you and
Poetics (R.I.P.), is only comparable to the likes of
EPMD, Raekwon & Ghost, Are they any songs in the
archives you both recorded that remains unreleased
to date? If so, are there any plans of you or anyone
else putting these out?
Frukwan: Yes there are unreleased tracks of
me and Poetic, but before they surface, I have to
contact the family to get their blessings.
Wu-International: What is your relationship with
the RZA currently?
Frukwan: Spoke to him a while ago, its cool,
gotta wait for his calendar to free up so we can
continue to build.
Wu-International: Are you
still close or in touch with some of the Wu-tang
clan members or Wu Killa beez?
Frukwan: Yeah, I still talk to the Wu Fam,
but for right now everybody is busy and soon I hope
to get these cats on this record.
Wu-International: How was the last album Life
Frukwan: The label that was suppose to put
out Life made bad decisions on their marketing, so
therefore I stopped the release of Life. Upon that,
Life was never in the mainstream of the listening
community, so a lot of people never got a chance to
hear it because of bad promotion.
Wu-International: Where you behind the release
of Gravediggaz ď6ft UnderĒ on X-Ray
Records/Cleopatra? If so why was there nothing new
Frukwan: No, I wasnít aware of that and
someone brought this to my attention, so basically
someone was releasing my material without my
knowledge, so therefore we have legal issues
pending, and if u notice they changed the name of
some of the titles of the songs.
Wu-International: After ďNightmare in a-minorĒ
you went on to release a solo album Life, since then
nothing has been heard from you, please tell us what
you have been up to musically?
Frukwan: Spending time with my
family, kids, I finally now have time to work with
one of the top rated producers in Chicago (5ifth
Element) and work on my production, as well as 4th
Disciple, and Tru Master.
Wu-International: Will you be
releasing any new materials soon? If so please give
us more info as in album title, featured guest and
date it will probably come out?
Frukwan: Iím working on the new solo album
with new productions, new songs, a couple from Life,
it should be finished by early summer and release in
the late fall independently.
Wu-International: Why has it taken you so long
to come out with a new material after Life?
Frukwan: I took time out to
reflect on life after Poetic passed, and dealing
with snakes in the industry, I wasnít trying to put
myself in the same situation, so now I will be
releasing everything independently.
Wu-International: Most people
are not aware of your production skills, but you
have blessed your albums with both beats and lyrical
mic skills, how did you get into producing? And have
you laced beats for anyone else other than yourself?
Frukwan: I got into beat a long time ago in
the early 80s, but I kept it to myself, I was
focused on my mc skillz. The only production that
Iíve done was on Stetasonic and Gravediggaz.
Wu-International: What types of concepts, issues
or topics will you be covering on your new album?
Frukwan: Everything under the sun, moon, and
Wu-International: Are you currently signed to
any label, if not what label will your new album be
coming out from?
Frukwan: NOPE, money talks bullshit walks,
but I will be doing a lot of independent business.
Wu-International: You are considered to be a
very lyrical and versatile artist on the
underground, Do you really feel that you have been
given the credit you truly deserve, despite all the
strides you have made and the many milestones you
have accomplished as an artist? How has the industry
been to you?
Frukwan: Well, as in any underground artist
who was the first to bring a hip hop band and then a
new category like Horror core in to the Game, so
there fore being I was never a commercial artist I
will always be loyal to the underground. There are
no superstars in the underground.
Wu-International: Prince Paul recently released
a lost Gravediggaz gem ďafraid of the darkĒ and your
verse there blew me away, what in your opinion is
your best work to date, and why?
Frukwan: I think all my work I take pride in,
but for those who really understand lyrics, and the
construction that takes place in formulating
thoughts, I like them all.
Wu-International: The internet has aided a lot
of hip-hop activities globally, do you think the net
has affected or contributed to hip-hop?
Frukwan: Very much so, it made it possible to
reach the entire globe.
Wu-International: Do you surf the net, if so
what sites do you check out regularly?
Frukwan: I donít really surf
Wu-International: Have you got your own website/myspace
account? If not yet, how can the fans keep up to
date with frukwan?
Wu-International: I know a
number of forums/stores where you can get your album
out online, a very good source is ChamberMusik (Big
up to G-Clef and co), will you be willing to release
some of your old or unreleased materials or even a mixtape over the net for the fans?
Frukwan: MOS Definitely, they got to know Iím
"youth they are naive and take
everything on face value. The greatest goal is to
have knowledge of self"
Wu-International: You are currently working with
5ifth Element, I have heard some of his beats and they
are very soulful and fresh, how did you hook up with him?
Through a person who knew a person who knew a
Wu-International: On your last album Life you
introduced us to Kenyata and Maraj, are you still
working with them and are there any other groups/
artists that youíre grooming right now?
Frukwan: I still got Kenyata
and Maraj there gonna be on the new album, and Iím
still working wit a lot of the Wu Fam brothers, and
some under artist under the wing that will be
revealed on the next album.
Wu-International: Are they any groups out there
you are currently feeling or would like to work with
now or in future?
Frukwan: Any group that is about uplifting the race
and hip hop, Iím down to work with.
Wu-International: A question
related to above question, are there any
artists/groups out there right now that you feel are
carrying the touch or represent what the Gravediggaz
Frukwan: Not at all.
Wu-International: Any future side projects in
the mix (e.g. movies, commercial, etc)?
Frukwan: Currently working on some treatment
for scripts on movies, especially my life story.
What do you get up to when not
Frukwan: Spend time wit my babies, its the
most important thing to me.
brought out one of the best musically around the
time they dropped their album, you all voiced your
opinions about current issues, politics and
spirituality, with all the emphasis on money, bling,
girls and guns, How and why do you think hip-hop has
changed compared to when you started out?
Frukwan: People are easily lead into the
wrong direction now a days, when it comes to the
youth they are naive and take everything on face
value. The greatest goal is to have knowledge of
self, and that is what is missing.
Wu-International: What are your thoughts on the
aftermath of hurricane Katrina and how the US
government handled it?
Frukwan: U know the answer to that, never
depend on the government, they only think for self,
and u got to do the same, but ask urself this, what
did the bling bling cats do to help, nothing at all,
it shows u how self this world is.
Wu-International: I saw the gravediggaz live
some years back in Subterranean, London, UK, and the
show was one of the best I have ever seen to date,
How do you view Europe in terms of Hip-hop and
touring over there against back home in US?
Frukwan: Europe respect hip hop to it finest,
they seek knowledge and understand what we do, in
the US everybody is close minded, and nobody seeks
knowledge, its all about money.
Wu-International: Thanks very much for your
time, shouts out to 5ifth element for hooking this
up, anything else you might want to add that we
missed? final words for the people who are reading
this, Shout outs etc?
Frukwan: To the young
brothers, focus on self, and not trying to act other
than urself, like most of these water downed mcs,
there is nothing new being taught, be original,
stick to the underground because its the purist
form, and to the US, You are nothing more than a
rapper, and remember POSITIVE ENERGY ACTIVATES
CONSTAND ELEVATION (P.E.A.C.E.)
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