Frukwan Da Gatekeeper Interview: Nightmare In A-minor

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by Alex Shtaerman

Courtesy of – This interview with Frukwan was done in 2001 shortly after the passing of Poetic The Grym Reaper. Poetic fought colon cancer while recording the third Gravediggaz LP Nightmare In A-Minor with Frukwan.

The Lone Gravedigga – Frukwan openly raps with Fetal Position about the long journey from Stetsasonic to Gravediggaz to solo emcee. He also speaks upon his personal with the passing of fellow Gravedigga, the late Poetic, who passed shortly after the release of Nightmare In A-Minor. Back with a new look on life, Frukwan wastes no time in picking up the pieces and moving on.

BGYRL4LIFE: Our prayers go out to Poetics’ family and the Gravediggaz. How are you all dealing with Poetics’ passing?

FRUKWAN: We don’t really feel like Poetic is gone. In many ways he is still beside us and inside us, pushing us along and supporting us. We will always love him and respect the contributions he has made to hip hop. Love never dies.

BGYRL4LIFE: What do you want people to remember most about Poetic?

FRUKWAN: That he was a giving person, that he was passionate about his work, about Hip-Hop. He was a true warrior, a true emcee.

BGYRL4LIFE: Poetic was diagnosed with colon cancer over a year ago and given a short time to live; yet he lived to see the group complete Nightmare In A-Minor a year later. Why was it so important for Poetic to fight to live to see the completion of this album?

FRUKWAN: It wasn’t just this album he was ready to complete; he felt that he could continue to complete the next one and the one after that and the one after that. Poe wasn’t trying to go anywhere, as far as he was concerned he could beat this cancer, and do whatever he set his mind to. That was one of the traits I admired the most about him.

BGYRL4LIFE: Nightmare In A-Minor is the Gravediggaz third album. How is this one different from Pick The Sickle & The Shovel and the 6 Feet Deep?

FRUKWAN: Well, first of all, this album was done completely by me and Poetic. RZA and Prince Paul had other obligations that they had to fulfill within that time frame, so me and Poe just banged the album out and it came out dope.

BGYRL4LIFE: Who are some guest artists featured on this album?

FRUKWAN: Prince Paul, Prodigal Sunn of Sunz of Man, True Master, L.G., Shogun , 4th Disciple and Beretta 9

BGYRL4LIFE: It’s been 4 years since your last album…how has the group changed or grown during that time?

FRUKWAN: Well, some of that was answered in my last response, but aside from being only two members, I think that we have matured in a lot of ways and our lyrics reflect that. We still are intent on digging in the minds of the mentally dead – that will never change. But our lives have taken different turns and that is reflected in the album, the music and the lyrics. Poetics used his illness to come up with new verses, he didn’t let it weaken him, it only made him stronger.

BGYRL4LIFE: Some people may not know this, but you were in Statasonic along with Prince Paul. What led to you leaving the group?

FRUKWAN: Lets just say it was a conflict of interests. I was told I didn’t have to be in the group after the conflict, so I decided to step off instead of catching a body (laughs).

BGYRL4LIFE: Tell us a little about life after Stetasonic.

FRUKWAN: Things have been good. I mean I made history within Stet, and I’m making history without. Life is meant to fluctuate and change, you have to be willing to flow with it or drown.

BGYRL4LIFE: How did the Gravediggaz hook up?

FRUKWAN: Prince Paul created the group and then stepped to me, Poe and RZA to join in.

BGYRL4LIFE: What’s it like working with RZA and Prince Paul?

FRUKWAN: They are both talented. We all worked very well together in many respects, in the studio, lyrically and musically. Things just went well when we were all working on a project, it just flowed.

BGYRL4LIFE: Tell us about some other projects you have in the works.

FRUKWAN: A true master never reveals his secrets (laughs) but seriously, I’m working on the next album; whether it will be a Gravediggaz album, whether it will be with the original members or not, whether it will be a solo album with other artists – who knows – we’ll see. I’m working on my clothing line as well.

BGYRL4LIFE: Who are you feelin’ right now as far as lyricists go, who are your five favorite emcees?

FRUKWAN: Poetic The Grym Reaper, Pun, Biggie, Pac and Big L

BGYRL4LIFE: What’s the best Hip-Hop album you heard lately? What are you pumpin’ in your car stereo right now?

FRUKWAN: Gravediggaz.

BGYRL4LIFE: What Impact has the net had on Hip-Hop?

FRUKWAN: It has helped create a more widespread knowledge of the inner workings of Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop was always a global experience but this has helped emcees around the world to communicate and share their experiences.

BGYRL4LIFE: Are you pro or anti Napster like file sharing software? Do you have any music available online?

FRUKWAN: I like Napster, I think as a promotional tool it can help create a more widespread knowledge about any artist. Artists need to learn to use these tools to their advantage instead of bitching and complaining. Hopefully this will make artists get more on their game and think of new and inventive ways to make money. Artists don’t make money off of record sales anyway, labels do. So any artist with a brain knows he shouldn’t be sweatin’ that shit. The only exception is when you have an artist who owns their own label, they might have concerns; but there are still a lot of other ways to recoup besides record sales.

BGYRL4LIFE: Do you surf the net?

FRUKWAN: All the time, its one of the best sources of information available.

BGYRL4LIFE: What’s your favorite websites?

FRUKWAN:,, and of course

BGYRL4LIFE: Any upcoming shows? If so, where?

FRUKWAN: That is still in the works, things are a little difficult with Poetic’s passing, but I am working on some things. I was just a presenter at the Billboard Hip Hop Awards – RZA and I presented the award for Producer of The Year – Neptunes won that.

BGYRL4LIFE: What advice would you give up and coming artists?

FRUKWAN: I would say keep it real. Decide what you want to do, do it – and keep it real. Don’t let other people influence what you already know is the truth. Don’t let the mentally dead pull you down into their graves.