Eastern Winds Can Be Icy

This week is a bit weird. Yesterday felt like Friday, and on top of that I have the feeling that January is only just getting started. But the fact of the matter is that we already arrived at the end of the month with only this evening left. Yet there I was in December 2023 planning to post about Killarmy in January. Well that did not turn out as planned. The month itself had some damn cold weeks up here in the Northern hemisphere. So cold that the clear mornings turned into a literal Red Dawn. Even with that ominous beautiful daily reminder of incoming doom I ended up writing in the last hours.

In my previous post I wrote about how Killarmy’s third album deserved a better name that was more in line with the previous two. Since, I have been going back over the second album, Dirty Weaponry. Which gave me a podcast that bored me even at 1,5 times the speed. A remarkable feat if you ask me. More interesting though, while looking into Dirty Weaponry I actually discovered a 1990 album called Dirty Weapons, by Killer Dwarfs, a Canadian hard rock band.1 The similarities between the name of the group and the title of the album are so close, that one would almost wonder if this was a starting point for the group. Something I would follow up were it not for the simple fact that the name of the Killarmy comes from the Shaw Brothers movie Killer Army.2 Furthermore, the term dirty weapons is a broad term within the military that took more foothold after the fall of the Soviet Union due to nuclear material going missing. Which would play into the hands of the existence of so called dirty bombs.

Something else I did not know until recently, was that the quotes on the album are from the cartoon series Todd Mcfarlane’s Spawn. So far I have only had time to watch the first episode of the short lived series.3 But the style immediately struck me and reminded me of an adult version of Batman Beyond. Looking forward to watching the rest and see what it brings. For clarification, I am not familiar with the comic, and it could be that it just takes style notes from there.

The voice over of Spawn that they spliced into the Dirty Weaponry was a perfect fit. The reflections on fighting & warriors always sounded like it came from some bleak 70’s/80’s movie. It actually was a perfect fit when I was editing the video for Red Dawn with the scenes of Red Dawn. Which brings me to this second version of the video focused on January, that still holds up pretty well.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_Dwarfs) ↩︎
  2. The correct name would be The Rebel Intruders. Killer Army was an alias that was used in the foreign markets. The original name is ????. https://hkmdb.com/db/movies/view.mhtml?id=6149&display_set=eng ↩︎
  3. The animated series ran for only 3 seasons with a total of 18 episodes. With a running time of about 26 to 30 minutes each. ↩︎

Ol’ Dirty Gets a Podcast

This week Ol’ Dirty Bastard would have turned 55 years old. If it was not for his untimely passing 19 years ago. I still remember reading about it, and it all sort of feeling unreal and distant. When I told people that day about his death, they did not seem to care at all. As if it was just normal or something.

Throughout the years it seems his image has only gotten bigger. In part due to the various personal stories that people have shared after his death. Stories that showed a human Russell Jones that knew what was happening, and cared deeply about the people he loved. But during his life, he was a character of enormous proportions that the media loved to portray as crazy. Somebody with crazy antics and classic rock star drug abuse, just so outlandish. But never once did they start questioning if he may have had a problem. It was just the life. 

Since his death, various things have been announced. A biopic amongst things, which goes as far back as 2012 (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/ol-dirty-bastard-biopic-will-star-michael-k-williams-59115/), with the late Michael K Williams attached. But it seems now something actually has solidified. Announced last year (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/music-news/ol-dirty-bastard-documentary-official-1235122891/#!), a documentary has been released via A&E titled titled ODB: A Tale of Two Dirtys. Though I have yet to see it, since I have not been able to find it online and it seem to be coming soon (https://www.aetv.com/specials/ol-dirty-bastard-a-tale-of-two-dirtys).

Following that milestone, a podcast has now also been announced, and started last week. The eight-part podcast is titled ODB: A Son Unique (https://art19.com/shows/odb-a-son-unique), done by the photographer Khalik Allah. Who some might know for his Popa Wu: A 5% Story [2010] (https://youtu.be/lBIO2kDovrA), a documentary that dived into the story of the late Popa Wu, and interviewed many of his peers. For ODB: A Son Unique, Khalik Allah will dive into the story of Russell Jones. And explore his background, beliefs and his world. The podcast will also feature interviews with Buddha Monk, Raekwon & Popa Wu amongst others.

Fair to say, I have not yet started listening yet, but I am excited about this podcast. It is also great to finally see something materialize. So I am happy to see his legacy is being taken care off. I hope it does him justice.


The House That Hatred Built by Gravediggaz

Back in the early 2000’s the idea of a proper Gravediggaz reunion or a recasting was super exciting. Over and over there were rumors. Warcloud, Killah Priest & Shabazz would be more involved. RZA would take the reigns again. But nothing ever really materialized after the death of Poetic, making Nightmare In A-Minor their last official collective effort.
Nowadays I’m not following everything what happens that much, and much time has passed since it sounded like something I’d like to hear. But some time ago Prince Paul took the time to share an unreleased Gravediggaz demo called The House That Hatred Built.
Apparently this was the first demo the group recorded ever, back in 1991. This recording, and the start of the Gravediggaz, predates the recording of the Wu-Tang Clan for RZA. There is actually a lot of interesting information about this and the formation of the Gravediggaz in this interview he did with Brian Coleman at Trinity College. Like how the album was recorded in full before Enter The Wu-Tang, but only released 9 months after. So be sure to read all about that there.

Another thing I came across, was the fact that the Gravediggaz declined a deal with Ruthless Records. Prince Paul actually met with Eazy-E & Jerry Heller, and this was during which he had a hard time finding a home for the record. But the deal they offered was so bad he still had to decline. There is more to read in this track by track run down of 6 Feet Deep that Prince Paul did with HipHopSite back in 2013.

Speaking of tracks. It seems that from time to time people did still record under the Gravediggaz monniker. Which leads to the following track I came across, 2 More Cups Of Blood. In 2010 Shabazz did an interview with Wu-International in which he revealed that the Gravediggaz was back together. It was him, Priest, Frukwan, 9th Prince, Beretta 9/Kinetic was there, and RZA & Prince Paul were also involved. Shabazz stated, ‘3 more songs and the new album is done! I recorded at Rza’s crib. He called me and we had a looong overdue reunion!!! Priest came thru too. So yes Gravediggaz is coming soon!!https://wutangcorp.com/forum/showthread.php?103433-Shabazz-the-disciple-wu-international-interview!!!!!!‘ He even mentions that he has some Poetic verses that they might use on the record, making it a complete reunion. Sadly nothing official ever saw the light of day or the dark of night save for this track. Apparently this was leaked by RZA himself, and most defintely flew under my radar.

One of the biggest tracks that Gravediggaz are known for, and also introduced some people to Shabazz The Disciple & KIllah Priest, is Diary Of A Mad Man. Now people seem to think that RZA produced this record, but in a video interview back in 2018 Prince Paul cleared up the air surrounding that record: “Alright, so RNS gets credit for the record [sample]. RZA gets credit ’cause it went through RZA, and me, ’cause I put the whole record together: programmed the drums, put the court pieces and stuff in it. But when you look at the credits, everybody goes ‘Yeah, RZA produced it, but Paul had nothin’ to do with it.’…it’s obviously a Prince Paul production, you can hear how it’s done. Nobody makes stuff like that, at least during that time.

The whole story you can hear about in the video underneath.

That said, Diary of a Madman is obviously a classic that many people hold dear. The track itself with the court, and the video is like no other. The video was actually direct by Hype Williams, who would later direct many more music videos in his own style. Which brings me to the following: Diary Of A Madman Part 2
About six month ago the Warcloud meets Killah Priest effort Savage Sanctuary got released on Black Stone of Mecca. This album carrying the track Diary of a Madman Pt. 2 featuring a slew of people on a original RZA beat. The track first surfaced on a Black Knights album a few year ago, but with in a horrible state. This time around they seemed to have cleared up the recordings and the mix a bit.
Rumors about this track travel back to around 2005 I believe. Word was that a part 2 was recorded with Priest, Shabazz & Warcloud. And again nothing ever got released, and now we finally have the track, 15 years later. Was it worth the wait?