Rammellzee (1960 – 2010)

By Gentle Jones
(originally published on Allhiphop.com)

Legendary graffiti writer and emcee Rammellzee reportedly passed away last night. Rammellzee is a hip-hop icon who dropped avantgarde tracks on wax since the early 1980's with a steady output of graphic art, music, and sculpture throughout his life. He was featured in Charlie Ahearn's seminal hip hop movie Wild Style and collaborated with notable artists such as Jean Michael Basquiat, Jim Jarmusch, and numerous graff crews as a writer since the 1970's.

His 1983 single “Beat Bop” is featured in Style Wars and Rammellzee is credited as pioneering many vocal techniques which were later popularized by other emcees. In 1988 his band The Ghettovetts released their record titled “Missionaries Moving” and in 2004 he released his debut solo album “The Bi-Conicals of Rammellzee” which stands alone as a testament to his visionary approach to crafting unique hip-hop.

“Someone told me, I don’t know if it’s true, that Rammellzee is the originator of the use of the word “word”, in hip hop slang…” – Jim Jarmusch

Rammellzee's artistic style was unequaled as he took his art from train yards to one man art shows which received much critical acclaim. He was the first to let one letter stand on its own as a work of graffiti art with his Letter Racers and made the illest masks you have ever seen. His style he dubbed Gothic Futurism which explained in his treatise “Iconic Panzerisms” while his artwork has been shown in art galleries across the world.

In his own words Rammellzee describes his style, "Knowledge knowledges knowledge, the elevation of WILD STYLE-knowledge is concluded as a SYMBOL DESTROYER, ARMOURED, MEDIEVAL MECHANISM. This formation shall be known as IKONOKLAST PANZERISM: R.O.K.: GOTHIC FUTURISM, THIS IS WILD-STYLE CORRECTED.”

Rest in Power Rammellzee, a legend and pioneer of the highest caliber.


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