Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Rammellzee R.I.P.

Rammellzee, hip hop visionary, ex-graffiti writer and non-conformist, Lee 'Scratch' Perry-alike, all-round nutbag, has very sadly died.

I like many others first heard the nasal tones of this interesting guy via the ball-breakingly long hip hop classic, Beat Bop (1983) whilst listening to Electro 2.
His other big moment was his standout appearance in Wild Style (1982) featuring in the Ampitheatre scene at the end. For many, this is the best scene of the film and after witnessing this yourself you may  agree.

If you have the Style Wars dvd in your possession then you may be aware of his contribution to the disc's Extras section. He makes a strong case in his concept of "warring letters". Here is one of his quotes:

"The Romans stole the alphabeta system from the Greeks through war. Then, in medieval times, monks ornamented letters to hide their meaning from the people. Now, the letter is armored against further manipulation."

Even though his discography was not as large as others from the same era, he leaves us with a enduring piece of music that will live on for ever. The ending of Style Wars wouldn't have sounded the same with anything else.

Rock on. To the breaka dawn.

Here are some of his standouts.

The end scene of Wild Style. Check Rammellzee's confidence as he wields his piece!

Rare footage from 1983. Witness a master on the mic.

Rammellzee Vs K. Rob - "Beat Bop" (1983).


Interview with 149th St

Rammellzee's Myspace


Mac the Barber said...

Sad, sad lose...the Sun Ra of Hip least now Ramm:Ell:Zee can go back to the future where he came from R.I.P...."can you get my drift?"

ramses3rd said...

A real shame, one of the most unique voices in hip hop. That Rhythm Lounge footage is the bomb.

Ben said...

True, true comments, chaps.

elmattic said...

R.I.P. R:L:Z.

I did a tribute/sampler of Ramm’s music since most people slept on it after Beat Bop:

Ruse One said...


Thats probably one of the worst things about being an ageing b-boy... apart from looking silly in adidas tracksuits, the fact that all of the people you listened to when you were a very young b-boy/writer are dying at an alarming rate!!!!

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