Official confirmation still awaits, but judging from reliable Twitter accounts, the legendary hip-hop and graf pioneer has passed. Weirdly enough, I was listening to this song last night while writing a feature on art rap and Open Mike Eagle — and there is no art rap without Rammellzee. The concept of a hip-hop avant-garde dates back to the uptown/downtown interactions of the early 80s, as seen in Wild Style, and for my dub’s worth, nothing from the period holds up as well as “Beat Bop,” with its labyrinthine abstractions and unstructured format heralding a futurism that feels more ahead of the curve than almost anything you will hear today. Plus, anyone who throws around the term “gothic futurism” is a friend of mine.
Obits will surely pour in from more qualified sources than I, but in the meantime, it’s worth devoting the next ten ten minutes of your time to his most famous song and reading this interview at 149st. No style was wilder.–Weiss
Edit: Updated with Rammellzee videos below the jump.
MP3: K-Rob & Rammellzee – “Beat Bop” (Left-Click)