As always, holding out hope this proves to be a rumour. The only semi-official word we have so far is from Fab 5 Freddy, which, sadly, is likely to be accurate. If he is gone, then I start to seriously reconsider, Hip-Hop is dying.
update: His death has been confirmed by various associates. A day of silence in his honor.
Dave Tompkins Q&A On His New Book: “Someone like Rammellzee is such a vocoder polymath in a way–having all these theories, how it’s such a core part of him and his personality, and the fact that he really put himself in physical harm to use it”
Hour long episode of Uncommon Radio (mp3) with special guest Rammellzee. Interview and freestyle at the end are notable for those already familiar with his catalogue. Also, the host’s personal account of the day. Peace to Nasa for the look.
Semi-obituary from NYTimes: Rammellzee, Graffiti Artist, Dies at 49
The Wire (Issue #242 Apr 04): Rammellzee: The Ikonoklast Samurai by Greg Tate
Comment #1 posted on June 29, 2010 at 10:00 PM – Sad news to hear about an old friend who was a truly innovative artist and MC. Ram was the brain and soul of the Iconoclast Panzerism graffiti movement during the early 80’s, a new language onto itself which he combined mathematics, mysticism, dynamicism and other unique ideas for the enhancement and armament of the wild style letter form. As a sculptor he was ahead of his time and was unlike any before or during his time. He would often tell me to arm my sculptures against the forces of the art world that they should be ready for an eminent war of words and ideas. His letter sculptures reflected this preparedness for war, each letter character had a history and agenda onto themselves. For those of us who would visit him in the studio and see the alphabet assault vehicles suspended from the ceiling it was nothing short of a marvel and what would follow would be the drinking and discussions which were a labyrinth of philosophies, theories, scripture translations. I hope history is kind to him and his legacy as there are few that can fill that void. He had a school of students that were closely associated to Panzerism, among them A-One- (RIP), Toxic, Koor, Bil Blast, Doze and others. He was a member of our crew CIA back in the mid 70s and was also known as EG3. Kel and I express our condolences to his famil and friends alike. Roc On Rammellzee. Mare139 Kel First CIA
NYTimes photo gallery of 2008 “Masks” exhibition from James Cohan Gallery: