The Black Commentator: An independent weekly internet magazine dedicated to the movement for economic justice, social justice and peace - Providing commentary, analysis and investigations on issues affecting African Americans and the African world.
Jul 8, 2010 - Issue 383

Hip-hop Pioneer and Street Art Legend
Born 1960 - Died Jun 30, 2010



Rammellzee (or RAMMSLLZSS, pronounced "Ram: Ell: Zee", born 1960 in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York), was a graffiti writer, performance artist, rap/hip-hop musician and sculptor from New York.

He was discovered by a larger audience through the 1982 cult movie Wild Style by Charlie Ahearn. His fame in graffiti circles was established when he painted New York subway trains with Dondi, OU3, and Ink 76, and doctor Revolt.

Rammellzee and K-Rob's "Beat Bop," a 10-minute-long hip-hop track is regarded as one of the most revered songs of rap's early era. It was produced by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who also drew the cover art, resulting in the 12" album becoming a major collector's item and became one of Rammellzee’s best-known performances and a hip-hop touchstone. It was the unofficial theme song for Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver’s graffiti documentary “Style Wars - New York's Kings of Graffiti.” Below is a audio of Beat Bop with video from Style Wars.

Rammellzee was also a member of the Death Comet Crew, with Stewart Albright and Michael Diekmann. In 1988, he and his band Gettovetts recorded the album "Missionaries Moving."

In 2003, Rammellzee performed at the Knitting Factory in New York with the newly reformed Death Comet Crew; subsequently, Troubleman Unlimited re-released recordings made by DCC between 1982 and 1984; additionally, their single for "Exterior St." was featured on the compilation, Anti-NY, with contemporaries, Ike Yard, Sexual Harassment, and Vivian Goldmann, among others.

In 2004, he released his debut album Bi-Conicals of the Rammellzee, produced by Gomma Records. Rammellzee also performed at Knitting Factory with guitarist Buckethead several times.

If you don’t know the name, the history, or the legend, feel free to Google Rammellzee and you will see the impact he made on urban culture in the past 30 years.