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Rammellzee

Beat Bop (1983) - Rammellzee Vs. K Rob

Profile (allmusic.com)

Rammellzee (not Rammelzee) was an important player in the initial crossover of hip-hop culture to the mainstream. He participated in hip-hop's earliest phases, though the bizarre edge his aggressively fanciful inventions brought to the original hip-hop style has been somewhat blunted by the dominance of the gangsta pose and its supposed "reality." Though he performed and recorded as an MC, Rammellzee achieved greater fame as a visual artist, with exhibitions in fine art venues of both North America and Europe. He began his art career "bombing" New York City subway trains, but the subway system influenced more than his artwork. Dynamite D, a conductor who rhymed boasts of the superior condition of his super clean D-train over the train's intercom, is named by Rammellzee as an early rap inspiration. Partnered with MCs Shock Dell and Jamal, Rammellzee participated in early hip-hop sound system battles, where he developed the "W.C. Fields" and "Gangsta Duck" voices originated by Jamal. Rammellzee employed the "Gangsta Duck" on "Beat Bop," a dense dialogue with K-Rob, nominally produced by the late painter Jean Michel Basquiat, and released on Profile Records. "Beat Bop" was the result of some improvised role playing, with Rammellzee playing a pimp and K-Rob in the character of a schoolboy. The resulting rap is the best and most sustained example on record of Rammellzee's flights of wordplay, fantasy, and street surrealism. He also appeared in the film Wildstyle and can be heard on the soundtrack LP of the movie. Though mostly concentrating on his visual art, he has collaborated on several progressive hip-hop projects, most often with Bill Laswell. --Richard Pierson, accessed April 2004

Afrofuturism [...]

The New York graffiti artist and B-boy theoretician Rammellzee constitutes yet another incarnation of Afrofuturism. Greg Tate holds that Rammellzee's "formulations on the juncture between black and Western sign systems make the extrapolations of [Houston] Baker and [Henry Louis] Gates seem elementary by comparison." As evidence, he submits the artist's "Ikonoklast Panzerism," a heavily armored descendant of late '70s "wild style" graffiti (those bulbous letters that look as if they were twisted out of balloons). A 1979 drawing depicts a Panzerized letter "S": it is a jumble of sharp angles that suggests the Nude Descending a Staircase bestriding a Jet Ski. "The Romans stole the alphabeta system from the Greeks through war," explains Rammellzee. "Then, in medieval times, monks ornamented letters to hide their meaning from the people. Now, the letter is armored against further manipulation." --Mark Dery, Black to the Future: Afro-Futurism 1.0, http://www.levity.com/markdery/black.html, accessed Apr 2004

CDs

  1. New York Noise - Dance Music From The New York Underground (2003) -VA [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Optimo - Liquid Liquid 2. Baby Dee - Konk 3. Do Dada - The Dance 4. Reduction - Material 5. Wawa - Lizzy Mercier Descloux 6. 5:30 - DNA 7. Beat Bop - Rammellzee Vs. K Rob 8. Contort Yourself - The Contortions 9. Lesson No. 1 - Glenn Branca 10. Button Up - The Bloods 11. Clean On Your Bean No. 1 - Dinosaur L 12. You Got Me - Theoretical Girls 13. Canít Be Funky - Bush Tetras 14. Helen Fordsdale - Mars 15. You Make No Sense - ESG 16. Defunkt - Defunkt

    Working as a companion compilation to, Soul Jazz Records equally great UK focused, In The Beginning There Was Rhythm this disc brings together a collection of hard to find gems from New York based post-punk bands. --amazon.co.uk

DVDs

  1. Wild Style (1982) - Charlie Ahearn [Amazon US]
    Features Rammellzee

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