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Rammellzee Interview (R.I.P.)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Rammellzee & K-Rob – “Beat Bop

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from Beat Bop 12″ (Tartown, 1983)

For those who have yet to hear, avant rap and graffiti legend Rammellzee passed away on Tuesday. Details still are hazy at best but it appears to be a sad truth. Ramell always maintained that the word was a form of mathematics and there’s no series of equations that could properly do his life justice. I tried at the Village Voice but don’t think I came close to doing him justice. He was a legend in two games and probably the single most unique human I’ve ever been blessed to have an awkward phone conversation with. As such I’m bumping the said conversation below.

To me the most fascinating part of this interview was not the mythological Rammellisms – the tale of crumbling up Basquiat’s lyrics, the live-performance-as-bank-heist theory, the dentistry aspirations – but rather when he began to crack jokes about his wife getting on his case. It was like he briefly became Al Bundy, a victim of domesticity. That’s was what seemed incredible about interacting with Ramm – for someone who was always wearing masks and worshipping mechanics there was also a vast amount of humanity right there on the surface. Or maybe he was just a robot trying his best to seem human. One other funny interaction that didn’t make the final edit but I think was sort of indicative of where Ramm’s head was at: halfway through the conversation he told me he only agreed to do the interview because he thought it was going to be with Nas, the rapper. This is odd because I set it up via email, so the pronunciation similarities should have been overshadowed by the spelling difference. I suspect this was another instance of his deep deadpan humor but I can’t be entirely sure.

Hit the jump to read the Q&A, which first ran here on 4/24/08 and then check the Tumblr where a full scale Rammellzee tribute has been going down. (more…)