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Text: Iconic Treatise on Gothic Futurism



Rammelzee's single "Beat Bop" was released the same year as Wild Style (which featured the rapper simultaneously rhyming and brandishing a rifle), and was born of the same milieu. Rammelzee was a prominent graffito at the time (he wrote "Evolution Griller") and, echoing events in the movie, was introduced to Jean Michel Basquiat by Fab Five Freddy because of their presumably shared interest in street art. Basquiat's tenuous, self-proclaimed connection with graffiti was summarily swept aside by Rammelzee, but "Beat Bop," which boasts Basquiat as the producer, was the by-product of their meeting.

Though the engineer finally opted for a fade out ten minutes and ten seconds into the track, it doesn't seem at all certain that Rammelzee and K-Rob were ready to call it quits. They trade verses, K-Rob playing the down-and-out yet responsible naif to Rammelzee's shit-talking gangster pimp. "Beat Bop" has remained fairly obscure over the years because of its small press-run, but its unique production and Rammelzee's force-of-nature freestyle flows make it a must-own, must-play-on-repeat track.

SPEX: Zu Trickys Old-School-Lieblingen gehört auch >Beat Bop< von Rammelzee und K-Rob. Das Stück ist ein direktes Vorbild für die Texte und Musik auf >Maxinquaye<. Rammelzee war ein Graffitti-Künstler und Guerilla-Linguist, der passenderweise von dem >flyboy in the buttermik<, Jean Michel Basquiat, produziert wurde. ">Beat Bop< wird in etwas namens >slanguage< gerappt - ein >stream of consciousness<-Rap zwischen einem Gangster und einem Kind, die über die Vor- und Nachteile der Schule debattieren. Die Musik besteht aus einem langsamen Trance-Beat, in Wellen von Echo gebadet, das wie Nebel steigt und fällt. Auf verwirrende Weise gleitet die Sprache in Hip Hop-Klischees, sozialen Realismus und reinen Nonsense hinein und hinaus." (David Toop)

Greg Tate schrieb, >Beat Bop< käme ihm wie eine Neufassung von >Naked Lunch< aus der South Bronx vor. Auf >Ill Communication< zitieren die Beastie Boys >Beat Bop< in Ihrem Stück >B-Boys Makin' With The Freak Freak<. Auch ihre Art zu rappen, verdankt Rammelzee viel. Vielleicht sind William S. Burroughs, die Beasties und Tricky zusammen ja der James Joyce unserer Zelt. Aber wer will das schon so genau wissen?!



©2001, 2003 @149st Do not republish without permission.

Where and what year did you start writing on trains? 1974 the A train, Far Rockaway, Queens. I met SONIC 002 in 1976. At this time I graduated to wild style as a burner classed writer. SONIC was impressed! We wrote together several times.

Did you have a particular inspiration or mentor(s)? My inspiration was my curiosity of why people wanted to write on trains, the biggest distribution gallery for any art form known to man. as for people that influenced me, on the outside, that would be SLAVE, IZ THE WIZ, SNACK, and GEAR. As for the insides, JESTER, SNAK, MOVIN and OU 3. JESTER did what we should call now, the "signoverture." a letter with a harpoon on it. I based most of my style on that. I often wondered why JESTER armored the "letter" with a barbed arrow.

What borough are you originally from? Queens, A train, Mott Avenue. I was influence by PEANUT 2 because I actually saw him writing on the A train. The last stop in Far Rockaway.

List all the other names under which you are known? HYTESTYR, EG (EVOLUTION GRILLER THE MASTER KILLER), SHARISSK BOO, RAZZ.

How did you get your names? I just picked them. All except THE RAMMELLZEE which was given to me by Jammel-Z for and from the Five Percent Nation.

What crews have you written for? The Master Blasters or The Master Bombers owned by IZ THE WIZ, whom I met thru INK 76. No Competitional Bombers or No Comp Boys owned by ROTO and SNAK. SONIC 002's Boys Are Down and TOP owned by TO TOP...IN and BI. JESTER put me in The Crew and The Killer Crew, and the Majestic Kings. In 1979 I started my own click called Tags Master Killers. I also started NGG (Notorious Graffiti Gangsters and LAW (Legions Assassins Wizards). Then I was indoctrinated into CIA by DONDI himself.

Who was your most successful partner(s)? "A1"...."B1"....and "C1"! I sent these people to meet Jean Michel Basquiat to tell him I was coming for him. This would be 1980. We of the "burner" class did not like this puppet king who never hit a train a rolling page. FAB FIVE FREDDY, cause of my technique with the "burner," asked me to interrogate Jean Michel before he got too powerful but, society is society, and they want to believe what they want to believe in "that" art world of the 1980s. They had no interest in the "burner!" For me they had an interest in why I used the words Ikonoklast and Panzerism. an interesting military tactic to enter New York City. FRED and DONDI loved me for it! but, they also said I was going too far. They said I was performing heresy. Heresy or not, I am the only one who has had three one-man museum exhibitions, because of my "Tanks", The "Letter Racers!"

What lines have you hit? After CIA I became city wide, not a king, but an assassin. In that part of my history I was mostly a theologinist, as I, am, today. My letters are now 3-dimensional, so fact is fact. people like DONDI, (which in the book of names means "fun") stopped doing the "burner" once they got into the gallery system. they were more interested in being known for fame. I stuck to what I read in the library and the dictionary Illuminations of the Letter's Chassis, specifics, Weapon Slaving". It's aeronautics and aerodynamics. We must remember the monks of the 10th -- 15th centuries, and why they mechanized our same letters, like on the heading of the Long Island Press newspaper. we had invented nothing it was already there. Our "burners" only finished the job that the monks had started. I was hated by my peers for this knowledge.

When did you quit painting trains? In 1980. It was a RISSK piece with DONDI. This is when DONDI dominated the number 2 line.

When you made the transition from trains to other mediums your art made a dramatic change. Your style broke away from many traditions and standards set in aerosol art. What was this process like as an artist? My style did not break away from any traditional art form of the illuminations. I just went further, did what people wouldn't. We all painted three dimensional letters. I just finished mines by building them. Those rolling pages in those wind tunnels showed everyone what to do. Those who chose to complete "that" competition of the five boroughs of New York City, had their reasons to finish or not their studies. Even if their studies were rolling at the speed of 35 miles per hour.

What is the philosophy behind Letter Racer? Alpha's Bet is not over yet! The Three dimensional "burner" should have been all of our philosophy. Writing for "fame of name" is a poor excuse to be a monk and is the reason why this culture is called sub culture. So,if giving this sub culture a scientific and historical backbone is a philosophy then so be it.

How does your work translate into performance art, acting, music clothing design, and sculpture? I've already expressed that! But, it's hard to become a real live painting in a "B boy" style. but, I manage and we all could've managed. If we would have stuck to our principals, left by the monks.

Which projects do you find most rewarding as an artist? Performance!

Do you have any closing words or personal comments? We failed what could have been "Our" culture. I went to the Puck Building (Guernsey's Auction) in June of the year 2000 and offered my services. Everyone who was anyone in this "sub culture" had works for sale. No one sold, except for a few. I felt that the "culture" died right there. There was too much "mannerism " not enough "burner"!!! Our futurism! We should have only stuck to doing the "letter" and joined together to fight the light dwellers. but, we will always be Kings From the Dark Continent. The veins of this Gotham! Remember this the next level, as you said, is the third dimension. I hope.

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