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Remembering Rammellzee: Hip-Hop Pioneer, Breakthrough Artist, Occasional Robot

A writer who first encountered the artist during the dawn of rap remembers him and his influence on the scene.

Rammellzee was remembered Wednesday with affection and admiration as a man whose originality and idiosyncratic vision was a hallmark of early-'80s hip-hop. He died Tuesday at age 50 from causes unknown at the time of writing.

"Beat Bop," the 10-minute single he cut with K-Rob in 1983, was tinged with the surreality of dub music; the sleeve designed by his close friend, Jean-Michel Basquiat, (who also produced the track) quizzically states that the disc is a Test Pressing. Well, of course. Though the disc's "iconoclastic panzer" rhythms really were meant to be just a test pressing -- for Rammellzee everything was a test, an experiment.

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Rammellzee was truly different -- not just from the other artists who surrounded him, like Fab5Freddy, Basquiat, and Futura 2000, innovators all, but from anyone else on the planet.

See full article on Fast Company