I just got these two blackbook pieces texted from NZ. Miss this guy.
Archive for the 'rip' Category
Rammellzee’s oeuvre started to form in my mind when I got ahold of a copy of the Ionic Treatise Gothic Futurism. It was pure poetry. It didn’t make any sense, but it had styyyyyle (said in your best Case2 voice) by the pound. If nothing else you have to admire someone that wrote about style and made an effort to school the uninitiated.
Around that time I saw Rammellzee’s amazing costumes and heard about his performances. I never got a chance to see them, but he was onto something. It was clear that writing was only part of his overall steez and he had lots to share with the world.
After that initial introduction in the early/mid-90s I didn’t really hear about him for awhile. I later heard that around that time that he was living in the same building as some other friends and he wasn’t the most social and had some life issues. They had some crazy stories about him, but nothing quite like the following.
A dude I’ve known for years used to be boys with Rammellzee. He would crash at his place when he was in town. One night they drank a number of 40s and maybe did some other things and my boy passed out on the couch. He woke up in the middle of the night with Rammellzee sitting in a chair in front of the couch with a knife and fork in his hand. He’s like, “You ok, Rammell?” Rammell said something about how he was going to eat my friend.
I have no idea of the authenticity of that story, or if I have the facts exactly straight, but what graffiti related story isn’t like that?
Respect to the one and only RAM:ELL:ZEE
I remember seeing this battle back in the day. My boy Sleep and I had made the long trek out to NYC for Rock Steady Anniversary. I bought a breaks mixtape from the man himself. This was the day that he got the Grandmaster title, if I remember correctly.
I hate opening my Inbox in the morning and reading about the passing of a friend. This is one of those posts that won’t do justice to what I’m trying to talk about.
I know that I always looked up to Tony and Henry when Susan and I were working on Art Crimes. They set the standard, along with Martha Cooper, on documenting graffiti. I love all of the videos that have been made over the years, but it was Tony’s skill behind the camera that brought the movement to light and made the work sing. Tony’s skill made graffiti legit. Because of his careful and thoughtful treatment, it Style Wars made you proud to be a writer. It made you want to take yourself seriously because he had peeled back the layers of this craft and the artisans behind it. He also made you feel like you could be a part of the movement and that everyone involved had a role that mattered. He was around and cared about the movement enough to unearth the archive of footage that couldn’t be shown the first time around
Beyond all of that, Tony was a real cool guy. He was a blast to be around. He was around quite a bit when we were working on the Style Wars DVD at Funny Garbage and we had quite a few back and forths when distribution wasn’t happening for the DVD and we were trying to get it to retail on Art Crimes. He was always thoughtful and patient and tried to make sure the right thing happened.
Check out what Mare has to say, because he knew Tony much better than I.
Here’s Style Wars.
I had always hoped that I’d get my copy of Faith of Graffiti signed someday. I had also hoped I’d get to thank Norman Mailer, in person, for his mayoral campaign in NYC. Mr. Mailer ran on the secession platform, something I’ve been saying since Lil Bush won the presidency. If you don’t have a copy of Faith of Graffiti, pick one up. It’s some of the best prose ever written on graf and has some of the best photos from the era.
Thanks for contributing so much, Mr. Mailer.