Rammellzee: The Equation

 “In the 14th Century the monks ornamented and illustrated the manuscripts of letters. In the 21st and 22nd century the letters of the alphabet through competition are now armamented for letter racing and galactic battles. This was made possible by a secret equation know as THE RAMMELLZEE.”

Last month in NYC, we made a point to stop in the Suzanne Geiss Gallery to check out "RAMMELLZEE: THE EQUATION, The Letter Racers." This was no doubt a historical exhibit! There were three parts to the installation including paintings, drawings, and the Letter Racers (shown in NYC for the first time). The late Rammellzee's work still carries his future-forward cosmic hip-hop vibe. 

"Suspended in the interstice between the metaphysical and the material, the 52 Letter Racers displayed in this show are poised to activate and attack. Constructed from urban detritus - Canal Street perfume caps, spray can triggers, and king’s crown air fresheners - they are objects of human experience refracted and reconfigured to create a revised language of urban existence."
"Rammellzee’s manifestoes “Iconoclast Panzerism” and “Gothic Futurism” explored graffiti’s ability to liberate the transcendental powers of the alphabet that had been corrupted by Western culture. A manifestation of the artist’s theories, his Letter Racers were created over more than 15 years in his storied loft, The Battle Station."
"One of hip-hop’s most enigmatic figures, RAMMELLZEE was a graffiti writer, rapper, and sculptor. Born in Far Rockaway, Queens, RAMMELLZEE began a brief graffiti career on the A train in the mid-1970’s. The equation was born in 1979. By the early 1980’s, he was creating paintings and three-dimensional sculptures of letters, many of which were shown in galleries and museums. As a musician, RAMMELLZEE had a nasal rap style, sometimes called “gangsta duck.” He appreared in Charlie Ahearn’s film Wild Style, and his 1983 song “Beat Bop” - produced and with a cover design by Jean-Michel Basquiat - featured prominetly in Henry Chalfrant and Tony Silver’s documentary Style Wars. A reclusive artist, RAMMELLZEE all but stopped exhibiting his work in public and spent much of the last two decades of his life in his
Tribeca loft he called the Battle Station, where he was rarely photographed without wearing one of his handmade, science fiction-style masks. He died in 2010 at the age of forty-nine."
bio/quotes from Suzanne Geiss Company press release