Back in 1982, over in Switzerland, we got into rap and were constantly searching for new releases. One of the important series was Street Sounds Electro 1–22, with the outstanding no. 2 that included “Beat Bop” by Rammellzee versus K-Rob. Rap was part-party, part-pushy (and who remembers the short-lived Washington Go Go?), but “Beat Bop” wasn’t. It was a slow and lazy 10-minute piece (listen below) and we loved it for this.
In the mid-1980s, I visited Rome with my father and we happened to walk by Piazza di Spagna where we suddenly saw a big crowd. It was a public fashion show by Valentino and all flashes were directed on the Italian actor Gina Lollobrigida. But the really important thing (at least to me) followed once the show started: Rammellzee came on stage and did the live music. Later on I found out that Basquiat had done the sleeve for the 45 rpm release (see images below). And only many years later, when researching Rammellzee on the net I found his site, Gothic Futurism, with a mind-boggling text on “Ikonoklast Letters Racerism” and the Letter Racers. I always wanted to see them and finally did, last week, at The Suzanne Geiss Company (until April 21). The show is great, although suffering from Rammellzee’s absence (he died in 2010), but it included an amazing drawing from 1979 (see a detail above). And MoMA (I can’t believe that they did) included his work in Print/Out (until May 14). So Christophe, are you going to add Rammellzee’s work to MoMA’s collection? Can you go that far?