The Rammellzee has been gone just over five years now, though his influence on both hip-hop and street-art has just started being assessed.

He worked with ’80s art phenom Jean Michel Basquiat and was a contemporary of crossover graffitists like Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. Ramm was also featured in cult NYC b-boy films like Wild Style (1982), Style Wars (1983), and Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise (1984). Yet the artist was not one to seek the limelight and, as a result, the Rammellzee had just one solo exhibition in his lifetime, released a lone 12″ single, and full-length album before passing in June of 2010.

Despite Ramm’s limited catalog, however, he remains a revered underground figure and a huge influence on artier hip-hop acts like the Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang Clan, and MF Doom.

At long last, a retrospective… sort of.

In March, the design firm/publisher/record label Gamma Proforma announced a series of seven posthumous vinyl singles by Rammellzee, as well as an impending gallery show that will begin in London during the summer and travel to NYC by fall. Details of the exhibitions are foggy, though the first three singles have already been released on Gamma’s website. (He was also part of this group show in the Bronx in March.)

Each record features one unreleased song by Ramm, plus three additional remixes by the master’s most fervent acolytes. They also include screen-printed record sleeves that further explore the artist’s manifesto-like style.

He called it “Gothic Futurism,” though its aesthetic fits more neatly into the current sci-fi genre known as Afrofuturism, and is intended to be a complete deconstruction of the English language and its primary visual offshoot: advertising.

Alas, the surface of the Rammelzze’s oeuvrewhich includes sculpture, toy design, fashion, video art, illustration, painting, and additional unreleased musichas barely been scratched. It’s bound to happen… and when it does, I expect the word “seminal” to be closely attached. (Brian Chidester)

Ian Kualii's record sleeve for the posthumous Rammellzee release of "Brainstorm," a 12" single on Gamma Proforma.

Ian Kualii’s record sleeve for the posthumous Rammellzee release of “Brainstorm,” a 12″ single on Gamma Proforma.

A portrait of the gothic futurist himself: The Rammellzee!

A portrait of the gothic futurist himself: The Rammellzee!