Since the news broke Tuesday afternoon that longtime Brooklyn indie hip-hop artist Pumpkinhead
) had died at age 39 - and with no cause of death announced - the hip-hop community has been in shock over the sudden death of this widely beloved underground rapper born Robert Alan Diaz
who came up in 90's hip-hop and built a rep on the battle scene and collaborated with a slew of artists. Above is a still from a KOTD rap battle where he handed it -via way superior battle freestyle - to his losing competitor Skelly.
Not much is known about his sudden death except that he reportedly had only very been recently admitted into the Somerville, N.J. hospital where he was pronounced dead on Tuesday morning June 9th. As news traveled fans and fellow hip-hop artists reacted. Upon finding out that he had lost a friend, Brooklyn hip-hop contemporary Talib Kweli
took to Instagram
to recall how, "Robert and I went to PS 282 together in Brooklyn, 4th grade. We then reconnected when he became an MC during the indie era of the late 90s. He signed to Makin Records, I signed to Rawkus. Then PH went on to reinvent himself again in the new battle rap era. He LOVED MCing and was great at it. To lose such a great human being so early in his life, man. No words. There is a fraternity of artists who were around for all of this. PH inspired us all. He will live on thru us even though his physical presence will be missed
." Meanwhile longtime friend Jean Grae
, whose stage name was given to her by PH, Tweeted that "Dynamic and the Dynamic Remix were the first songs I produced that got released. man. Man. MAN. Pumpkinhead. Man."
That track she produced is below, as is another Pumpkinhead collaboration with Jean Grae when both joined another frequent musical collaborator Immortal Technique
on his dope track "The Illest." Among his numerous collaborations the one with Marco Polo "Orange Moon Over Brooklyn" (insert) was an excellent one. I met Pumpkinhead when he guested on my radio show back in 2008 at the Knitting Factory as part of Brooklyn Academy
along with Mr Metaphor
and Block McCloud.
Meanwhile beyond the hip-hop world's loss, more profoundly impacted is the rapper's surviving family - his wife and two kids with another on the way - who are currently still scrambling to come to terms with the shock of his death, and slowly realizing that they do not have enough money to cover all of the sudden expenses that have landed in their lap. Hence a crowdfunding drive
has been just set to help with the funeral services and a memorial that would "make him proud."