Today in Hip Hop History: September 17, 1975
Underground MC Robert Diaz, or Pumpkinhead, or P.H. was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1975. Pumpkinhead was always raising the bar; a legend amongst the underground rap battle scene with his hilarious punchlines and competitive nature.
Pumpkinhead’s career began at the young age of 10 when he started writing rap lyrics at school. The underground MC cites Redman, Leaders of the New School, Doug E. Fresh, and 2Pac as a few of his many major influences. He made his breakthrough into the industry when his friend relayed his demo tape to Bobbito Garcia of WKCR from his home to ground-breaking underground hip hop from 1990-1998.
Solo work and notable features
His first major release was “Dynamic” in 1997, which began a series of mixtapes in the late 90’s. He released the single through Brooklyn-based independent record label Makin’ Records alongside a remix of the song. He later released his debut album, The Old Testament, through the same label in 2001.
Throughout his career, Pumpkinhead released six full-length albums, one EP, and six mixtapes. He featured on a variety of other artist’s works, including good friend Immortal Technique‘s Revolutionary Vol. 1, and Revolutionary Vol. 2, Jean Grae‘s The Bootleg of the Bootleg, and several others.
Condolences amongst the East
Unfortunately, Pumpkinhead passed away in June of 2015 after going in for a minor surgery. As of now, the official cause of death has not been released. Many hip hop figures expressed their sorrows for the rapper after his passing which truly shows how much he meant to his respective niche in hip hop.
— IG: TechImmortal (@ImmortalTech) June 9, 2015
Just finding out I lost a great friend today. RIP Robert Diaz AKA Pumpkinhead. 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. RIP Robert Diaz.
I'm completely devastated. RIP PH. pic.twitter.com/wDmsRaHk20
— PHAROAHE MONCH (@pharoahemonch) June 9, 2015
To honor the late MC, the city council approved a motion to rename a street in his hometown of Park Slope. Now named “Robert ‘PH’ Diaz Way,” the memorial serves to forever remember the man for his contributions to the culture and community in the area.
Happy 41st birthday and Rest in Peace Robert “Pumpkinhead” Diaz (Sept. 17th, 1975-June 9th, 2015).