Do Remember: Pumpkinhead’s Emcee (Audio)

On Tuesday (June 9) of this week, Brooklyn, New York MC Pumpkinhead passed away. The 39 year-old Brooklyn, New York native born Robert Alan Diaz left behind more than a 15-year legacy in Hip-Hop. He was an MC, a songwriter, a battle rapper, and a member of Brooklyn Academy, among other facets.

Pumpkinhead was far from a household name. However, a product of the late 1990s New York City underground Hip-Hop community, he worked with would-be breakouts such as Immortal Technique, Royce Da 5’9″, and Wordsworth. P.H., as he was also known came into Hip-Hop by way of breakin’, and the high school classmate of Talib Kweli would later move into MC’ing, where he sustained a career since the late ’90s. He never made the charts on his own, released few videos as a soloist, and did limited interviews. However, to those in the know, Pumpkinhead was a testament to dedication, craftsmanship, and the competitive spirit.

As far as album work, 2006’s Orange Moon Over Brooklyn would prove to be one of Pumpkinhead’s finest hours. Teaming with Soulspazm/Rawkus Records, P.H. enlisted a breaking producer named Marco Polo, who that same year would dazzle with his own LP. Orange Moon played on Pumpkin’s name, and his turf. However, the album showed an MC known for battle rhymes and lyricism fully capable of going new places. Cohesive and honed in, this LP pulled the Skeme Team/O.B.S. affiliate out of his roots, and amounted to the album he’d spent his career aiming to make. Simple, clever, and dismissive, this was a rapper’s Rap album, several years after such a thing faded from fashion. By and large however, the work stood tall.

Within Orange Moon, P.H. told his story. “Emcee” is one such record. With Marco on the beat (before he would work with Rakim, Pharaohe Monch, and MC Eiht), and longtime affiliate D.P. One on the cuts, the song explained Pumpkinhead’s path, his reason for rhyming, and arguably, his creative purpose.

As Hip-Hop loses another of its own, do remember Pumpkinhead, and how these words mean more now, then Heads may’ve ever realized before:

Check out other Ambrosia For Heads’ “Do Remember” pieces.

Related: Rest In Peace Pumpkinhead, Friends & Collaborators Mourn