During the early morning hours of June 9th, 2015, Robert Alan Diaz – known by underground rap fans by his stage nam, Pumpkinhead – tragically passed while waiting to undergo a gall stone surgery. His death was sudden, his loss was painful, but his legacy will remain forever. And, in the near future, so will his name.
A longtime native of Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood (even before the gentrification), on February 6th the City Council approved the renaming of Degraw Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues for PH, under his government name. First reported by DNAInfo:
“We’re just so happy,” said Claudia Imperiale, a longtime friend of Diaz’s who helped lead the effort to honor him. “The true hip-hop and the real hip-hop is being recognized as an important piece of our culture. It’s a true art and craft and people are recognizing it.”
That isn’t all, however. The Council also approved that a stretch of Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, where the godfather of hip hop culture DJ Kool Herc hails as home, be renamed “Hip-Hop Boulevard.”
Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who represents the district that includes 1520 Sedgwick Ave., said that the co-naming is meant to honor both DJ Kool Herc and the overall contributions that The Bronx has made to creating hip-hop over the years. “I’m thankful that it has evolved to a genre of music that has gained so much attention and popularity,” she said. “We have a lot of Bronx natives who are trailblazers.”
This is a great moment for Pumpkinhead, as well as hip hop in general!