Written and directed by Oscar Boyson (the producer of Good Time, Heaven Knows What, Frances Ha) and produced by the Safdie brothers’ Elara Pictures, the film celebrates the life of one of the most influential yet overlooked artists of our time. The film was created in collaboration with the Red Bull Arts New York curatorial team behind the exhibition RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder, which is on view through August 26, 2018.
The film’s release marks the close of Red Bull Music Festival New York 2018, which launched earlier this month. The exhibition’s opening reception inaugurated this year’s edition of the festival. The opening event,If This Knowledge Scares You, The Equation Is Working, celebrated RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s commitment to the liberation of language and expression, manifested in a New York City-heavy lineup of kindred voices including Wiki in collaboration with Coati Mundi, Show Me The Body, Standing on the Corner and more.The highlight of the night came at midnight, when the lights dimmed and hip-hop OG K-Rob took the stage. The rap pioneer performed his seminal RAMMΣLLZΣΣ collaboration “Beat Bop,” produced by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and was joined by a video featuring a young RAMM rapping his verses. Violinist Eszter Balint and percussionist Al Diaz also joined the live tribute to RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s most prolific hip-hop track.
Presented by Red Bull Arts New York, both the film and the expansive survey examine the evolution of RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s diverse body of work, and aim to introduce a new generation to the artist-prophet. The film and exhibition offer a comprehensive chronology of this remarkably complicated artist through a diverse selection of artworks, music, writings, rare archival documentation, ephemera, and oral histories told by the people closest to RAMMΣLLZΣΣ.