Veteran indie rapper Robert Alan Diaz, a.k.a. Pumpkinhead, died yesterday at the age of 39. Diaz is survived by his wife and two sons. The cause of death has not yet been made public, and funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Hailing from the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, Pumpkinhead (who later went by PH) started rapping in middle school, getting his breakthrough with the single “Dynamic” in 1997. A remix found its way onto the Beat Junkies mix CD, The World Famous Beat Junkies, Vol. 2. He may be best known for his second album, Orange Moon Over Brooklyn.
Pumpkinhead never gained mainstream visibility, but he was an accomplished veteran emcee on the underground hip-hop scene who specialized in freestyle and battle rapping. He frequently collaborated as a guest on albums by indie-rap mainstays such as Murs, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, and Jean Grae. Friends and fellow artists have been mourning Pumpkinhead on social media:
aw man rest in peace, pumpkinhead. one of the coolest, kindest people to walk this earth.
— el-p (@therealelp) June 9, 2015