Pumpkinhead's name has been in underground circles since the late '90s, with a remix of his 1997 single "Dynamic" getting placement on The World Famous Beat Junkies, Vol. 2. He was probably best known for standout features on projects from Immortal Technique and Jean Grae, although he not only made a name for himself on his Marco Polo-produced 2005 album Orange Moon Over Brooklyn (Soulspazm/Rawkus), but was also a part of the legendary Brooklyn Academy.
Pumpkinhead also made an impact in the world of battle rap, being affiliated with GrindTime New York, winning a pair of Braggin Rites championships, a pair of End of the Weak challenges, and even being featured in a storied battle against Breez Evahflowin at the 1998 Blaze Battle. Pumpkinhead took his talents across America as well as touring in Japan, Australia, Sweden, and Amsterdam, and opening for the likes of the Boot Camp Click, the Goo Goo Dolls, and rocking stages with many others.
Pumpkinhead was 39. Billboard reports that Pumpkinhead is survived by a wife and two sons, with a baby girl on the way.
Many of his peers are sending their condolences via social media:
PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME THIS SHIT AINT TRUE ABOUT @PH_TEAMHOMI— Marco Polo (@marcopolobeats) June 9, 2015
Today is a very shitty day. Just got word my brother Pumpkinhead passed away at 5:40am this morning. My condolences to his family...R.I.P.— Marco Polo (@marcopolobeats) June 9, 2015
One of the first people to give me a shot when I moved to New York and I'm honored to have recorded "Orange Moon Over Brooklyn" with you.— Marco Polo (@marcopolobeats) June 9, 2015
A photo posted by Marco Polo (@marcopolobeats) on Jun 9, 2015 at 10:07am PDT
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.
A photo posted by Talib Kweli (@talibkweli) on Jun 9, 2015 at 9:51am PDT
Orange Moon Over Brooklyn was the jump off for me really producing more records in the NYC underground. I will forever be thankful to PH.— Marco Polo (@marcopolobeats) June 9, 2015
Rest In Peace Pumpkinhead. Such a great dude. You'll be missed. Damn— Evidence. (@Evidence) June 9, 2015
I'm listening to this song @PH_TEAMHOMI sent me a few months backs.. Super dropping jewels. We lost one of the good guys. RiP Pumpkinhead— OH NO (@ohnothedisrupt) June 9, 2015
Sad news about PumpkinHead... He was a good dude. Rest in peace.— Statik Selektah (@StatikSelekt) June 9, 2015
R.I.P. Pumpkin Head.— Dru Ha (@druha) June 9, 2015
Pumpkinhead RIP— Alchemist (@Alchemist) June 9, 2015
Just heard Pumpkinhead passed away...really good dude...loved some of his music and always loved running into him at events ..RIP bro— Peter Rosenberg (@Rosenbergradio) June 9, 2015
Sad to hear of #Pumpkinhead passing. Good dude.— Stretch Armstrong (@StretchArmy) June 9, 2015
aw man rest in peace, pumpkinhead. one of the coolest, kindest people to walk this earth.— el-p (@therealelp) June 9, 2015
Pumpkinhead RIP. Good brother, dope MC, OG in NYC's indie rap circuit. Used to always quote his old demos to him and bug out. Salute.— J-Zone (@jzonedonttweet) June 9, 2015
RIP Pumpkinhead/PH. Had love for dude. From our days @ rap battles to working @ Delias. He showed love when no one else did. Great guy + MC— Rob Markman (@RobMarkman) June 9, 2015
I'm completely devastated. RIP PH. pic.twitter.com/wDmsRaHk20— PHAROAHE MONCH (@pharoahemonch) June 9, 2015