Born Robert Alan Diaz, in Brooklyn N.Y., on Sept. 17th, 1975, PH (formerly known as Pumpkinhead), did not know what his future had in store for him. The son of a single, hard working mother, grew up in Park Slope Brooklyn with his mom and younger sister, in a 2 bedroom apartment. He started getting into Hip Hop in the early 80’s. As a 10 yr. old B-boy, Robert would battle local crews alone in search of acceptance for having heart and skill for his age. Movies like Beat Street, Breakin and Wildstyle, inspired this B-boy to embrace the culture to the fullest and be the best at what he does today.
After gaining acclaim for his breaking and popping skills, he quickly moved on to his next goal, which was to be an MC. After Hearing Dana Dane’s “Nightmares”, young Robert started penning raps during his 6th Grade Language art class, where he was the top Poet.
Soon “Pumpkinhead” first leapt onto the Underground Hip Hop scene, when a friend of his went to Bobitto Garcia, and handed him a promo that PH had created for his Hip Hop radio show, along with the legendary DJ Stretch Armstrong, “The Stretch Armstrong Show”.
They played the promo for 8 weeks straight.
After New York’s first taste of this underground MC, they demanded more , So PH joined the stable of Makin’ Records, which was home to the group Natural Resource (including Jean Grae) and The Bad Seed. Ph’s first 12″ single was “Dynamic” b/w “It’s Over”. The record was embraced by all and went #1 in the Hits, Gavin and CMJ charts. The rest, as they say, is history.
Pumpkinhead became known as a battle Champion, holding two “Braggin Rites” Championships, winning several End of the Weak (EODub) Challenges and coming in first or second in numerous other battles and contests. During this time, he rocked many performances and destroyed countless opponents in freestyle street battles with ThePLAGUE, a crew of MC’s that he still records and performs with to this day.
PH also formed a group with Mr. Metaphor, Block McLoud, Will Tell & I.C.ON called “Brooklyn Academy”. They released a classic single called “Con Artists”, which charted on radio before the label folded. The group pursued individual careers before reuniting years later to drop the classic Brooklyn Academy album “Bored of Education” in 2008.
Over the years, PH has toured and traveled to Japan, Australia (Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne), Sweden, Amsterdam, Canada and over 40 U.S. states. He has opened up for the likes of the rock group Goo Goo Dolls on the Lyricist Lounge Technology Tour, Bootcamp Click on the lyricists Lounge Tour, Kanye West, Ghostface, Big Daddy Kane, The Lost Boys, Tony Touch, Jedi Mind Tricks, to name a few and has also headlined his own shows all over the United States.
As Pumpkinhead, PH has released his debut album “The Old Testament”, the E.P. “A Beautiful Mind” and his sophmore album “Orange Moon Over Brooklyn”. He has produced several mixtapes, including “Kill Music vol.1”, “Time Chronicles” Vol.1 & 2 . “Border Blockers” released in Canada, “Power Man & Iron Fist” with Cy Marshall Law, and “Picture That: The Negative”.
In 2011, the MC shortened his name, preferring to go by the initials that most of his friends referred to him as, “PH”, and dropped another classic album, KNOW THE LEDGE, on MCMI Records. The album did very well, lead by the single County of Kings, a Brookyn anthem featuring Sha Stimuli, Ruste Juxx, Skyzoo & label-mate LR Blitzkrieg. The album also featured notable spitters such as Nems, Poison Pen, Marv Won, Charlie Clips and Plague members GMS and Substantial.
For the next few years PH focused his time cultivating the battle scene, as host and then President of GRINDTIME EAST COAST (GTEC), until he gave that up and threw his hat in the ring, to battle once again, this time using the more modern, pre-written battle rap format. His first battle was against the top West Coast battle rapper Dizaster. PH’s victory sparked a winning streak as he battled in multiple leagues, in the US, Canada and the UK. In his passionate return to battling, he formed an alliance with like-minded MC’s, producers and battlers under the name Team Homi, which soon became a house-hold name in the world of battle rap.
During the next few years PH continued to record music with his label, MCMI Records and collaborated with numerous underground and up and coming artists from all over the world. He also entered and won many notable rap contests, winning the EOW MC Challenge a total of 4 times and being named “NYC MVP” by legendary rapper Ludacris, in Magnum’s Live Large Rap Battle.
After taking a break from music to focus on family, PH began work on what he said would be his final album. On Tuesday, June 9th, 2015, 5:40am, PH passed away unexpectedly after checking into a New Jersey hospital for a minor surgery. He is survived by his wife and two sons, with a daughter on the way.
A friend to all, he will be sorely missed by his friends, family and throughout the industry. He will be remembered for being a family man and for his many contributions to Hip Hop culture.
On Wednesday, June 10th, at 1:30am, at a rooftop gathering in mourning and celebration of Robert “PH” Diaz‘ life, the moon appeared suddenly and glowed bright orange for 30 to 40 minutes, signaling to family and friends that he is still here in spirit and shines brightly over all of us. Over a dozen people on that roof witnessed this miraculous event and took pictures and video of the Orange Moon over Brooklyn, one of which is posted here.
R.I.P. Robert Alan Diaz (1975-2015)
SALUTE the Underground King, PH! REST IN POWER!
Press inquiries, or to talk about Tribute Shows and other fundraising ventures: PH@MCMIreport.com