small group of about 30 well wishers converged at the
Riverside Church in Harlem to pay their last respects
to Anthony "Poetic"
Berkley, rapper with the Gravediggaz. While
Poetic died on Sunday, July 15, 2001 in California after
a two-year battle with metastatic colon cancer, his wife,
Dee decided to have a memorial service in New York City.
Prince Paul, partner Frukwan, Allhiphop.com’s Jigsaw,
singer Esthero and others were on hand.
of Allhiphop.com, spoke about Poetic from the aspect of
a hip hop fan and human perspective. "I was a fan
of Poetic, like a real fan," he said, "So when
we were approached to help with Poetic’s plight,
we did everything that we could. That’s how we do
when we believe in something." According to Poetic’s
wife, Allhiphop.com conducted the last interview on Poetic
prior to him dying.
Paul of the Gravediggaz and Stetsasonic spoke frankly
about his personal relationship with his friend. "One
thing I learned from Poetic was the strength," he
said. "He’s a guy that never lost hope. When
you see Prince Paul, you see Poetic." Prince Paul
spoke from memory about Poetic without a prewritten statement.
The last and
arguably most moving testimonial on the program came from
Frukwan, currently the only member of the Gravediggaz.
Frukwan spoke at length about his relationship with Poetic,
even at one point, began rapping to his partner. "He’d
get in the booth and you couldn’t tell [he was sick],"
he said. Often looking to the ceiling of the majestic
church, Frukwan said hip hop music was one of the last
things motivating Poetic, because they recorded two albums
worth of material. Aside from his alias, "The Grym
Reaper, he said he dubbed Poetic "Tony Titanium,"
because the metal was "as hard as Poetic’s will
to live." Frukwan said that his mission was to bring
awareness to Poetic and "make his existence meaningful."
publicist Lisa "Chase" Patterson both chastised
certain individuals in the industry for not support one
that was deemed a friend at the height of the Gravediggaz
popularity. "I once saw an artist friend of Poetics
give a 100 dollar bill to a 5 year old for their birthday,
and this same "friend" did nothing to help Poe
in his time of need," Patterson said in a prepared
wife Dee Dee thanked all the people in the room in a brief
speech. "I hope that if we learned anything, we learned
about courage" she said softly. "He showed it to us while
he was alive, and proved it to us in his death." In tears
she continued, "Regardless of everything I hope that his
death was not in vain. Love is a powerful thing....looking
at him I just wonder how each of us would have reacted
in his place."
memorial people mingled and reflected on the love for
Anthony "Poetic" Berkely, a man that went from
being homeless to doing world tours to representing much
that is wrong with the recording industry.
The new album
Nightmare in A-Minor (Echo International), is set
to drop August 23 with the first singles being "Rest
in Da East" b/w "Nightmare in A-Minor."
Send Money To:
Anthony "Poetic" Berkeley Fund
3901 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, Ca 90807
For More information
201.521.9742 (fax) 201.521.9745