Nice To Meet You
A lot of rappers come from a background of hustling and gangbanging. A lot of rappers have a wake up call when someone close to them, or they themselves, get shot and leave that life behind. You can't have much of a closer call than A$ton Matthews had. The California emcee was shot through the heart. The heart. The bullet went through the lower valves and came within millimeters of ending his life, long before we ever would've gotten to hear his music.
HNHH: Do you have any lingering effects from the gunshot health-wise?
AM: Fuck yeah, the bullet hit my heart, broke some ribs and tore my stomach up, so they had to sew all that back together. I have a lot of stomach related issues now. If I eat too late at night or eat dairy products I get all fucked up. Nothing I can do about it though, just have to live with it.
HNHH: You're alive. Do you think coming that close to death changes your outlook on life?
AM: For sure, I feel like I'm here for a reason, and I won't stop until I get what I'm here for.
HNHH: What's that?
AM: To make sure my voice is heard and make an impact on the voiceless kids out there with similar stories as mine.
HNHH: Looking back, do you regret your gang involvement?
AM: I never regret anything I've ever done because life is full of lessons. You either learn from them or you don't. I would never have gotten to this point without living my life the way I did.
After that painful ordeal, Matthews took a step back and started looking for a way out, a long term plan to do better for himself and his family. He began honing his craft as a rapper, and his longtime friend Vince Staples eventually introduced him to Joey Fatts, beginning a fruitful partnership that would carry all 3 of them to new heights. He jumped on the scene with his debut NOFVCKSGIVEN mixtape, which featured the likes of Staples, Skeme and a not-yet-superstar-status ScHoolboy Q and started to gain some buzz.
He followed that up with Versace Ragz, a throwback style tape reminiscent of classic 90's West Coast anthems. Songs like "Mini Van Dan" remind you of old Cypress Hill or Snoop Dogg records, which explains A$ton's affinity for B-Real.
HNHH: Besides repping for the West Coast, do you feel like you're out at the forefront for Hispanic artists right now?
AM: I do feel like I'm one of the few at the forefront for Hispanic artists for sure. I just want to make way for the other youngsters out there that are just like me but have no voice yet. Im trying to fill that void in a different way than we're used to. I'm trying to be around forever like B-Real!
HNHH: Ever met him?
AM: Nahh, I haven't yet. I'm hoping to smoke some dope with him on his show one day.
HNHH: B-Real, if you're reading this, we need an A$ton Matthews episode of "The Smoke Box"!