hip hop music

September 26, 2003

R.I.P. Matthew Hall, a.k.a. Optimus Rhyme

NY's hip-hop and youth activist communities are mourning today for the loss of Matthew Hall, shot in the back as he left a Zulu Nation meeting in Harlem. Though only 18 Matthew had already made a mark with his activism at Hunter College, and also emceeing under the name Optimus Rhyme, at local venues including End of the Weak. Here are further details from some who knew him:

For those who have not heard or seen today's Daily News, Matthew Hall, a student at Hunter College, brother, activist, member of the Universal Zulu Nation, was shot in the back Wednesday at 9pm, and passed away yesterday at 4:30pm at Harlem Hospital. Many may not know him by his legal name, but when you see the front cover of the daily news you will know that face, Matthew was involved in so many things, he was at every major rally, protest, always at meetings, and last year had put together an event at Hunter College, to expose students to the political nature of hip hop culture, Immortal Technique, the Welfare Poets and I were part of that event, it was such a success that he was going to continue to do more events at Hunter and was evolving into an amazing young revolutionary and activist. Matthew was also part of the Nu-Sense Collective a youth collective that has its roots at WBAI. I had the pleasure of seeing and chilling with Matthew last thursday night at Hunter College for one of the ACLU College Freedom tour stops. He was excited that we had chosen Hunter, and I said to him, it was his doing, in choosing colleges for the tour, Hunter was the natural choose as so many great activists come from their, and as usual he was there supporting, and seeing what more he could do.

In the last two years we have lost two great brothers in our generation, Rohan Wedderburn and now Matthew Hall, both shot violently. Let us not forget them or their contributions to our people.

***Hunter College Students are holding a vigil sometime next week.

-Rosa Clemente


yo... some sad shitty news...

word is that our homeboy Optimus Rhyme aka Matt was shot and has just passed away...

the man is our brother in struggle for justice and equality such as fighting against the war, right to palestnian state and against police brutality just to name a few...

Matt also kept it real for hiphop... hes down with the Guerrilla Words cause, EOW and Cajo.. Matt organized the Immortal Technique, Oktobre, LIFE Long and Welfare Poet show a couple of months ago in his school Hunter College..

i still can't believe homeboy is gone.. i was just asking him bout a j-live song yesterday and now word that hes gone... i was even bugging him to get a friendster account...

just shows us how we gotta cherish every moment..

we gotta continue the struggle for matt and all of our peoples that held the truth...

- Jose of Guerilla Words

And here is some press coverage of the tragedy, most of which thankfully avoids the typical "rap-related violence!" sensationalism:

NY Daily News

NY Times

New York Post - even the post is somewhat respectful, other than their vaguely paranoid assessment of the Zulu Nation.

We will pay tribute to Matthew tomorrow on our radio show, which will feature the EOW crew.

Posted by jsmooth995 at September 26, 2003 12:36 PM

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