A$ton Matthews hasn’t had it easy. The Guatemalan-American rapper has been quietly representing the new gangsta rap scene in Los Angeles, with a come-up that includes a story of survival after a gunshot wound to the heart, Versace Ragz, the critically album executive produced by the late A$AP Yams, and an early partnership with fellow West Coast rappers Vince Staples and Joey Fatts.
His latest release, which is being premiered exclusively through Billboard, is a proud display of his wildly rough demeanor and his respect for the hardcore icons before him. The first cut off his upcoming album is “1 Minute to Pray,” which features the legendary Prodigy of Mobb Deep, who died of complications resulting from sickle cell anemia this summer. The song was recorded “just months” before his death, and A$ton Matthews says the experience was a rap dream realized.
“Working with P had to be one of the top 5 greatest moments of my career so far. Mobb Deep as a group had that raw, ‘We don’t give a fuck,’ spit-in-your-face vibe every record, and I feel like I’ve incorporated so much of that attitude into my own music,” the MC explains. “For me, I’m still working my way up in this rap shit, so for him to bless me with this verse is something legendary. I’m forever grateful for what he did for this game, and the influence he gave me, as well as the rest of the world.”
“1 Minute to Pray” channels Mobb Deep’s energy respectfully and effortlessly, and is an exciting preview of what Matthews’ upcoming album Chapovelli may sound like. The album doesn’t have a set release date, but is expected sometime this spring, and includes features from A$AP Ferg and others. Check out the first cut in full below.