OC's hip-hop community was dealt a tragedy last week when Matt Hughes (known locally as rapper “Pocccets” a.k.a. “Vape Hollywood”) was killed in a car crash on the eastbound 91 Fwy on the early morning of Sunday, May 18. He was 29 years-old. The crash happened just west of Weir Canyon Rd. near a weigh station in the Anaheim Hills area as he was making his way to his current home Corona around 3:30 a.m.
The day he died, he and his group Vape Starz were to be one of the openers at the Observatory for L.A. rapper Ty $ Sign. He leaves behind a wife and 2 year-old son. As family and friends try to make sense out of what happened, Hughes' Facebook timeline is flooded with grief from those who knew him personally or through his music.
The accident happened after Hughes' car stopped in the middle of lanes in a black Volkswagen sedan when he was rear-ended by a 2011 Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 45-year-old man traveling at about 65 mph, the CHP said in a release. The pick up driver was uninjured, and was released without being cited or arrested. Hughes was pronounced dead at the scene.
Though he was living in Corona at the time, Hughes was bred in OC, and had family and friends here.
When he wasn't rapping, Hughes was often traveling as a sales rep for vaporizer retailer GotVape, which was based in Lake Forest and Corona.
“He definitely passed away while on his grind,” says says Tiny Kurupt, born Charles Welch, who was a group member with Hughes and fellow rapper Boss Macc in Vape Starz. Welch even cut Hughes' hair one last time for the public viewing of his body today in Santa Ana. “He was always trying to make his next move professionally…he was definitely on his way to being somebody.” Prior to his untimely death, Hughes and his group performed as openers for artists like Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg and Lil Jon. Below is a video with Hughes (sporting a full beard and carrying a vape bag) with Vape Starz ,performing their single “Yung and Reckless” at Observatory last year as openers for Gucci Mane.
Currently, there's a memorial fund set up for Hughes' family—his wife Wendee Gustin and son Cashmeere James Hughes where you can donate.
There will be a public viewing for Hughes today at Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary, 1702 Fairhaven Ave Santa Ana from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The funeral will be on tomorrow at the same location with a 12 p.m. burial following a memorial service.
Rest in Peace, Pocccets.
Nate Jackson is the gatekeeper to your dreams of local dive bar stardom. If he writes about you, expect your band to be offered at least one more drink ticket than the rest of the bands on the bill. Get his attention with some groovy tunes and he might just do it. Then, boy will you feel special.