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Young Rapper, Friend Laid to Rest

Leonard Raynod Smith-Matthews, 21, of Edmonston was fatally stabbed on June 30 at Hyattsville's University Town Center. His funeral was Friday morning.

Not much has been said publicly about the quiet, young rapper from Edmonston, but if his funeral Friday morning was any indication, Leonard Raynod Smith-Matthews was a catalyst among those who knew and loved him.

A few hundred people came out to First Baptist Church of North Brentwood to remember the

“The one thing that I found was that he was a young man like any young man who was really just trying to find himself,” said the Rev. Quintin D. Borders of North Brentwood AME Zion Church, where Smith-Matthews attended church. “He never stopped trying and finding a way to touch somebody. He would want each of us here today to sing a new song.”

Several times during the service, mourners stood to their feet and clapped, singing the songs that Smith-Matthews grew up hearing in church — songs of encouragement and hope.

A cousin sang the traditional hymn, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” and choral hallelujahs went up from those in the audience as bold prayers were offered from the pulpit.

Rev. Evalina Huggins was Smith-Matthews’ pastor during the rapper’s teenage years. She recalled the youngster who used to fall asleep during her sermons and tried to escape church services.

“While we are celebrating his life, the man was not a saint,” she said, and laughter rang to the rafters. “I can hear Leonard … up there spitting [rapping] with the angels.”

Smith-Matthews is survived by his parents Cortenia K. Smith and Orin Matthews, brothers Gary (Sequoia) Queen and Joseph Smith-Matthews, and sister Camri Smith-Matthews.

Two of his friends read verse they wrote for him. A minister read notes of sympathy that had been sent to Smith-Matthews’ family.

Leonard Raynod Smith-Matthews' was buried at Fort Lincoln Cemetery.

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