‘P.E. Diddy’ goes viral

Rap battle between Lenard Matthews and student turns teacher into internet sensation

Back to Article
Back to Article

‘P.E. Diddy’ goes viral

Vaidya Keeran, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

San Ramon recently made the Bay Area proud. How so? We made the news.

OK, so maybe nothing big really happened. But when you live in San Ramon, making the news is something worth telling future grandchildren.

For years, students have all seen viral videos starring ordinary people engaging in crazy incidents that qualify as entertainment. But Cal High was finally part of a viral hit.

Cal was the battleground of a fight on April 24 so spectacular that it got onto the video-sharing site World Star Hip Hop. The video instantly became popular, scoring over 700,000 views on World Star.

It was none other than a good, old fashioned rap battle, starring P.E. teacher Lenard Matthews and the writer of this article.

The battle was also uploaded to video sharing site YouTube.

The video became popular enough for news sites such as 997now, nypost, brobible, and even the nationwide show “RightThisMinute,” where Matthews got interviewed, to report on it.

The video even began to trend on Twitter, where students came up with the hashtag “GetLenardOnEllen,” in order to persuade TV host Ellen DeGeneres to get Matthews on “The Ellen Show.”

It’s worth mentioning that an actual rapper, Lil Wayne, shared the battle on his Facebook page.

Senior Jeff Ash stated he is not surprised on the battle’s Internet virality.

“A rap battle isn’t something you see everyday, so when there is one, it creates excitement,” said Ash. “If you add in a teacher versus a student, it’s going to be the talk of the whole school.”

Matthews, now forever known as “P.E. Diddy,” wasn’t expecting to rap battle a student at school that day.

“I was getting food from the cafeteria, and I came to the quad because I thought there was a fight,” said Matthews. “When I got into the crowd, I realized it was a good old-school rap battle, and it brought me back.”

When talking about old-school rap, Matthews was vocal on the matter.

“We would rap in order to impress the audience with our flow and lyrics,” Matthews said. “The point was to combine words people wouldn’t expect to go together, but make them work.

“Through rap, we had a voice. It was our chance to let the world know what we were thinking.”

Sophomore Arsalan Siddqi is happy for Matthews’ popularity, as a result of the battle.

“Mr. Matthews’ popularity is well deserved, since he doesn’t get much credit,” Siddqi said. “He deserves the fame, and gets appreciation from it.”

The rap battles all started when my group of friends gathered in the quad at lunch to casually rap our own freestyles.

My friend, senior Neil Gupta often instigates the battles, pitting us to rap against each other.

“We often like to host our own battles amongst us, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Gupta.

But on that day, we might’ve been a bit too loud with the “OHHHH’s!” as we soon attracted a large  number of students to the middle of the quad.

Before I knew it, I was rapping in front of not just my friends, but a whole bunch of students I didn’t know.

The crowd got so large that Matthews became a part of it, observing the fiery battles.

Students started noticing his presence, and collectively agreed he should throw down some bars against me. The moment when Matthews put down his belongings and entered the fray, I was speechless. Rapping against a teacher? In front of a good chunk of the school?

Rapping against a student is one thing, but rapping against a teacher is a whole new beast. I said the first things that came into my mind:

“When you see me rapping, you best better yield. I suggest going back to girls’ track and field.”

I knew I did something right, given all the “OHHHH’s!” afterward. This was something only SupaHotFire of the Rap Battle Parody could pull off.

But then closet rapper Matthews asked the crowd “You guys mind if I go old school?”

Matthews busted out an old school flow, pumped the crowd with claps, and gave kids a reason to keep recording the battle on their phones.

The P.E. teacher closed off his flow with the line “… I’m rough, I’m tough, and I’m about to bust.”

After ending his verse by touching my glasses, the “OHHHH’s!” were said, and the rest is history.

Junior Shahin Maali, noting Matthews’ old-school style, described the rap battle as the “differences in the decades.”

“The hype was real,” said senior Yash Bains, who was in the crowd.

As a lesson for all of us, our teachers, who grew up in a different generation, may surprise us in some of the most unexpected ways.

Now that we know Matthews leads a secret life of being a rapper, what other secrets are Cal teachers hiding? Are they writing down grades, or are they writing down bars?

In the meantime, don’t mess with Matthews, as he might just spit a verse at you in front of the school that goes viral.

He’s ready to bust.