zin

In Houston hip-hop lore, there are few players more underrated than Anthony Mills or Wali Aqueel or as he was simply known to the community: Zin. The rapper, activist, host and radio pioneer helped spearhead underground hip-hop shows at local independent station KPFT as the host of Damage Control with Matt Sonzala and his own solo show, SOS (Sounds of Soul) that aired on Wednesdays and his own AllRealRadio show that aired on Wednesday nights. Emanating right from his Third Ward home, Zin spoke to the masses — and the masses received every word and gave him feedback every time.

Anthony “Zin” Mills died on Sunday in an automobile accident in Denver, Colorado. He was 42. Mills was in Denver visiting family in Colorado when an automobile he was in was struck by another vehicle. Mills along with fellow passenger, Kokayi Danladi died. Five people in total were injured.

A candlelight vigil was held outside of his Houston studio Monday night with hundreds of close personal friends and fans holding candles aloft in his memory. Artists who had some of their first interviews or interactions with Zin during his numerous hosting stints of rap shows all over the city paid their respects, offering condolences on social media.

“Most artists don’t get that encouragement/support, much less the consistency you brought to every person fortunate enough to cross paths with you,” hasHBrown wrote on Facebook. “You were selfless and always thought of others first. Rare.”

Waxaholics DJ Big Reeks echoed Hash’s sentiments, “You have been the greatest inspiration to not only me but many around you,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will always love you brother.”

zin-candlelight-vigil

The news hit harder to the staff here at Day & A Dream. For many, including Kels & especially T. Piper, the loss is akin to losing your big brother. One of your biggest supporters & fans who constantly told you to take your idea, your gift and make it bigger. For me, its moving back to SXSW 2014 and some of the staff holed up in an apartment in Austin, eating Krispy Kreme donuts and shooting the shit. Me, Piper & Zin all talked a lot that weekend. We marauded for artist bags, joked about the scene in good fashion and ultimately how Zin was going to transform AllRealRadio into this massive entity in the Houston area that captured not just his essence and love for music but also capturing a glimpse of the Houston rap scene that largely goes ignored.

I’ll remember him being on SOS every Wednesday with Brother Jesse giving the word as it was one of the first shows I tuned into religiously on KPFT once I realized that I couldn’t stay awake at times to catch Damage Control or The Groove with Bobby Phats. Multiple families across the country are hurt with the loss of Zin. He’s our Ancestor now, a figure who had given so much joy and encouragement on this plane that the Angels needed someone to talk for them too.

Mills is survived by his wife and two daughters, Senait, 6, and Journey, 14 amongst numerous friends and family members. An accomplished performer, Zin released numerous CDs as a spoken-word artist & rapper, collaborating with many such as Public Enemy, X-Clan, Dead Prez, HBO Def Poet, Sunni Patterson, Black Eyed Peas, Malikah Hameen & more. He was the Chairman of the NOW Committee, an organization comprised of musicians and artists who clean and beautify the neighborhoods of Houston communities. He also managed a Hurricane Katrina Disaster relief project through S.O.S Radio which raised funds and organized multiple humanitarian efforts to support the citizens of New Orleans affected by Katrina. A GoFundMe page has been created to support his family. He will be deeply missed.

“A man known by many names and aliases is still a man. He’s still of this Earth, his word will forever be his and his actions will forever belong to him. How he impacts the world is the legacy he will leave and no matter the name he goes by, his charity and selflessness will live on.”

PHOTO CREDIT: T. Piper

7 Responses

  1. VL Jackson

    Thank you for this obituary. Brother Zin will forever live on with and in the thousands and thousands of people he touched throughout his lifetime here on earth.

    Reply
  2. Ernest McMillan

    What a beautiful brother. His loving kindness was authentic,spontaneous,always present. He shall be forever honored and remembered by many. May we extend love and support to his wife and daughters

    Reply
  3. Nicole Tennerd

    Zin was my brother he will sorely and deeply be missed. He had a very warm and a very beautiful contagious spirit. My prayers and my deepest sympathy goes to his family. God Bless.

    Reply
  4. Mama Elaine Tennerd

    Zin you were like a son to me. Now you have gone to your Heavenly Father. May you rest in peace with Him. May God Bless Your Family.

    Reply
  5. ErrinTaylor

    I Know My Brotha Zin We Both From Denver Colorado Born In H Town I Just Found Out My Brotha Zin Passed Away It A Sad Day For Me For Everybody He Alwayz Chillin At The Reggae Bodega Dam I Going To Miss My Brotha Zin Wuz Up T Pipper My Brotha My Heart Goes Out To His Family Much Love

    Reply

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