Have you checked out Billboard’s Social 50 chart yet this week? Probably not, because that’s not the sort of thing that normal people who don’t write for music blogs for a living do, but if you had, you’d notice a new name among the chart’s listing of the most Internetted-about names—Matty B. Matthew checks in at #11 on the list this week, rating higher this week than Nicki Minaj, LMFAO, even Skrillex.
Who is this mystery phenom, you may be wondering? Well, if you’d been keeping up with your Disney and Nickelodeon, you probably wouldn’t have to ask, since Matty’s face and voice have been all over the kid channels in ads for Zui.com, kid-focused website of games and entertainment and—most pertinently for Matty—young viral stars. The nine-year-old Matty grown to virality with his own “MattyBRaps” YouTube channel, over which he covers pop artists ranging from Adele to Pitbull to (of course) Justin Bieber, racking up over 100 million views in the process. Now, he’s the face of Zui, with original song “That’s the Way” soundtracking the site ad.
Beyond the backstory, Matty’s your typical post-Bieber pre-pubescent, with more swagger than most people three times his age have had even at their most Don Johnson of moments. Unlike The Bieb, however, Matty appears to have skipped right past the whole singing, pop/R&B part of his career, and gone straight to the rapping—with impressive flow for a nine-year-old. (Though really, flow of any kind from someone barely old enough to talk in coherent complete sentences is pretty impressive.) It’s a rather catchy, sunny little number as well, though it works a little better if you just listen without watching the video—apparently it’s a lot easier to be a nine-year-old sounding like a grown-up than it is to be a nine-year old looking like a grown-up.
Nevertheless, young Matty’s is a star worth keeping an eye on. It may have been a while since we had a pop star in the single-digits—even Sammie was 12 when “I Like It” came out—but Matty’s already been doing this for years. (The earliest videos on his channel read “7 Year Old Raps ____,” and that’s just the stuff on YouTube.) With the power of Zui and (sorta) Disney behind him, the sky’s the limit.