Hip-hop is like sort of like fighting or eating lemons - it's more fun to watch kids do it. At the tender age of nine, MattyB has already established himself as a viral juggernaut with over 50+ music videos, including this amazing cover of "Ice Ice Baby," where he shares the green screen with none other than Vanilla Ice himself:
By mixing fresh talent and tireless drive, this wholesome 'lil rapper has managed to slingshot himself out of the usual drek you see on YouTube. Despite a hectic school schedule, little league practice, and chores, I managed to catch up with Matty to find out more about his Vanilla Ice collab, his interpretation of "swag," and what he plans to do when his voice changes…
NOISEY: Yo MattyB! How's it going?
MattyB: Hi! I'm doing very well and glad it's the weekend!
So who is MattyB?
I'm MattyB. I'm nine years old and from Atlanta, GA
Nine years old and you've already popped off as one of the most popular kid rappers in the game? When did this all start?
I got started in rapping when my big cousin Mars (who's also a rapper) moved in with us after his mom died. When he started making YouTube videos, I kept asking him to help me make one until he did. It got over 500-thousand in views in the first 2 days. I've been doing it ever since.
So your videos are what we generally refer to as viral phenomenons! Do you have any advice for other kids trying to make it?
You gotta keep it simple and share your music with world. You have to work hard and put out good music.
You started off doing a lot of covers of rap songs by like Eminem and Lil Wayne. I guess after a while you want to write your own material - take us through the songwriting process of "That's The Way."
This track and hook was written by Kane and Kevin Churko - they sent it to me and my cousin and dad. When we heard it we all loved it. We put our spin on it by writing the lyrics which my cousins helps pull ideas from me and he helps make them rhyme with me. My cousin is a talented writer.
You recently collaborated with Mr. Rob Van Winkle himself, Vanilla Ice. How the heck did that happen?
Well, "Ice Ice Baby" was the first rap song that went pop - it's a classic and I really wanted to record that. We reached out to Rob and he was open to having a young kid rapper do the song. He even agreed to record the track and video with us. He was very nice to me and he also let us change a few of the words to make it ok for kids.
I've sometimes wondered… What's he like?
He was really fun and crazy and would try to teach me some cool dance moves. He also had a really cool flow and he can dance with SWAG.
Awesome! Did seeing all his tattoos make you think about getting inked too one day?
No! I am not into needles getting stuck in my skin. Shots at the doctor are bad enough.
Fair enough. Wait, you just said Vanilla Ice dances with swag. What is "swag" to you?
Swag is being laid back and cool and not letting the haters or anyone get to you or stop you
Okay 'cause Lil Niqo recently claimed that "swag is dead." What do you say to that?
"I'm still on a climb! Haters gonna hate cause they still feel behind and now your feeling my rhyme." Haha, that's a line from my "What's My Name" remix. Hashtag superswag!
What are you going to do when puberty hits your vocal chords?
Keep on rapping and trust God will make my voice what He wants it to be.
Got an all-time favorite rap verse?
I don't really have a favorite but I do like the first verse of Ice Ice Baby. I also just heard Biggie's first verse to "Juicy" and I was like "Wow, this is a flow."
Any plans to tour or put out a record?
I hope to record an album in the summer. I'd love to tour to some US cities for a month or two on summer vacation. No real plans to do a mixtape. I'll stick to the music in the next 6 months, but I'd like to act someday.
Want more kid rappers? Check out our interview with Lil Niqo.