We Have So Many Questions About 11-Year-Old Rapping Sensation Matty B

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Today, Vox reassured us that Kidz Bop — the all-child band that covers pop songs and is, believe it or not, still a thing — has not recorded a version of Chris Brown's song "Loyal." This would not be appropriate because Kidz Bop boasts singing "kid-friendly," versions of pop songs, and even a modified version of "Loyal," which boasts charming lyrics like "Why give a bitch your heart when she'd rather have a purse? Why give a bitch an inch when she'd rather have nine?" would still be a misogynistic song originally recorded by a man who allegedly violently assaulted his girlfriend. 

Apparently, the confusion was caused by a Vine featuring a number of Kidz Bop-y kids singing portions of the song, posted last week: 

The video sent some on Twitter into an anti-Kidz Bop fury: 

Georgia-based Matty B has posted dozens of videos of pop song covers to YouTube, featuring pre-teen suburban interpretations of hit songs. Here is singing OutKast's "Ms. Jackson." It's uncomfortable: 

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Here he is singing Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," (to be fair, many of the saltier lines have been replied with those more appropriate for children. The line "I know you want it," is replaced by "I know you want to," and is followed by "join a kid's world." Aw-ish.)

He also has a YouTube channel for his (15!) original songs.  Most of these videos have been viewed millions of times. He also posts vlogs in the fashion of a reality TV show called "MattyB's World," featuring him and his presumably incredibly indulgent friends and family. Matty B's Facebook page -- MattyBRaps -- has 5.5 million Likes, and his Twitter account has 545,000 followers. 

The pre-teen rapper is also going on a multi-state tour this summer, according to his website. In some locations, tickets run for upwards of $100.

Now, we don't presume to understand the Internet world of teenagers, and Matty B has garnered attention beyond that mysterious place. According to his very long bio, he was featured in Billboard's Top 21 Under 21 list in 2013, and has performed on The Today Show and other things geared towards adults. But we still have a lot of questions about Matty B, like, who shoots his very professional videos? Isn't this whole endeavor prohibitively expensive? Does he intentionally look like young Justin Bieber? Do all little kids just kind of look like Justin Bieber? Is Justin Bieber now in an older generation of  pop stars who got their big break on YouTube? How can this kid be so savvy? What's it like to be Matty B's teacher? Who are those other kids in his videos? Why does he have so many friends who can sing? Why don't they think this is weird? Will those of us who are child-less adults only find out about the wonders of the Internet by accident? I guess so. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.