14-year-old Philadelphia rapper, Matt Ox, has proven to have style and lyricism well beyond his years with the release of his self-titled debut album, OX. This vibrant character has had no difficulty gaining exceptional popularity on social media platforms; his image (and strikingly young age, of course) has granted him generous publicity, but the release of his debut album, OX, and his recent signing to well-respected Motown Records has finally solidified his legitimacy.
Since his early career, Matt has surrounded himself with the accomplished and unconventional members of WORKING ON DYING. These relationships have certainly catalyzed his growth and given him plenty of leeway to collaborate with high-caliber artists such as CHXPO, Lil Yachty, and XXXTENTACION, to name a few.
The excellence of this album begins with full WORKING ON DYING production. The adept Philly engineers, F1lthy, Loosie Man, Forza, and OogieMane, have created a paradoxically compatible amalgamation of futuristic samples, melodic orchestration, and heavy hitting 808s. This intoxicating combination of instrumentals allows Matt to exercise his full potential; and, just so you know, Ox doesn’t swear a single time on this project.
The tracklist is nothing short of authentic. The second song on the album, Jetlag, features one of the most influential and talented artists of this era, Chief Keef. To coordinate with Sosa, Ox utilizes peculiar enunciation, a tactic that simulates the classic Chief Keef sound; this modification develops an immaculate transition as his verse ends and Keef takes the wheel. Any well-versed listener understands the magnitude of this accomplishment; but Ox, even in the presence of such greatness, has much to offer on this track.
There is a common theme of newly acquired success that Matt nearly revisits on every track. On Jetlag, Matt expresses that he “ain’t never had no Santa Clause,” and on the next track, Ride Around, he proudly discloses that he is paying his mother’s rent. At just fourteen, Ox’s career is already a success story, but the album still continues to impress.
On subsequent tracks—Ya Dig, Blue Racks, and Drip—Ox confirms his lyrical abilities. The gripping production of these songs allows for experimentation. With vibrant energy, Ox is constantly changing his flow and sound, a dynamic that creates versatility and keeps listeners on their toes. Although he plays around with different accents, rhyme patterns, and levels of melody, there is an impressive degree of coherence in every track.
Pull Up, the fifth track on the album, is undoubtedly the most melodic track. The Key! feature is another example of Ox’s rare and surprising compatibility. Matt takes a break from spitting to bless listeners with a soothing melody about his elaborate drip; he is one of the few who can evoke emotion while boasting about his Margielas. To say the least, the beat is complex and elegant; the hook is one you can’t get out of your head; you’re going to have to listen for yourself.
The penultimate song, Zero Degrees, was released alongside a bizarre and intense music video which you can watch here. On this track, Matt emanates a profusion of swagger. The unparalleled energy of this song pairs well with the potent visuals; to say the least, the video will not disappoint.
This track is a perfect transition to the punctuation mark of the album, a track titled I Like. On this song, Matt shows no signs of easing up on his energy. He comments on the general theme of the album, the newly acquired success and its blissful implications, one that you easily get a sense of by listening through the 11-track EP. In referencing his own potential, he seamlessly notes, “You know I’m on my way because the money on the way.”
Matt Ox has already gained unprecedented status in the industry despite his youth, and the release of this album speaks to his boundless capability. If he continues to work with such talented individuals, and if he maintains the level of panache he set on this album, there is a bright future for young Matt Ox.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PIECE, PLEASE GO AND CHECK OUT OUR REVIEW OF EARL SWEATSHIRT’S NEW COMEBACK SINGLE