On paper, Valee and Matt Ox shouldn’t work. One half of the duo has spent a year building and deconstructing flows like a carpenter, the other is a prepubescent rapper trying to turn a meme-able moment into a sustainable career. In the case of “Awesome,” though, the Chicago and Philly rapper concoct 2018’s version of “Otis.” Or, at the very least, “That’s My Bitch.”
The unsung hero of “Awesome” is longtime Valee producer CHASETHEMONEY’s skeleton-rattling beat. Minimal, epic and satisfyingly slow, the instrumental leaves room for both rappers waltz over the beat, which Valee in particular expertly exploits.
Valee spent so much time this year influencing other rappers’ styles without being showy that it’s nice to hear him on a song so direct. The brilliance of the G.O.O.D. Music signee is his knack for subtlety. His punchlines are less Seinfeld, more Mitch Hedberg. The humor of a line like, “Brand new bitch and she calling me dad, my credit score ain’t the only thing bad,” doesn’t come from its wordplay, but how nonchalant Valee sounds when he throws it out there. By the time you’ve registered what the Chicago rapper has said, the song is over.
The real surprise here is that Matt Ox — a 13-year-old rapper best known for his viral hit “Overwhelming” — more than keeps up with Valee. His verse jumps between slurred nonsense and whispered jabs. At one point, Ox starts listing clothes, “Off-White yellow tape it, Gucci laces, Louis V cases” and ends with a triumphant
“Don’t care if I break it, The cop can’t trace this!” It’s a line that makes little sense, and doesn’t need to. Chemistry doesn’t need to be explained.