Matthew Sylvester is a rapper, songwriter, and producer from Cape Town, South Africa. Amidst rampant poverty and gang violence in his youth, music would provide Sylvester solace as well as the necessary creative drive. Such passion was born from observing his dad, who DJed using a primarily old school catalog for his rotation. As Sylvester began his musical pursuit as early as 12, he would see a sizable fan base by high school, and develop his presence further through radio and TV performances. Having relocated to the United States last year, he has continued expanding his talents and reputation under the name M.A.T.T. M.A.T.T’s fourth and latest release, the Majestic EP, dropped on April 17th.
Opening on “Thinkin’ Bout You,” the EP initializes a foundation of bliss and strain, nuances of which trickle in both the beat and thematic direction. As the melody sways in and out of a somber guitar and dreamy synth progression, I empathized with how Sylvester expressed that sense of longing – the excitement of waiting for the contact of a certain love interest, and the subsequent anxiety that sets in when that contact still isn’t established for a prolonged period. From the establishment of those aspects comes the tracks to follow, “Tonight” and “How Many,” wherein the continued rosy, dreamlike initial support from guest vocalist Nicholle shifts into a quirky, somewhat haunting melodic sequence. At the same time, the lyrical perspective shifts from one of intimate observation to an internal assessment of his uncertainty. While the vocal delivery comes across as a bit shaky, it does fit in with the notion of the song’s context – getting reconnected with values and knowing one’s worth int the face of frequent judgment. By the final track, “Hermosa,” even with the familiar return to the dreamlike aesthetics of the first track, it does feel rather refreshing in its more straightforward angle of appreciating beauty (not to mention its direct allusion to the cover art). After “Tonight,” the EP’s second single, gains enough traction, this could very well be a worthy follow-up in extending its reach.
Overall, M.A.T.T’s Majestic EP is a decent expansion of his talents as both a songwriter and producer. His vocal tonality works well alongside the smoothness of the instrumentation, while the focus on poignant relationship anecdotes, while brief, is carefully and thoughtfully maintained. Considering the nature and depth of his background, I look forward to not only experiencing greater instrumental creativity but a narrative comprising deeper, more personal anecdotes.