If Young Metro Don’t Trust You, It’s Time To Be Concerned

As I was cruising through my current driving playlist on my way to lab last week, a sudden thought occurred to me. Although there were different artists queued on a rap-dominated lineup, something striking stood out.

I was hearing trap beats that ranged from gorgeous synths straight out of movie soundtracks to bass-heavy zingers dripping with menace. All produced by the one and only, 22-year-old Atlanta-based phenom Metro Boomin.

It’s not like the man came out of nowhere. He’s been producing on mixtapes for artists like Big Sean, French Montana, Migos and DJ Esco since 2010. But looking at how consistently his work has been splattered across Top 100 Charts over the past couple years, it’s time to state the obvious. Metro Boomin is taking over the game. And for me, it’s not close.

It’s not close because Metro consistently finds ways to effortlessly echo the lyrics around him. And because he chooses to work with some folk whose lyrics you wouldn’t exactly put in the category of “inspiring the youth to great heights,” that feat is even more commendable.

That includes Gucci Mane when he’s talking about spraying Febreeze on his cash because it smells like cocaine. That includes Kanye when he’s feeling like an asshole after getting bleach on his t-shirt. And that includes Future when he’s whining about how many gorgeous women are giving him oral sex as he gets over his ex.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love lyrical artists like Kendrick, Ab-Soul and Mos Def. But lyrics themselves are never the reason why I’m listening to hip-hop. The language could be a fusion of Shakespeare, Johnnie Cochran and 2Pac, but if there’s no production to back it up, why am I listening to it? You should’ve written a book.

Taking a look at how his work has evolved even since he came to the spotlight on Future’s second studio album Honest, you can only help but wonder how far he can go. Back when Future was more of a melodic crooner, he needed something lighter with a piano-laced backdrop. Leading single ‘I Won’ succeeds because Metro’s production complements both Kanye’s bravado and Future’s catchy hook.

Just months later, the earth-stomping mixtape Monster dropped, Metro again gave the artist exactly what was needed. ‘Radical’ sets the perhaps-a-little-too-honest Future loose like a drug-crazed hound, but title track ‘Monster’ slows down to a darker vibe.

Moving up further mainstream, Drake and Future’s collaborative What A Time To Be Alive featured Metro tracks you probably loved then started to hate because of how overplayed ‘Jumpman’ was at every gathering of ten or more college students. The range here is impeccable, with something a little clangier in ‘Live From The Gutter’ to faster-paced frantic bass on ‘Digital Dash.’

So far, though, Young Metro’s magnus opus has been an album where he damn near took over the whole show, Future’s DS2. An album featuring codeine-laced tales of overcoming demons, Metro does something unprecedented. He paints life living in a trap house with a brush usually reserved for ‘higher’ culture.

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With track after track breathing fire, DS2 is without a doubt Metro Boomin’s magnus opus so far in his career.

‘Rotation’ and ‘Blow A Bag’ are examples of Metro’s work that somehow sound more layered the more you listen. The little nuances in ‘Slave Master’ are scintillating at the end of the track when Future is paying tribute to the deceased A$AP Yams. ‘I Serve The Bass’ is as brash as ‘Blood On The Money’ is contemplative.

Metro seems to be caught in a whirlwind of high-quality work at the moment, recently receiving the ultimate industry-nod in being asked to contribute on Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo. Before that, you have Young Thug’s ‘Hercules,’ where quintessential Metro carries the whole team on his back.

I’m excited for what lies ahead for Metro Boomin.

Because he has such a loud voice in the hip-hop industry without even spitting a line.

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