Nobody likes doing leg day. It’s difficult and physically taxing, but necessary—sort of like a family reunion. The other day while preparing for a dreaded leg workout that would surely lead to me hobbling like an anally-raped victim the following morning, I perused my Spotify library to find inspiration. My search came up empty. Forced to explore outside my curated list, I stumbled across a saving grace: Metro Boomin’s Spotify Playlist. Suck it, leg day.
This 58-song—almost four-hour—playlist comprises Young Metro’s biggest production credits, spanning a wide spectrum of today’s brightest stars. After “Thought It Was a Drought” powered me through my first squat set, I examined the song collection in further detail, and gathered these findings: Metro and 21 Savage are the trap version of The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff; if Young Metro doesn’t trust you, Future will shoot you; the Atlanta producer’s beats are far more eclectic than I thought. As much as I love his production, I unfairly pinned Metro as an exclusive trap producer.
Expected artists populate this collection, like: 21 Savage, Future, Young Thug, Gucci Mane—you know, the trappers. However, I was surprised to see the likes of Drake, Kanye, The Weeknd and Pusha T. Not necessarily shocked about their presence—What a Time to be Alive was essentially just as much Metro’s project as it was Drake’s and Future’s—since I’ve heard these artists entertain trap’s sound previously; more so because of the songs themselves. Drake’s “Child’s Play” is an upbeat dynamically-paced production, highlighted by chimes and sporadic kick-drums. Similarly, the initially lethargic, ominous piano keys structuring Kanye’s “FML” abruptly, yet fittingly, introduce compact snares that incite Yeezy’s faster flow. The Weeknd’s “Six Feet Under” off Starboy certainly retains a trap identity, but it’s orbiting pop accents deprive the beat of a conventional trap aesthetic. Lastly, I was elated to find out that Metro produced King Push’s “Intro” off Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude—easily one of my favorite 2015 beats. Its tangible energy explodes with every pounding boom, imparting a similar skin-tingling sensation as Push’s iconic “YUGH”. I didn’t know cocaine could be consumed through ear canals.
While these four songs lack direct trap affiliations, on second listen (or 47th), it’s clear that Metro’s fingerprints cover them: “Child’s Play” employs Metro’s staple of converging divergent sounds to create a cohesive body; “FML” showcases him unafraid of experimenting with untraditional sounds while inter-splicing conventional trap instruments; “Six Feet Under” demonstrates Young Metro introducing his trap soul into a pop arena, displaying trap’s palatability; “Intro” possesses the Freebandz’ producer’s staple high-energy presence.
Metro’s eclectic talent lends itself to varied artistries while still maintaining his trap core. Today’s rap fan places a heavy emphasis on production, planting Metro at music’s epicenter, and skyrocketing his market value. At only 23-years-old, the Missouri native’s positively trending popularity allows him to mold today’s music in his image. Which begs the following question: Is Young Metro currently the game’s hottest producer?
The 2010s have witnessed an engorged pool of producers. Industry mainstays, like Kanye, Zaytoven, No I.D., Just Blaze, Mike Will Made-It, Boi-1da, etc, still have a strong presence, producing some of today’s hottest hits. But we’ve also witnessed a rise in new beat makers, like: Southside, Travis Scott, DJ Mustard, Cardo, Lex Luger, and of course, Metro Boomin. These clashing eras overpopulate the talent pool, inflating the producer supply and increasing competition—tough for an emerging beat maker; ideal for rappers and singers. Assessing Billboard’s top-three charting rap albums provides insight into the most attractive producers.
At number one, we have the heavily anticipated Migos album, Culture. From this track listing, three of the producers I listed are featured: Zaytoven, Cardo, and Metro. Zaytoven produced the most songs at two, but Metro still had the biggest impact on this album since he produced their viral hit, “Bad and Boujee,” amassing more total plays thanks Zaytoven and Cardo’s tracks combined. (“Bad and Boujee” has over 153-million Spotify plays, compared to 14-million plays form the combined three Zay/Cardo tracks.) Point Metro. Next up is Post Malone’s debut album, Stoney. Only two artists from my list made the cut: DJ Mustard and, yup, that’s right, Metro. Mustard on the beat created the album’s second track “Big Lie,” which has over 10-million plays to date. Young Metro’s “Congratulations” on the other hand? 37-million, placing in Stoney’s top-five played tracks. Point Metro. I’m just going to skip over the third-highest charting Billboard rap album, The Hamilton Mixtape, because it features some of yesterday’s brightest producers, like The Roots and !llmind—both undoubted legends, but aren’t competing for the top instrumentalist spot. Coming in at fourth is Drake’s summertime-release, Views. Metro Boomin unfortunately can’t claim the most impactful spot here, falling behind Boi-1da. Given Drake and Boi-1da’s strong preexisting relationship, coupled with Metro’s admirable 90+ million played “Childs Play,” this isn’t a complete loss for him—it’s a strong consolation. If this evidence doesn’t solidify Metro’s number-one spot, let’s compare his certifications for singles-produced against the other rising beat makers.
Travis Scott has one RIAA platinum track for Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money.” DJ Mustard impressively has a collection of RIAA distinctions: 31-platinum tracks and six-gold ones. Cardo doesn’t have any yet. Lex Luger claims three RIAA gold hits. Metro Boomin rounds out the group with 12 RIAA platinum joints, and five gold ones. At first look, it’s easy to say that Mustard edges Young Metro, but this argument is about today’s hottest producer. Of his 37 total RIAA certifications, only five occurred in 2016. Young Metro on the other hand? Out of his 17 total RIAA certifications, seven happened last year. 41% of his RIAA songs are 2016 hits, compared to DJ Mustard’s 13.5%. A large portion of talent evaluation stems from forecasting growth based on current information. With this information, I think it’s safe to say that Young Metro is today’s hottest producer with the brightest future.
At only 23-years-old, Metro is sitting atop Hip Hop’s production throne. With one foot on the game’s neck, one hand on the drum machine, and the other hand stiff-arming competition, Metro is not to be trifled with. With only seven-years of professional experience, he’s already collecting acclaim, honorable distinctions, and the attention from every major industry player. Trap, pop, soulful rap, traditional Hip Hop—the genre may differ, but the product will be equally striking. Metro boomin’ wants some more, and so do we.