It was not long ago that the world came to know of Metro Boomin through one of the most ubiquitous and hilarious forms of modern communication — the meme. After contributing to the production of Kanye West’s song “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” one of his signature ad-libs — “If Young Metro don’t trust you I’m gon’ shoot you” — quickly went viral, getting featured in all sorts of Vines and other memes.
From then on, Metro used the newfound fame as a springboard onto more ambitious projects, producing for some of hip-hop’s most sought-after names including Drake, Future, 21 Savage and Kanye West. Long viewed as a promising up-and-coming beatmaker, the relentless Metro continued Boomin and during 2017 finally established himself as one of the premier producers not only in the world of hip-hop, but across the music industry.
Based on his production on numerous hit singles alone, 2017 constituted a marvelous year for Metro Boomin, who got off to a red-hot start when Migos’ “Bad and Boujee” topped the Billboard charts at number one in January. This was quickly followed by Big Sean’s “Bounce Back” and Kodak Black’s “Tunnel Vision,” both of which peaked at number six in February and March, respectively, and Future’s “Mask Off” which peaked at number five in May. All four of these tracks gave their artists their highest charting songs to date, a testament to Metro’s popularity and quality.
The producer continued this incredible run into the second half of the year, making the beats for three more top-12 songs — “Congratulations” by Post Malone, “Bank Account” by 21 Savage and “I Get the Bag” by Gucci Mane, which peaked in July, August and November respectively. The diverse timing of the song peaks throughout 2017 demonstrates Metro Boomin’s hit-making continuity. In fact, on Nov. 25, Metro had produced 10 of Billboard’s Top 100 songs for that week, a mind-boggling statistic that truly illustrates the magnitude of his chart dominance.
But those are just his hit singles alone. In 2017, Metro also released three full-length projects under his name, collaborating with various hip-hop artists. “Perfect Timing” with NAV was released in July, peaking at 13 on the Billboard albums chart. “Without Warning” with Offset from Migos and 21 Savage dropped on Halloween, spawning the hit song “Ric Flair Drip” and peaking at number four on the charts. Finally, “Double or Nothing” with Big Sean was released in December, charting at number six, with the song “Go Legend” featuring Travis Scott as a standout on the album.
Metro’s meteoric rise can be attributed to his sleek and catchy production style. His songs generally consist of infectious bass drum patterns and trap song instrumentals, with some sort of catchy instrument layered on top. In “Bad and Boujee” it was a sinister piano cord, whereas in “Mask Off” it was the pervasive flute tune.
As a result, his songs generally give off an ominous, murky vibe that when paired with his generally fast tempos, generate feelings of hype and excitement in listeners. These types of songs are perfectly representative of modern hip-hop, which tends to focus more on song production and atmosphere over lyrical content, vaulting Metro as perhaps hip-hop’s new archetype.
The beatmaker’s ability to skillfully capture the essence of modern hip-hop, paired with the fact that hip-hop became music’s most popular genre in 2017, provides a reasonable explanation to the explosion of Metro’s popularity last year. His ubiquitous presence on music charts and at parties alike last year — while impressive — barely begins to illustrate the absurd amount of work the young producer has put in. But don’t expect him to just stop there — as his favorite ad-lib goes, Metro Boomin wants some more.