Meet Metro Boomin’, The Producer Behind Future’s “Karate Chop”
Last month, Future announced that “Karate Chop” would serve as the lead single to his highly anticipated sophomore LP. After originally appearing on DJ Spinz and DJ Pretty Boy Tank’s We Are The Radio Vol 6 mixtape last year, the brick-dicing anthem soon took on a life of it’s own and lands on Future Hendrix, much like how the larger than life energy of “Same Damn Time” carried the record from Streetz Calling to Pluto. The song’s producer, 19-year-old Metro Boomin, was as surprised as anyone when he found out last month that he’d be getting his first major label album placement. We caught up with the Atlanta-by-way-of–St. Louis producer, who’s currently a freshman at Morehouse University. Here’s what he had to say about balancing work and school, working with Future and learning to love “Karate Chop.” —Neil Martinez-Belkin (@Neil_MB)
First off, how are you liking your Freshman year of college?
It's cool. I'm studying business management, concentrating on the entertainment industry. Of course, I'm not feeling the work and stuff, but it is what it is. It's not too hard. I really don't do the party thing like that. There's parties all week, every week down here, and I go to virtually none of them. I just pretty much go to class, do my work, and go to my dorm and make beats. Or I pull up to a session. That's pretty much my day-to-day. I'm actually taking this semester off because of the whole "Karate Chop" record. I feel like I need to capitalize that. But I'm going back in the fall because it's something I really want to achieve. I didn't know how to feel about the whole taking a semester off thing, but I know it's what I needed to do because people are trying to fly me places for amounts of time. And with school and the attendance thing...it just wouldn't work out.
That's understandable. The past few months you've worked a lot with Future, Gucci Mane and Young Scooter. Is that a connection you made once you moved down to Atlanta for school?
Kind of. I met Gucci during the Summer. One of the first [guys] to get on one of my tracks was OJ Da Juiceman. That's how a lot of people came to know me, as the kid that came in with OJ. His fans are a lot of my supporters. So I've been making Atlanta trips back and forth from St. Louis since 11th grade. Ever since then, we been working. So this past summer, I was on the set of the video for OJ and Gunplay's "I Sell" track. Gucci was there and when we got introduced he was like, "Take my number." So I took his number and the next day I woke up and he had called me being like, "Come to the studio." So that's when we first started working together, and when I actually moved down here we did more work. With Future, his manager is my manager, Propane. So Propane called me one day during the summer and told me to send him some beats, which at the time I didn't really feel like doing. But I just sent them anyway, and he ended up doing the "Hard" record off of the Welcome to Mollyworld mixtape. After that, I guess Future was like, "Bring him here. Bring him here." And now we probably got 30 records in the vault right now. I'm with him all the time now.
So when did you first make the beat for "Karate Chop"
I actually made that beat before I moved to Atlanta. I moved here in August, so I probably made that beat in the beginning of August. I never really liked it, but once I moved to Atlanta I just started going to the studio with Future like everyday. So one day, I didn’t come, and when I showed up the next day he played “Karate Chop." And I just didn’t like it at all. Then every time people would come in to the studio, he would always play the record and I was like, "Why are you so stuck on this shit? We have way harder records."
Anyway, one day, DJ Spinz, who’s a good friend of mine, picked me up from school. And he was telling me about a mixtape him and Tank were dropping. So he tells me, “Yeah, Future’s hosting this one so he gave me a few exclusives and you got one there." I asked him which one and then he told me “Karate Chop.” I thought, “Oh my God. I need to call him so we can swap it out and put something harder on there.” Spinz told me, “Just watch. This is going to turn you up.” I asked him when he was dropping the tape and he told me two weeks. So I told him to hold off, because I really didn’t like the mix on the original beat. That might’ve been why I was so against it. Along with Future mumblin’ on the shit. So, both of those factors together made me really not like the song. So I sent it over to the engineer so he could swap the beats out. Future didn't even know I was doing this. He was completely oblivious to it. But I knew it would be for the better. So when I got the new “Karate Chop” back, it actually started to grow on me. So, I was excited when it came out. But I still had no idea it’d be the single of the album.
And it's your first placement on a major label album?
Yes, it is. I had no clue from all the records we've done, that [that] shit just sitting in the studio would be the one. But these days, the people and the streets produce the singles and they was fuckin' with it. I actually had a placement on Chief Keef’s album. I don’t know if you heard the song “Shine,” but my boy Brandon, he gives Sosa a lot of beats, and he called me one day and told me Sosa did one of my tracks. Later, he told me “Shine” was going to be on the album and I thought that was great. But there was a certain way that they were doing the album. They wanted me to send the files before any of the paperwork. I didn’t feel like they were going to cheat me or anything, but I just didn’t end up doing it. I think they were just trying to rush it on there last minute because they needed a mix to present. So I think they ended up going with “Laughin’ to the Bank.” Now, these other producers told me I just should have sent it. Oh well, you live and you learn. So yeah, “Karate Chop” will be my first album placement.
What's it been like working so closely with Future these last six months?
Future's a workaholic. That's definitely the most hard-working artist I know. A lot of artists like to party and hit the strip club. I'm not going to say any names, but a lot of them like to kick it. There's seven days in a week.; Future's recording at least five. He's really a producer himself. Originally with "Karate Chop," the first verse was the second verse and the second verse was the first. I've seen him do this with other records too 'cause he's a perfectionist. He had the engineer pull up the project session and told him, "Swap those two verses." 'Cause the part where beat kind of drops out and he goes "Gotta Panamera round a young nigga neck," that was on the second verse, but he moved that whole part of the beat to the first. And that definitely changes the whole song. I was there when he did the Rihanna record. I promise you he did that in 30 minutes. He's just a machine.
What else do you have coming up?
I was hyped for the Super Future Fire Marshall mixtape to come out because I had a lot of stuff on there. But the way stuff went was so much better with the whole "Karate Chop" thing. He wanted to put the tape out but at the time "Turn on the Lights" and "Neva End" were really getting big and he was having a lot of success with those. So the label isn't really feeling Future putting out 20 free songs. At this point, they see every Future song as capital. So that's why he went with the FBG mixtape. Because putting out free music is what he's used to. He's used to satisfying his fans. But I'll probably have two more songs on [Future Hendrix]. I think that album is really going to put him on that superstar level. A lot of rappers are stars, but people like Drake and Lil Wayne, those are superstars. Future is the next superstar to come out of hip-hop.