It's been a whirlwind two years for Atlanta-by-way-of-St.-Louis producer Metro Boomin. Still just 20 years old, he broke through onto the national radar after producing Future's creepy single "Karate Chop" in January 2013, and has been in the lab ever since with the likes of Gucci Mane, Wiz Khalifa, Young Thug, Migos and YG, to name just a few. Often held up as part of the new wave of Atlanta hip-hop producers—Dun Deal, DJ Spinz, Sonny Digital, even Mike WiLL Made It—Metro's beats are distinct from the rest with their chilling, cinematic quality, making the listener feel like they're walking through the set of a horror film. In a genre so set on turning up, Metro's sound represents the dark side of the trap, the underbelly that doesn't make it into the glamorous songs about hitting the club every night.
But Metro isn't focused solely on making beats and sending them around; instead, the producer is working towards something bigger, with a label and artists and a brand all his own within his sights. "I don't look at it as, 'Oh, I'm gonna keep making beats, and I'm gonna do that until I die," he said, laughing, on a recent stop through the XXL
offices. "But that's how some people look at it—gonna just keep making beats, get placement after placement. It's not about that with me; it's about really next-level shit. It's more than just being a producer, making beats in your room and nobody knows you. It's really about being a star yourself. But right now I'm just trying to take the necessary steps to get there and not try to do too much too early and just get lost in the sauce."
Some of those steps include his recent high-profile placements on YG's My Krazy Life,
and Wiz Khalifa's 28 Grams
. And another is the upcoming studio album from Metro Thuggin, the producer/rapper combo he's formed with hip-hop's current enigma Young Thug. As the two prepare to release Metro Thuggin
with first single "The Blanguage," Metro Boomin stopped in to the XXL
offices to talk about working on YG's album, hang Kanye West featured on his song (Future's "I Won"), and the differences between Gucci, Future and Thugga. —Dan Rys