Metro Boomin | Cuz It’s Mean and Metamorphic

Via Issue 185, The Cocoon Issue!

Written by

Shirley Ju

Photographed by

Sandy Kim

Styled by

Fatima B

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GUCCI cape, jacket, pants, and shoes, AUDEMARS PIGUET watch, CHROME HEARTS sunglasses.

Metro Boomin just released the biggest album of his career, Heroes and Villains, and he’s already onto the next one. This is just one example of the super producer’s work ethic, always looking to improve his craft and plotting greatness any chance he can.

The 15-track project debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, simultaneously making history as the St. Louis, Missouri native became the first non-rapping producer to exceed 50 million monthly listeners on Spotify. The project not only boasts features from all the heavy-hitters—including Young Thug, Future, 21 Savage, Travis Scott, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, and Don Toliver—but the coinciding short film enlisted a standout appearance from Morgan Freeman. On the intro track, you hear Freeman’s voice narrate a spin-off of the producer’s tagline: “You know what they say. If Young Metro don’t trust you, motherfucker you better run!”

Serving as the follow up to Metro’s debut 2018 project, NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES, HEROES & VILLAINS comes equipped with cover art referencing Pink Floyd’s 1975 studio album, Wish You Were Here. Being a fan of the legendary British rock band showcases Metro’s diverse palette of sounds and musicality, effortlessly crafting records that stand the test of time.

But don’t get it twisted, Metro Boomin’s been that dude. Another of his taglines alone, “Metro Boomin want some more n*gga,” demands attention, and is an instant indicator that the song to follow is nothing but straight heat. His long catalog of hits include, “Bad and Boujee” for Migos, “Know Yourself” for Drake, “Bank Account” for 21 Savage, and the fan favorite “Mask Off” for Future.

If that’s not enough, Metro Boomin has even more big wins to celebrate: an appearance in the Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial, and even constructing the theme song for the upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse film.

We caught up with Metro Boomin, who was feeling blessed on a Monday, shortly after his shoot. Following a crazy Grammys week in Los Angeles, Metro reveals the only time he stepped outside was for Southside’s birthday—and the rest was spent in the studio. Read below as we discuss his new project, the making of “Metro Spider” with Young Thug, how The Weeknd got on “Creepin”,Metro's love for basketball and fashion, doing the Spider-Verse 2 theme song, and more.

DIOR jacket, shorts, socks, shoes, and beanie, AUDEMARS PIGUET watch, and talent's own jewelry throughout.

DIOR fleece, shorts, socks, shoes, and beanie, AUDEMARS PIGUET watch.

Congratulations on everything. HEROES & VILLAINS is incredible—I’m so happy the world’s finally caught on.

Thank you, I appreciate that. 

How are you feeling? Are you soaking this moment up?

It probably didn’t hit me like that yet. Every new level I get to... I don’t know. I just be looking ahead. I’m grateful, but it’s got me motivated and inspired to what I got going next. 

Even your short film—that by itself shook up the world. You had the film with Morgan Freeman for a year and a half. How do you keep something like that under wraps?

I have a tight-knit team and circle. It wasn’t even just that, it’s like a package thing. So I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh, I gotta keep the film on the low.’ The album, music, everything, it’s all together. It was getting worked on for a long time, just as I was with the music. Both of them started getting crazier and crazier over time, and finished at the same time. By the grace of God.

Do you feel like you had to have patience with it?

Yeah. I be so tapped with the music, the film was something–it didn’t slip my mind, but after we had shot it, I wasn’t even thinking about it anymore. Okay cool, that’s a great thing that we got our assets for when it’s time to drop. But I got to get this album where it needs to be, nothing else really matters.

Young Thug was in that short film. How long ago did you guys shoot that?

We shot that, it’s the same amount of time. Me and Morgan had shot half of it in LA, that was a one day shoot. Then Atlanta with Thug and LaKeith [Stanfield] and them, that was a two day shoot.

FERRAGAMO jacket and pants, NIKE shoes.

I heard you say you were surprised when Morgan Freeman was down to do the video.

Definitely. I was surprised, but we were ready. It’s just a blessing having him play a part in this universe that I’m working on building.

Damn, what else do you got coming?

Man, a lot of shit. Crazy shit, just heat. It’s time. There’s so many other projects and side albums, compilations and mixtapes that I’ve been working on and been wanting to release. But I knew I had to make this statement first to put the world on notice, and then start this next phase. I look at it like this is phase two of my career.

How long did the album take altogether?

Two years and some change. Time flew by really, it was never supposed to be that long. But you know, God said it wasn’t ready. Until it was. 

It’s just so crazy to me that you left Drake off the album.

You know, it happens. It just happens. I’m never gonna try to force anything, and that’s for anything. There’s that instance everybody's talking about it, because I guess the other one he did leaked. But there’s so much other stuff that didn’t go into the album, artists and things. Just because everything’s got to fit.

Can we get another one?

Nah, I’m not trying to do nobody like that. It’s not even discrediting nobody, or even him or their talents or anything. I’m just not the type, I’m never gonna compromise any part of my art for anything. It’s gotta feel right to me basically.

FERRAGAMO jacket and pants, NIKE shoes.

I literally interviewed the cast of Bel-Air. Jabari Banks is obsessed with “Superhero.” But my personal favorite is “Metro Spider.” Talk about the making of that, because hearing that back must have been crazy.

Yeah man, it’s just another one of them magical times in the studio with Thug. Every time it feels like, over the past decade me and Thug got in the studio: it’s some kind of magic, mystical shit in the air. It was a beat I had and even before I pulled up on him, we was in Atlanta. I’m like okay, I’ma take this to the studio too, bro. I didn’t know what would come out of it, but in my mind and my ears as a producer, him on this beat is one of the things I’m missing from the album. Because I had one of the bigger sounding stuff, but on a street—just our roots and where we come from, that type of level, I knew there was still more of that kind of void in the album. I said, ‘Man, I know if I take this beat up here to Thug, he’s gonna do whatever it needs to be done to it.’ That’s what it ended up being. I pulled up on him, I had the beat. I said, ‘Man, this the beat I need. I need you on this beat for the album.’ Because I know I was already putting out the other one with him and Travis [Scott], the “Trance” on there. But I needed some hard shit for this, for all our day ones. Our Metro, Thuggin days type shit. And he overly delivered.

Have you talked to Thug?

Yeah, I be talking to him often. He’s in great spirits. He’s holding his head high. He’s praying for me, just like I’m praying for him.

Has he seen the news? You’re making history, Metro: The first non-rapping producer to exceed 50 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Yeah, he knows. It’s a lot of stuff coming out, which is a blessing. But he knows overall it’s doing real well.

Congratulations, you deserve all this. How does it feel to see those numbers?

Thank you. It’s been a long time coming, with an even way longer way to go. I don’t even be seeing or looking at a lot of this stuff. It gets brought to my attention, or I get tagged in stuff sometimes. It’s a blessing, more than numbers, just to be reminded that people are enjoying the music and receiving it as I intended. I just be wanting people to fuck with the shit. I don’t care if it’s a hundred streams at a time, or a hundred million streams at a time. I just want people to fuck with it genuinely.

GUCCI cape, jacket, pants, and shoes, AUDEMARS PIGUET watch, CHROME HEARTS sunglasses.

I usually don’t really like listening to instrumentals, but I could literally listen to your beats all day. It’s hard!

Nah that’s a blessing. It be the details. A lot of my music from the beats to even the overall production of the songs, editing on the vocals and everything, I’m real detail-oriented. I can imagine all the extra details you hear by just listening to the instrumentals.

I was at Roc Nation recently, and Young Guru was talking about his favorite beat he ever made. Do you have a favorite beat?

Mmm, that’s hard. They’re like my children. Even if I said one, I’d forget a bunch of others.

Do you have a current one? Maybe on the album?

I was in the gym earlier, I was listening to After Hours [by The Weeknd]. “Escape from LA” came on and I thought to myself, ‘damn this beat is crazy’. I thought that earlier today. On the album, beat-wise, my favorite beat might be between “Feel The Fiyaaah” and “Too Many Nights.” It’s a toss up between my two favorite beats, and the “Trance” beat. “Feel The Fiyaaah” is just nostalgic for me. I grew up listening to a lot of Dipset, The Heatmakerz, that type of shit. That was my favorite shit in middle school, that really reminded me of the essence of that so that’s a personal favorite. The “Too Many Nights” beat I did with Honorable C.N.O.T.E., shout out C.N.O.T.E. The beat is something I’ve never heard. It stands out so much to me. It has so much energy, it sounds like some next year sound. I respect that.

Talk about nostalgic, “Creepin’” is so fire.

Oh, you fuck with that?

I feel like everyone does!

Yeah, it’s crazy man. That’s another one of things like you were saying, keeping stuff under wraps for so long. Just knowing that I had that missile for so long.

How did that song come together?

Shit man, we was doing stuff for my album. We were doing other stuff. Shout out Mario Winans, he’s always been a big brother type figure. I’ve known him a long time. He helped with other stuff on the album, amazing producer and songwriter. It was just crazy. I asked Abel if he’s down to do it, like a cover. He said yeah, it was something he already wanted to do. He knows Mario real well too, so it was easy man. Just all in the family, it just came together. It was an idea for so long before the song had formed, but then it came together like wow. It’s beyond what I dreamed it to be. 

1 MONCLER JW ANDERSON jacket, hoodie, shorts, and beanie, NIKE shorts.

How’d it feel when Future brought you out at State Farm Arena?

Oh, that was fire. You know, Pluto, that's my brother. We’ve been at it for a long time. This whole superhero moment, it’s like the beginning of our phase two. We haven’t had a song out since “Mask Off,” they’ve been on our heads. With this, and then the whole State Farm thing, it’s starting to slowly put people on notice: we crankins that shit back up too. 

Congrats on the Budweiser Superbowl commercial, it’s been lit for you. 

Man, it’s a blessing. Thanks are moving. It’s showing the power of great music, and everything else will follow. 

Who you got for the Super Bowl?

I had to bet my money on the Eagles. I don’t even watch football like that. Normally, I’m into basketball. I know through the whole season, I know they damn near wasn’t losing for real. Logic got me going with that. 

LOEWE coat.

You be hooping? 

Nah, I don’t be hooping. When I was younger, I did. N*ggas will get some runs in here now and then, fuck around. Not like I’m hooping every week. I love basketball though. 

Who’s your team? 

Man, I more so follow players. Even how it is these days, everybody moving around. It’s not like when I was growing up. See growing up, we had the Bulls. I’m from St. Louis, it’s right next to Chicago so we grew up Bulls game. When I got older, middle school/high school, I was really into the Celtics. 

I had a Rondo poster up in my room.

Yeah, I had a Paul Pierce poster in my room fasho. I’m definitely fucking with The Celtics right now. Jayson Tatum, he from the crib. He from St. Louis. I’m definitely fucking with The Celtics, The Clippers. I used to fuck with The Warriors.

BOTTEGA VENETA shirt and pants, CHROME HEARTS sunglasses, AUDEMARS PIGUET watch.

What does fashion mean to you? You’re always dripped out.
It’s always been me, and a part of my genuine interest. Today we got Instagram, where everybody likes to show off and shit like that. Fashion’s a lot bigger now because Instagram is the center of everything, unfortunately. There’s so many people into it now for that reason, but it’s different with me. I’ve always been this way. My mom was always fly. Growing up, I always watched her fly. Having her shit together, having shit on, so it’s different. It’s not a thing I’m doing now for other people. I wake up, get dressed everyday and I don’t even take pictures for Instagram. I got so many outfits everyday where at the end of the night, I’m like damn. I could’ve taken some crazy pictures. I think that every day, because it don’t even cross my mind to do it. But I definitely love fashion. 

Are we gonna get a Future and Metro Boomin collab this year?
Definitely. I would bet on it. I would definitely bet on it. 

Man, you got a lot of stuff under wraps.
Hell yeah, we gotta roll it out in phases. But that’s what we got on deck right now. That, and the Spider-Verse 2 soundtrack. 

That was my last question! To end with a bang, what does it mean to be a theme song for the new Spider-Verse movie?
As a family, we always grew up, went to all the Marvel movies as a family thing. Every single movie, we were big on going to the movies period. That was one of the things we’ve always done, between my mom, my brothers and sisters. Marvel’s always been huge. My little brother and sister, the youngest, they're eight and 12. They’re the biggest Marvel fans in the world. They loved the first Spider-Verse movie so being able to do this, it’s full circle and I take with what a great deal of responsibility to deliver.  

BOTTEGA VENETA shirt and pants, CHROME HEARTS sunglasses, AUDEMARS PIGUET watch.

Groomer: Chelsea Cotton

Locs: Priscilla Williams

Barber: Busko

Location: Optimist Studios

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Metro Boomin, The Cocoon Issue