Metro Boomin, the 22-year-old that all of young America and beyond have placed their trust in, is on the cover of The FADER’s new Producers Issue. His full story—written by Amos Barshad and covering his upbringing in St. Louis, his familial relationships with music’s biggest players, and strategy as an artist—will be published at 6 p.m. EST tonight, April 12. For now, here’s a preview of the world it tells of. Filmed this spring in Atlanta, it follows Metro from a studio session with Southside and 21 Savage to his college barbershop, the stage of a sold-out Future show, and one of the city’s finest institutions, Magic City. In the background, you’ll hear some unreleased Metro instrumentals and a snippet of his masterpiece for Young Thug, “Hercules.”
Born Leland Tyler Wayne, at 13 Metro Boomin decided he’d have no “normal high school kid life.” He hacked away and eventually convinced his mother, Leslie, to begin chauffeuring him on 17-hour round-trip drives to and from Atlanta, where he’d spend weekends recording. He was later accepted to prestigious HBCU Morehouse, but dropped out just months into the first semester, unable to ignore his own momentum.
That decision wasn’t easy, and Metro made it with the support of friends—a class of producers including Southside, DJ Spinz, and Sonny Digital with a communal sense about how beats can be made.
“I’ve always make beats with my boys,” Metro explained. “In the studio I have my people around me, or people I fuck with, or people I vibe with around me. It’s like the energy is like in the air. You can’t see it or whatever. They don’t really have to say anything or say anything about the beat, about the music or nothing, but all that shit, it comes back out with the music somehow.”
Since, Metro has become as famous as a rap producer gets. He’s worked for a decade and made a signature brand out of forehead-accoutrements. But arguably, his good vibes are the single most significant source of his success.
“I stay positive, keep positive energy to myself. I guess I developed this habit about not really worrying about shit. But that’s also one of my flaws. I feel like it’s one of my flaws. But I also feel like it’s one of my advantages. Because I never break down all the way and stress about shit. I just think about how much worse something could be and I’m like, ‘Alright, cool whatever.’ I’m nonchalant. If I stay negative in negative energy, that’s what’s gonna come back.”
Director: Rob Semmer
Producer: Naomi Zeichner
Executive Producer: Joseph Patel
Executive Producers: Andy Cohn, Jon Cohen, Anthony Holland, Rob Stone
Director of Photography: Scott Perry
Sound: Miliken Gardner
Editor: Sam Balaban
Assistant Editor: Scott Perry
Color: Bryan Smaller at Company 3
Sound Design: Eugene Wasserman
Title Design: Kyle Sauer
Production Coordinator: Madison LaClair
Special Thanks: 21 Savage, Dan Friedman, DJ Esco, Future, Magic City, Southside, Stats Barbershop, The Tabernacle by permission of Live Nation Worldwide Inc., Triangle Sound Studios, Wish Atlanta