Metro Boomin - Heroes & Villains Music Album Reviews

Metro Boomin - Heroes & Villains Music Album Reviews
The hitmaking producer’s latest album brandishes his ardent ambition, attention to detail, and gift for curation.

In the extravagant trailer for Metro Boomin’s new album, a deranged criminal (played by LaKeith Stanfield) drives a flame-throwing fire truck through a burning city. Metro watches the mayhem unfold from the roof of a compound while Morgan Freeman dissuades him from intervening. “Your place in history is already cemented,” Freeman tells him. “You’ve built a legacy, something people will clearly kill for.” A stoic Metro then snatches a chain floating behind a glass case before hopping into a Batmobile-like whip and jetting into the city. It doesn’t make much sense, but it doesn’t have to: Like Metro’s music, the trailer is expensive, exciting, and crammed with vibrant characters—the plot or message hardly matters. Enjoy car chases and sinister 21 Savage verses? Spectacular explosions and generic Travis Scott hooks? Metro Boomin has an album for you.

Heroes & Villains, though, is more than just fireworks and big-name features. It’s an ambitious, detail-rich record that splits the difference between streaming fodder and world-building. The rappers featured here are either aging out of the spotlight (Future), transitioning into corporate avatars (Travis Scott) or, unfortunately, serving time behind bars (Young Thug, Gunna). While Heroes & Villains scans as an opus of psychedelic trap and star-laden singles with cool comic book packaging, it almost feels like a last triumphant gasp from the past decade’s most prominent rappers and their favorite hitmaking producer.

But Heroes & Villains proves that Metro aspires to more than hits. He first demonstrated his wide-scale vision on 2018’s Not All Heroes Wear Capes, a project in which his sparse, moody beats grew thicker, grander, and more intricate. When he attempted to swerve from his signature sound, though, his limited range was exposed: Metro is great when he makes Metro-type beats, shaky when he ventures outside of his comfort zone. On Heroes & Villains, he surpasses his standard quota of bangers while also taking a few fun risks. A symphonic, Francis and the Lights-esque intro? Why not. An interpolation of Mario Winans’ “I Don’t Wanna Know,” featuring the Weeknd and 21 Savage? Let’s do it. Metro is thinking outside the box a bit more, without sacrificing the foundation of what makes his music so appealing in the first place.

Chief among these appeals is his ability to mine grade-A material from his guests. His beats are distinct enough to sound good on their own, yet understated enough to afford a vocalist stylistic freedom. Few artists melodically thrive over a Metro beat like Don Toliver, who delivers two of the album’s more magnetic vocal performances on “Too Many Nights” and “Around Me.” Even Future’s got a little pep in his step here, particularly on the anthemic “Superheroes (Heroes & Villains).” But it’s Young Thug, on “Metro Spider,” who steals the show. Slithering over a menacing string note and ominous piano, he snaps off a string of vivid, eccentric bars about luxury watches and feeling more famous than the president. Unlike other Thug verses that have emerged since his incarceration, “Metro Spider” hardly feels like a leftover—in fact, Metro positions it as the album’s centerpiece.

There are some duds, to be sure. Travis Scott sounds half-asleep on the unimaginative “Raindrops (Insane),” and even less compelling on the throwaway track “Lock On Me.” Chris Brown shows up at the end of “Superheroes (Heroes & Villains)” to complain about people who don’t want to see him win, bringing the album’s sporadic flashes of toxicity into stark focus. But other than a few misses, Heroes & Villains is a crisp, cohesive record that nails all the little things: end-of-song outros, dazzling sequencing, surprising beat switches, and perfectly staggered features. The album’s main characters—Future, Scott, and 21 Savage—are spread out in smart pairings, popping in and out of the frame like lead actors in an ensemble cast. Even A$AP Rocky, who joins the late Takeoff on “Feel the Fiyaaaah,” has several small cameos before earning his own song. This sort of attention to detail matters; Metro succeeds in constructing a self-contained universe stuffed with various narrators, antagonists, and anti-heroes.

It’d be intriguing to hear some younger, hungrier rappers on these songs, but it’s hard to fault Metro for having fealty to the guys he came up with, especially when they’re generation-defining artists like Thug and Future. Even the most lauded stars eventually fall out of favor: Travis Scott is embattled in legal issues after the Astroworld catastrophe, Future is nearing middle age, and Thug and Gunna are facing sweeping RICO charges. The album gestures toward these realities on “Walk Em Down (Don’t Kill Civilians),” a run-of-the-mill 21 Savage horrorcore slapper that, midway through, transforms into a piano-backed, choir-lined meditation on grief. Sung by Toronto artist Mustafa, the song’s second act explores the trauma and turmoil caused by 21’s depictions of street violence. The juxtaposition, however, resists landing on a clear moral. Who’s the hero here, and who’s the villain? Metro’s answer seems prudent: Yes.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Metro Boomin - Heroes & Villains Music Album Reviews Metro Boomin - Heroes & Villains Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 15, 2022 Rating: 5


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