Metro Boomin’s long anticipated album Heroes and Villains demonstrates that producers can compete with artists in album creation. With creative samples ranging from Homelander’s character-breaking speech in The Boys to Morgan Freeman’s narrative voice-overs, Metro constructs a pseudo-biographical narrative with creative and clean instrumentals that feature frequent collaborator 21 Savage at his best during his especially prolific year.
In a visually impressive short film album trailer released alongside the project, Metro is a superhero that has not donned his diamond encrusted illuminati chain in far too long. He must decide whether to return despite already achieving hero status—a parallel to Metro’s position in the hip-hop scene as a top producer who has no need to prove himself. However, as many producers and artists churn out similar albums, Metro must return not only as a hero but as a legend, leaving no room for argument over his legacy.
Metro does not only prove the need for his creativity; he puts much of the industry to shame by creating a complete, cohesive album, instead of relying on formulaic singles to boost the success of his project. This completeness is something directly alluded to on the album’s cover which is a reference to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, a stunning five song album that constructs a meaningful narrative and points out the issues of alienation in the music business. Much like Floyd’s album, there are popular singles from the project, but they are simply byproducts of a project that can stand on its own in its entirety.
In Heroes and Villains, Metro once again shows that you don’t need to be a rapper to make a complete rap album, and relying on features from others can be a strength rather than a weakness. While Metro Boomin might be classified as a hero or a villain to the rap game for putting it on notice, his recent masterpiece leaves no room for a debate over his legendary status within hip-hop.