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Metro Boomin: Hero we needed, villain we didn't expect

In his new album, "HEROES & VILLAINS," Metro Boomin plays both roles. – Photo by @HipHopAllDay / Twitter

Released on December 2, 2022, the album "HEROES & VILLAINS" became an automatic success and has maintained pre-existing high standards for producer Metro Boomin. Expectations were at a peak for the popular producer after his first solo release in 2018, "NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES," topped the Billboard charts and cemented him as one of the best modern-day musicians.

On Boomin's second solo album, he pushed away from mainstream rap and hip-hop and created a diverse soundtrack that enhanced the listening experience. His usage of electro-pop elements, keyboards, drums and overall techno rhythms, not typically seen on a mainstream rap album, sets "HEROES & VILLAINS" apart from any other Boomin album.

The album's first track, "On Time," sets the tone for the rest of it by opening with John Legend’s powerful vocals. Boomin brings back Morgan Freeman's signature lines seen in his collaborative album with 21 Savage, "SAVAGE MODE II."

Integrating operatic vocals, Legend’s amazing voice and a monologue into the first song shows listeners that "HEROES & VILLAINS" will not be what is expected. The ending of "On Time" then perfectly lines up with the beginning of the album’s second track, "Superhero (Heroes & Villains)."

As the album progresses, we see a variety of sounds and vocal abilities from many artists of the rap, hip-hop and pop genres — from the collaborative track "Creepin'" with the Weeknd and Savage, which immediately dominated the Billboard charts to the multiple songs featuring Don Toliver like "Too Many Nights" and "Around Me."

The album also keeps to Boomin’s signature style with standout features from A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Future and, of course, Savage. Boomin has had dozens of song collaborations with Savage and worked on multiple albums showcasing their dynamic talents.

Throughout every track on "HEROES & VILLAINS," listeners are given well-produced songs that showcase Boomin and the featuring artists' immense talent. Every song is slightly different and caters to the particular artist's style and energy, showcasing each artists' personal talent and making the album far more dynamic and interesting to listen to.

While female features are nonexistent on the track, soulful and emotional vocals and lyrics from varying artists bring an innate feminine energy to the album.

Additionally, Boomin includes a sampled voiceover from Amazon Prime’s "The Boys" main character Homelander in the project's second track, "Superhero (Heroes & Villains)." It gives the album an almost villain archetype.

There is an objective darkness about "HEROES & VILLAINS" that can be heard in almost every track. But the literal "Superhero" plotline of the album’s progression shows perseverance in addition to loss.

In the album’s closing song, "All The Money," artist Gunna ends the song with a pessimistic attitude, singing, "This time around, we want all the money." It highlights that despite winning, there will always be a cost.

Although the album may seem like an ordinary, mainstream project, Boomin uses unique producing styles to create an almost cinematic album that could be played for any sort of superhero film.

He shows audiences that he can continue to produce and create new projects that appeal to every hip-hop fan and introduces new listeners to a curated collection of songs. "HEROES & VILLIANS" reassures any Boomin fans that had concerns or worries following his momentous first album, solidifying the artist's producing power and musical genius.

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