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Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘HEROES & VILLAINS’ by ‘Metro Boomin’

Released: 2022

Label: Republic Records

Featuring: John Legend, Future, Chris Brown, Don Toliver, Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Young Nudy, Young Thug, The Weeknd, Mustafa, A$AP Rocky, Takeoff, Gunna

When Metro Boomin steps behind the boards, magic happens. His magic isn’t just defined by his signature dark, trap-laden beats, but by the artistic depth he invokes through his collaborations. “HEROES & VILLAINS,” the brilliant next chapter in his producer-artistry, stands as a testament to that. Backed by a star-studded lineup, including John Legend on “On Time,” Atlanta’s Future making appearances on tracks like “Superhero” with Chris Brown, and “Too Many Nights” featuring Don Toliver, Metro Boomin orchestrates an encompassing journey through the hip hop landscape.

Drizzling down like “Raindrops (Insane)” with Travis Scott, the album expands its weighty discourse through the unflinching wordplay of 21 Savage and Young Nudy on “Umbrella,” and the dizzying blend of Scott and Young Thug on “Trance.” With Future and Don Toliver hauntingly asserting “I Can’t Save You” in the interlude, the crescendo goes further with tracks like “Creepin'” with The Weeknd, and “Niagara Falls (Foot or 2)” yet again solidifying Scott and 21 Savage’s lyrical prowess.

From the streets narrated by 21 Savage’s hard-hitting verses in “Walk Em Down (Don’t Kill Civilians)” featuring Mustafa, to the fiery dexterity of A$AP Rocky and Takeoff on “Feel The Fiyaaaah,” all the way to the lavish lifestyle flaunted on “All The Money” with Gunna, the album unmasks distinct shades of heroism and villainy, interspersed with pulsating rhythm and poignant verses. So let’s get into it. From “On Time” to “All The Money,” here are the breaking down the Lyrics on ‘HEROES & VILLAINS’ by ‘Metro Boomin.

On Time (with John Legend)

Pairing up with John Legend, Metro utilizes his signature eerie production to compliment Legend’s smooth vocals, lacing the track with a chilling ambience. The lyrics reflect this struggle and tenacity, presenting Metro as both the hero and the villain of his narrative. Ultimately, the cut delves into his experiences of adversity and success. It’s a powerful commentary, symbolizing his rise through adversities, affirmation of his significance in the game, with a promise: he’s here to stay ‘on time’, despite the haters. The song throws light on the hustle and resilience required in St. Louis, Metro’s origin city, resonating with anyone on a grind, reinforcing his position in the hip-hop sphere.

Superhero (Heroes & Villains) [with Future & Chris Brown]

Future and Chris Brown effortlessly weave a tale of raw ambition, hustle, and the turbulent journey to the top. But it ain’t all gold and diamond-encrusted Rolexes. The lyrics reveal the ugly underbelly of success – the haters that crop up when you start winning, and the grim reality of becoming a “villain” in the eyes of those who wish to see you fall. A critical musing beneath the boomin’ beats, this track is a conscious specimen in Metro’s catalogue that explores the complexities of being both a hero and a villain in the unforgiving world of hip-hop.

Too Many Nights (feat. Don Toliver & with Future)

It delves into the dualistic lifestyle of fame and façade, money and melancholy, thrill and thoughtfulness, revealing a complex narrative that portrays the spectrum between celebratory excess and introspective solitude. The lyrics, metaphorically rich with references to materialism, success, and excess, tactfully raise critical questions about the pursuit of happiness in contemporary society while also painting a vivid picture of the often contradictory and paradoxical experiences of the artists in their ascent to fame.

Raindrops (Insane) [with Travis Scott]

The concept of weather as a metaphor for emotional strife is expertly executed, with rain symbolizing the struggles and the pain that Metro and Scott are trying to outrun. There’s an impending sense of doom and despair punctuated by references to “Purple Rain” – a shout-out to the Prince classic that deepens the introspective tone. Metro’s signature production skills, together with Scott’s distinctive autotuned vocals, create a hauntingly dark thrill ride. It hits all the right notes – metaphorically and sonically – offering listeners a glimpse into the often chaotic world of fame and excess, while simultaneously laying bare the harsh reality of emotional vulnerability.

Umbrella (with 21 Savage & Young Nudy)

Yet, it’s not just a banger, it’s a cautionary tale about street life. 21 Savage and Young Nudy, ever the raconteur, share vignettes about the balance between violence, money, and respect in their world. The ‘umbrella’ metaphor is a dark twist on the protective cover, hinting at the fatal reality of street confrontations. But it ain’t all gloom, as they drop lines about their luxury lifestyles, Midas-like affluence juxtaposed against their experiences in the harsh realms. Metro Boomin’s trademark atmospheric production frames it all, a backdrop for the vivid storytelling. This track is an assertive statement about the paradoxical world they inhabit.

Trance (with Travis Scott & Young Thug)

It’s a depiction of their current landscape as top-tier artists, laced with braggadocio, hedonism, and controlled chaos. Lyrically, there’s a glimpse into the club scene they dominate and their Public Enemy #1 status in the streets. Intriguingly, the hook “I’m in a trance” mirrors the zoned out, narcotic-infused soundscape that Metro Boomin masterfully concocts throughout the track. It’s an insomniac’s anthem, a substance-addled banger reflecting the dichotomy of fame—excessive indulgence and the pangs of paranoia—with its pulsating rhythm that personifies the nocturnal life they lead.

Around Me (feat. Don Toliver)

Hustling as a survival tactic, Metro adopts a vigilant stance, resulting in a duality of existence—partially immersed in the world of fame, yet constantly guarded. Don Toliver’s melodic contribution adds a hushed, contemplative note, mirroring the underpinning theme of the track. The repetition of lines about keeping “drugs and plugs around” alludes to the methods used to cope with the pressures of the industry—a raw glimpse into the difficult realities beneath the glossy sheen of success. An authentic portrayal of the rapper’s experience, “Around Me” wields Metro Boomin’s mastery of atmospheric beats to underscore the gritty lyrical narrative.

Metro Spider (with Young Thug)

The track juxtaposes opulence and materialism with a profound exploration of identity, paving a narrative of an artist grappling with the implications of the limelight. Young Thug’s verses, loaded with metaphors and wordplay, conjure vivid imagery of success, underpinned by a tinge of resistance and defiance. Metro’s thumping beats settle in the backdrop, setting the pulse for this introspective journey. The track veers away from traditional braggadocio, instead manifesting as an introspective analysis of the trappings of success. In essence, it’s a candid reflection on the first-class seat of the hip-hop rollercoaster.

I Can’t Save You (Interlude) [with Future & feat. Don Toliver]

Examining the lyrics, one can almost taste the disillusionment with the trappings of fame and relationships. The track plays out like a cautionary tale as it propels the message of Metro’s inability to save anyone, encapsulating the complex paradox that even superheroes can’t save everyone. In the grand tradition of hip-hop, the lyrics bravely venture into self-reflection, confronting the bitter reality of their world. It’s a raw, hard-hitting track filled with bold lyrical strokes that highlight Metro’s growth as an artist and curator.

Creepin’ (with The Weeknd & 21 Savage)

This track serves up a potent cocktail of uncertainty, betrayal, and suspicion, lyrically exploring the dark corners of a relationship marked by infidelity. 21 Savage drops raw bars about being cheated on, echoing the deep-seated insecurities voiced by The Weeknd. Metro Boomin laces the lyrics with his signature trap beats, emphasizing the tension and heartbreak. The track proves Metro’s unmatched ability to curate collaborations that resonate with hip-hop fans, confirming his status as a key influencer in the industry.

Niagara Falls (Foot or 2) [with Travis Scott & 21 Savage]

The lyrics are a testament of enduring resiliency, symbolized by ‘Niagara Falls’—a constant flow, often a teardrop tattoo marking the trials and tribulations seen and lived. The ‘extra foot or two’ signifies the need for space, the need to distance oneself from the chaos surrounding fame and fortune. On a deeper level, the track is a reflection of the artists’ constant struggle to navigate their positions as ‘heroes’, while grappling with an image of ‘villains’ imposed by society’s judgments.

Walk Em Down (Don’t Kill Civilians) [with 21 Savage & feat. Mustafa]

It is an unyielding piece of musical artistry that sinks its teeth into the harshness of urban struggle, playing out like a report from the frontlines of an urban warzone. The lyrics offer a stark depiction of a society where violence negotiates power and survival, while also weaving in a raw, emotional perspective about the toll such a lifestyle has on individuals. This song embodies the heart and soul of Metro Boomin’s narrative dexterity; showcasing his deft handling of the pen to illustrate the harsh beauty of struggle, survival, and defiance.

Lock On Me (with Travis Scott & Future)

This track is a vivid exploration of the struggle-to-stability narrative, laden with references to the hedonistic trappings of fame. Driven by its slick beat and an uncanny representation of the ‘rags-to-riches’ trope, this joint hits hard. The narrative switches lanes from the gritty reality of drug-dealing in the hood to the lavish luxury of LA hills, capturing the stark contrast in experiences. It’s a reminder of Metro Boomin’s prowess in creating atmospheric soundscapes that amplify the raw emotions and experiences of the artists, while also presenting underlying themes of sin, repentance, and the elusive idea of salvation within the hip-hop lifestyle.

Feel The Fiyaaaah (with A$AP Rocky & feat. Takeoff)

Metro Boomin straight out the St. Louis crib crafts a beat that slaps harder than a backhand, while A$AP Rocky and Takeoff murder it with savage flows. Lyrically, it’s a sonic discourse about our generation’s frantic pursuit of materialistic success, with the rhymes shuffling between the desire for new shoes, flashy rides, diamonds and relentless hustling. Metro’s reference to greed, evoking Adam and Eve biting the forbidden fruit, lays bare the struggle and temptation of stepping up in the game. That said, the final touch is the repeated phrase “why we need.” The genius here is the stinging reality check these rappers present: that even when you reach the top, the hunger never diminishes. It’s a compelling commentary on the endless cycle of desire and avarice that fuels the hip-hop ethos.

All The Money (with Gunna) [Bonus]

Metro utilizes Gunna’s signature melodic flow over a staccato bassline, creating a hypnotic soundscape that echoes the trap music roots they share. The lyrics reflect the duo’s success and wealth, addressing themes of ambition, opulence, and the ruthlessness of the music industry. There’s a comparison of their rise from the restraints of ‘South Atlanta’ to reaching a point where they ‘want all the money,’ symbolic of their relentless pursuit of success. The repeated refrain ‘ya’ll some puppies’ underlines their dominance in the game, asserting themselves as the ‘real big dogs’ in this cutthroat industry.

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