Photo of Metro Boomin taken by Vanni Bassetti/Getty Images for Dior Homme
By Reggie Goudeau
On December 2nd, 2022, Leland Tyler Wayne, best known as Metro Boomin, blessed listeners with an early Christmas present in the form of his long-anticipated Heroes and Villains album. With a long list of top-notch features from artists like Don Toliver, 21 Savage, Future, and Young Thug by his side, Metro was more than ready to save listeners from the sea of mediocrity in trap music.
The opening track, “On Time,” is a beautiful beginning to the project contrasting the two topics of the record those being heroes and villains. It begins with words from A$AP Rocky before John Legend begins singing gorgeously about promptness and having the power to save others. This continues until the instrumental’s violins fade out as Morgan Freeman narrates and darkens the atmosphere, saying “If Young Metro don’t trust you, motherfucker you better run.” The song then fully transitions to a more villainous section as Homelander, played by Antony Starr from 2019’s “The Boys,” maniacally rants about his town needing him to save them.
The remainder of the record is far more focused on traditional trap songs, and it does not disappoint. Each artist featured on this album brings their specialty to the table. From Don Toliver’s trippy yet hallucinatory vocals on “Too Many Nights” and “Around Me” to 21 Savage’s cold-hearted delivery and bars on“Walk Em’ Down/Don’t Kill Civilians” and “Niagara Falls,” nearly everyone delivered here.
One standout track is “Metro Spider,” with Young Thug contributing to one of last year’s best bangers even from behind bars. His flow, cadences, and energetic delivery were mesmerizing, working perfectly with Metro’s haunting keys and “boomin’” 808s. Another is “Feel the Fiyaaaah” with A$AP Rocky and Takeoff, featuring a memorable chorus and verse from Rocky and a posthumous verse from the late Takeoff.
Although there are a multitude of fantastic songs here, the best is still “Umbrella,” featuring 21 Savage and Young Nudy. The ominous beat accompanies the two East Atlanta artists perfectly as the two rap a chilling verse about their lifestyles of gangbanging, illegal activity, and debauchery. Nudy in particular rode the beat in an addictive manner with a smooth flow and notable performance, even for this album.
The only lukewarm song on this project is the bonus track, “All The Money,” featuring Gunna. It is far from bad and would be a six out of ten track on one of Gunna’s own albums. The record is just a bit boring in terms of both production and vocals compared to the top-tier verses and hooks across everything else on the album. Also, although I love Future’s portion of the record, Chris Brown’s performance in the second half of “Superhero (Heroes and Villains)” did not match Future’s previous energy.
That song and a half aside, the consistent performances from most of Heroes and Villains’ featured artists is a testament to how much the rap industry respects Metro Boomin. Metro has yet to make an underwhelming album regarding production or featured artists. Based on his previous track record and upcoming collaborative projects with Future and JID, Metro is here to stay, and his heroics are welcome in this city.