[Welcome to the 2015 edition of the Best of the Booth Awards, DJBooth's annual selection of the best music of the year. For a more detailed explanation and a full list of all the categories and winners, click here.]
2015 will be remembered as the year that Future stepped into stardom, no longer the relatively famous voice that occasionally graced radio but a true superstar that has gained acceptance into the kingdom where money is long, drugs are strong, and admiration comes from far and wide. He was able to turn his pain into prosperity, the turbulent lifestyle of a rock star became his source of inspiration, the honesty about his demons brought him a hive of angels that support his every endeavor.
Part of Future’s resurgence is due to his soundscape, some of Atlanta’s most prominent producers who supplied the perfect canvas for his purple paint to drip over. Zaytoven brought out his inner monster with Beast Mode, 56 Nights with 808 Mafia’s Southside was an odyssey into his universe but it was frequent collaborator Metro Boomin that brought a big enough boom with DS2 and What A Time To Be Alive that really blasted Future into his current, luxurious stratosphere. With a year full of triumphant moments, Metro Boomin has been selected as our producer of the year.
Metro Boomin is currently to Future what Zaytoven was to Gucci Mane, what Lex Luger was to Waka Flocka Flame, what Shawty Redd/Drumma Boy was to Young Jeezy, an undeniable chemistry between one artist and producer. He isn’t behind every Future hit but there is no contesting that he has produced some of the fan favorites. The first five songs on DS2 all knock with his heavy, explosive and dark signature sound. 11 of the 13 songs have his finger prints on them. Boomin isn’t just a name, Metro is bringing the noise that disturbs neighbors, incites dab riots and keeps listeners entranced.
Metro also has an interesting collaborative energy with more than just Future, he has been one of the sonic muses for Young Thug as well. While his extraordinary output uses a plethora of producers, there’s something special about Metro Thuggin. The Batman and Robin-esque duo took the internet by storm when they flipped Drake's “The Language” into “The Blanguage.” Metro’s hard hitting sound is tailored for Thugger’s eccentric voice and unorthodox wordplay. Song likes “Speed Racer,” “Warrior,” and the recently released “Hercules” all prove they are better together than apart.
“Metro Boomin wants some more,” a producer tag that is fitting for a young man that has spent the year getting more placements, receiving more recognition and expanding his dominance across the music industry. He’s a glutton for success and has the work ethic to prove it. Before Meek became the victim to Drake’s meme empire, Metro delivered two of his strongest hits on Dreams Worth More Than Money. “Jump Out The Face” should be thundering across every club from Atlanta to Atlantis, the blistering “Check” didn't receive the attention it deserved but hopefully the recent placement in the movie Creed will give it a second life. Future also has a placement in the movie produced by Metro and Ludwig, “Last Breath.”
Travi$ Scott’s first single “3500” is another monster that Metro was apart of producing along with Zaytoven and Mike Dean. He’s also one of the producers that assisted in the making of “Nightcrawler” and “Wasted” from the Rodeo album. Yo Gotti, Chief Keef, Ty $ Sign, Rich Homie Quan, 21 Savage, OG Maco, from new stars to veterans, he is becoming one of the most sought out producers in the game. A hot commodity that doesn’t seem to be cooling off anytime soon.
The highlight of his year has to be being a major producer and executive producer of Future and Drake’s What A Time To Be Alive. Since the album’s release I’ve knighted Metro Boomin the true winner from their collaboration. It’s possible that Metro is the reason why it sounds so much like a Future album featuring Drake, Drizzy stepped into a soundscape that was far from his usual, Future was in his home court while Drake simply visited. While the project has been met with mixed feelings on the lyrical content side, the production is spot on throughout the entire tape. My soul still leaps every time the drums explode like fireworks on “Diamonds Dancing,” the daunting “Live From The Gutter” is sonically a horror movie and “Jumpman” is a combination of cocaine, coffee, and codeine, somehow able to fill you with a surge of energy while being rather mellow, like combining uppers and downers.
The surprise mixtape introduced Metro Boomin to a larger audience, Drake’s audience, even though he also produced “Tuesday” with Sonny Digital for Makonnen. While everyone is helping to craft this sound that is taking over clubs and airwaves, having his hands in such a large quantity of releases is one of the reason why he’s standing out.
While What A Time To Be Alive is the ice cream sundae, touring with Chance The Rapper for Family Matters is the cherry on top. Producers going on tour and DJing sets is happening quite often, it’s impressive that Metro was able to gain a set on such a high profile tour. Being on the road with Chance guaranteed every night he was standing in front of sold-out crowds, playing his hits and a few others. Seeing him during the second night in Atlanta was like watching a rapper that didn’t rap. He had stage presence, charisma and kept the crowd energy higher than any of the previous openers. Metro isn’t a DJ, his transitions weren’t smooth, and there was no scratching or mixing, he was simply an entertainer that played music. It was impressive, he had complete control, knowing which record would truly send the venue into a frenzy. A rock star with no band, no instruments, no music, but still engaging enough to keep every person under his spell.
Night after night he was once again spreading his name, becoming a name that went beyond making beats for Future, if I remember correctly he even sold merch. He also started the year on tour with Travi$ Scott and Young Thug, since January he's been expanding his name across the world.
Metro is making hits with some of raps biggest hit makers. He’s touring with one of raps biggest rising stars. This has been the year where his star power has shined the brightest, it’s impossible to ignore someone whose tag is playing in clubs, on the radio, and gracing the stage from city to city. There’s been a lot of producers that had an incredible year, Boi-1da has supplied beats for almost every major album that has been released this year (Big Sean, Drake, Kendrick, Big Sean, The Game), Mike WiLL made hit after hit for Rae Sremmurd’s radio dominate debut and underground cats like Knxwledge and Oddisee blessed ears with their sample-heavy production, but there hasn’t been a producer in 2015 that matched Metro’s mighty output, that was successful on every platform from SoundCloud to radio.
He’s been absolutely unstoppable and we don’t see an end to his winning streak. Metro Boomin wants more and that could be the reason why there is no limit to how far he might go.
It's official, Metro Boomin is the Best Producer of 2015. We've also added some of our other top picks of the year, feel free to add your own selections and vote up or down. Let's see what you got.
[By Yoh, aka Yohlanta, aka @Yoh31]