“Metro Boomin wants some more.” Just read the words and you can almost hear Young Thug’s voice reciting the phrase. It’s a good producer tag—simple, memorable, like a jingle from a catchy commercial. It’s this small part that plays at the beginning that gives Metro a voice despite being voiceless. His current tag, “If Young Metro don’t trust you imma shoot you” is even more remarkable, flipping a line from a song that is barely remembered and into the hottest producer tag in the world. It’s been a meme, it’s been sold on merch, Metro’s trust has worth.
There isn’t a young producer that has his notoriety, that has reached his level of visibility, young Metro is known far and wide in a way that is more reminiscent of a typical rapper than a producer. He’s been on two big tours, the cover of Fader, and amassed a following that goes beyond who he is producing for. His name, his face, his sound, has completely infiltrated into rap.
In the internet age, visibility is paramount. Very few career fields are tied to visibility like rapping. Fans are just people that you need to listen when music is released, that you need arriving when performances are announced, to grasp and hold their attention can be the difference between a long career and a passionate hobby. It is a constant battle to being seen and then using that visibility to expand your name. The bigger your name gets, the more eyes that are on you, the more opportunities that can be presented. Invisibility, especially in the internet age, is an Achilles heel.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Cam Kirk, a prominent photographer who has made a name for himself by candidly capturing some of Atlanta’s newest, brightest stars. A lot was said within our three hours of conversing, not everything was included in the final profile, but there was one comment that he made that has stuck with me since I left his loft that day:
“Market yourself like a rapper. Blow yourself up.”
“Blowing yourself up” was the mentality when Cam linked up with Metro Boomin. It was a chance encounter in the studio that turned a growing friendship into a partnership. When the two met, Metro was already producing beats that were getting placed on tapes by Jeezy, Big Sean, and Yo Gotti. His single with Future, “Karate Chop,” was just beginning to get some burn. He was known by rappers but not a name that resonated with people. When he met Cam, he introduced the idea of honing in on his ownership.
If you go to Metro Boomin’s YouTube page you will find all the vlogs and music videos that were shot specifically to provide Metro with visibility. He appears in the music videos for Thug’s “Blanguage” and Rich Homie Quan’s “Too Short.” There’s behind the scenes footage of him making “Skyfall” with Travi$ Scott and being in the studio with Meek Mill. Not to mention Cam’s photos being uploaded to Instagram. Metro went from being just another producer behind the scenes to a face, a collaborator that people recognized. When he appears in Future’s videos it’s not as some unknown cameo, when he went to tour with Chance people anticipated seeing his DJ set, when he covered the front of Fader his fans cheered. He didn’t have to cover it with Future or Thug, Metro could stand alone with his signature bandana. A brand, a name, a face, he wasn’t a rapper but he could stand beside them without rapping a single line.
Big placements, great branding, and great music assisted in making Metro Boomin the big name he is today. If you remove one of those three components, he fails to reach the plateau that he currently stands upon. There isn't some secret cheat code that all producers should apply to their craft. One reason why this method works so well is because of Metro’s personality. There’s an obvious star quality to him that made him very easy to market and transition into a brighter spotlight. Everyone isn’t built to reach this level of notoriety but he’s a shining example of how visibility can lead to favorable results on the internet.
DJ Khaled is another whose success with Snapshot works with the theory of visibility. He is now a sensation that can go on tour with Beyoncé. His celebrity has never been bigger and this is someone who has been on both radio and television. All it took was some viral clips and a couple major keys to break him to a larger audience.
There’s power in being seen, being heard, being in the forefront instead of the background. Producers should be able to take their music on the road and sell merchandise the same way that the artist can. I think it’s important that all creatives understand the potential of finding ways to be more visible and produce content that allows their art to shine. When a rapper drops a single, you know a music video is coming, a remix is coming, interviews, and even television performances.
What’s stopping journalists from pairing their big articles with a podcast of them discussing the writing process? What’s stopping photographers from uploading behind the scenes footage of their big photoshoots? What’s stopping producers finding unique ways to be represented on the songs they produce? If you’re passionate about your craft and you want to take things to the next level it’s going to fall on you to push the limits and exceed expectations.
Anonymity is both a gift and curse. As a writer, there’s more that I could do to engage with readers. I hope to make up what I lack in visibility to be balanced by my consistency and quality. One thing about my articles, there’s usually a new one every day. I’m trying to carve my own lane, blow myself up, without having to be seen. I don’t know if I will be Metro Boomin successful, or if I want to be, but recognizing who you are is important in how you hope to present your art to the world. There is a variety of ways to approach building your following, it all starts with finding out who you are and the goals desired. If you truly want some more than it might be wise to walk a similar path as Metro Boomin. No matter the path, you won’t know the end results until you take that first step.
Blow yourself up all summer sixteen.
By Yoh, 2Yohz, aka @Yoh31
Photo Credit: Instagram