Metro Boomin Lays Melodic Beats for Big Sean on ‘Double or Nothing’

Much has been said about producer Metro Boomin this year. Throughout 2017, the 24-year-old Midwestern released five Top 10 singles with artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Future and Migos, earning these MC’s their highest charted songs yet. Big Sean is also on that list, as Metro produced his single “Bounce Back” from earlier this year. Now, the two have joined forces on a full-out collab album entitled “Double or Nothing.” With pre-release hype aided by NBA superstar LeBron James, who gave the public a sneak preview on his Instagram, these two flourishing hip-hop artists are well on their way to superstardom themselves.

The very first sounds coming from the album are, well, surprising. Diana Ross’ theme from the 1975 melodrama “Mahogany” fades in before Metro’s signature trap beat drops abruptly. This sample speaks more to the producer’s unique style than anything else. Think about the young 20-somethings listening to this who may not know who Diana Ross is, let alone her music. The retro orchestral melody leads the way here as Big Sean and featured MC Travis Scott wax on their equal statures in the modern rap game. This theme surfaces again in the superb Latin-inspired cut “Who’s Stopping Me” where Big Sean sings about his longing to be on top, in between bouts of Portuguese. “This sounds like Narcos,” Sean says in the intro. As fun as this tune is, “So Good” has it beat. Overtly sexual, almost hilariously explicit, Big Sean and Kash Doll run through a slew of intimate moments in the bedroom. In summation, they sing, “If I could quit my job and fuck you all day, shit I would.”

These two take themselves just the right amount of seriously. Like “Who’s Stopping Me” and “So Good,” there’s plenty of fun to be had but Big Sean isn’t blind to the issues that plague today’s culture. “Savage Time” tears through what he sees as modern day segregation. “Yeah, just like them boys in cells who had dreams of NFL,” he posits, “How they supposed to pray to God if they keeping waking up in hell?” Hurricanes, Colin Kaepernick and Marcus Garvey also receive mentions. From “In Tune” where Big Sean discusses his spirituality (Metro samples the “Set it Off” soundtrack), to the closing “No Hearts, No Love” about prioritizing success over drama (Metro samples The Brothers Johnson), Big Sean is shown as one of the most mature and worthy MCs in the field. And Metro’s production serves to heighten these robust thoughts.

We know he can craft a hit, but what a lot of young producers do, and what Metro has become so good at, is incorporating melody into the otherwise generic trap genre. Big Sean too is known for injecting soul into his craft, as epitomized in the previous paragraph. “Double or Nothing” combines the two aspects into a solid, fulfilling rap album. In the increasingly crowded field of trap artists and up-and-coming MCs, these two have offered up something to retain.

Double or Nothing is available Dec. 8 on Apple Music.