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Metro Boomin discusses career, future projects at Spring 2024 Lecture Event

Music producer encouraged students to always be learning, improving their craft

Metro Boomin has been behind more than 100 Billboard Hot 100 songs.
Metro Boomin has been behind more than 100 Billboard Hot 100 songs.

On Tuesday, the Brown University Lecture Board hosted Metro Boomin for a talk at Salomon DECI. 

Leland Tyler Wayne, more famously known as Metro Boomin, is a record producer who has collaborated with hip-hop and R&B stars such as Future, Travis Scott and Nikki Minaj over the last two decades of his career. During the event, Metro Boomin discussed his rise to stardom and partnership with some of the biggest names in rap. 

“I just love to make music. That’s all I want to do,” said Metro Boomin. “I’ve been like that since I started at 13.”

Born and raised in St. Louis, Metro Boomin grew up listening to hip-hop and rap artists across the country —Tupac, Nelly, Outkast and Janet Jackson, to name a few — while making beats in his bedroom. He accredited his midwestern upbringing for his exposure to a diversity of artists from a young age. 


“Music is regional, especially back then before the internet,” he said. “There were so many songs popping in California, and other places like New York, that we probably never even heard of. But being in the Midwest, being in the middle of everything, we caught some of everything. That’s why I like making so many different types of music.”

Metro Boomin discussed how his diverse love of music made him attracted to the rap scene in Atlanta, a city that has historically been ripe with upcoming artists in hip-hop. 

“My mom used to drive me down to Atlanta every month just to go down there and work with (OJ da Juiceman) when I was still in tenth grade,” he said. “He introduced me to Gucci Mane, and me and Future made our first song together when I was probably in eleventh or twelfth grade.”

He later attended Morehouse College in Atlanta after high school to be in the heart of the rap scene. But after a few months of staying in the studio until three in the morning, and having to wake up for class only a few hours later, he decided to drop out. “I wouldn’t get much done if I was trying to split the time between (music) and school, something that I wasn’t really passionate about,” he said.  

“Music was really where my heart was and where I wanted to pour everything into,” he added. “I didn’t want to put my mom and dad into debt on top of that so once I dropped out, I went 1,000% with the music, all day, every day.”

Since then, Metro Boomin has been behind more than a hundred Billboard Hot 100 songs, according to the Grammy Awards. He has also created his own record label, Boominati Worldwide, which backs current popular releases such as the “Spiderman: Across The Spider-Verse” soundtrack, and his continuing album trilogy “Hero & Villains.” 

When asked about working on the Spider-Verse soundtrack, Metro Boomin said it was like “a blessing.” 

“I didn’t want it to feel like a kid (album) or like a Disney Channel (album),” he said. “I wanted kids to enjoy the songs, adults to enjoy these songs, your grandma and grandpa to enjoy the songs. All of the artists (on the soundtrack) were worried, saying ‘we can’t cuss,’ but I told them don’t approach it like that. Talk about a lot of the same stuff, but in another way.” 

While Metro Boomin is iconic for the beats he has produced for artists, many fans know him for his producer tag that announces him as the creative mind behind tracks like “Low Life” by Future featuring the Weeknd and “You Was Right” by Lil Uzi Vert. 

Now, Metro Boomin says his sound as an artist is so distinct, and his volume as producer is so large, that he does not need to use a producer tag on every song he helps create.


“I don't ever want to force it,” he said. “If there’s a cool pocket or spot for (the producer tag) to enhance the beginning or end of the record, I’m all for it.” 

The moderator mentioned how without the producer tag, some listeners still do not recognize that Metro Boomin is behind some of their favorite tracks, such as “Congratulations” by Post Malone featuring Quavo.

“I ended up in the studio with Post Malone, and Quavo just ended up calling (me),” said Metro Boomin. “We were all in the studio watching the Olympics on the TV., with the volume off, and I said, ‘Yo, whatever we make with all this in the room right now needs to sound as good as this (on the TV)’. So me, Frank (Dukes), and Louis (Bell) cooked the beat, Post was writing all of his stuff, and Quavo was rapping to himself and it all just came together.”

“I just love to collaborate,” Metro Boomin said. 

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Towards the end of the event, several students had the opportunity to ask Metro Boomin questions of their own. Two students who produce beats in their personal time, gave him copies of flash drives with their work on it. As he talked about his faith, gaining recognition in the music industry and the use of A.I. in rap, several students shared why they came to the event.

Jasmine Kamara ’27 was excited about “Brown bringing a Black pop culture figure to our school.”

“Especially because I think Black culture or parts of Black culture aren’t really pushed at Brown unless it’s in a predominantly Black space,” she said. 

Matthew Gorman ’27 is a fan of Metro Boomin’s work and hip-hop in general. “I like the beats and the quick flow and lyrics of hip hop,” he said. “Rap talks about important things going on in the world and artists talk about real world problems.” 

“Being a student of whatever it is you’re pursuing gives you a whole other edge,” said Metro Boomin. “I’ve studied and analyzed hip hop music in general since I could remember, but I never stopped. I’m always hungry for more knowledge, looking back and asking what were they doing back then, how were they recording, and what keyboards and drum machines were they using back then.” 

“When you’re in love with something it’s not really hard to be a student,” he said. “You never want to feel like you’ve got it all figured out.”

Sanai Rashid

Sanai Rashid was raised in Brooklyn and now lives in Long Island, New York. As an English and History concentrator, she is always looking for a way to amplify stories and histories previously unheard. When she is not writing, you can find her trying new pizza places in Providence or buying another whale stuffed animal.

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