The astonishment never fades. From recreational parks and small, claustrophobic room parties in the Bronx to completely taking over the world, hip hop has come a long way. And 2017 was somewhat a crucial turning point, given that hip hop unofficially overtook pop music as the most consumed genre. From Kendrick Lamar to Tyler the Creator to Rich Chigga to Migos to Vince Staples – a source from NASA even told us that planet earth’s rotation around the orbit was accompanied by 808 trap beats this year.

This was also the year in which hip hop truly moved beyond just lyricism, flow, rhymes and bars. Beats, though always being crucial to the value of a hip hop track, became the ultimate component this year. Most hip hop purists would insist that Migos, Future and Lil Uzi Vert are ruining the game, but a closer inspection of their audience would suggest their tracks didn’t blow up the charts for impeccable lyricism or unparalleled flow. They, simply put, were ‘lit’.

If there’s one man who comes closest to being able to describe, formulate, construct, produce or in any way, musically explain what it means to be ‘lit’, it’s none other than Atlanta-based producer, Metro Boomin. Never heard of him? Well now you have.

Were you a fan of  Migos’ ‘Bad and Boujee’? Did you ever vibe to Future’s ‘Mask Off’ while driving down the Federal Highway at 3am? Did your dad give you a lecture on Bob Dylan when you played 21 Savage’s ‘Bank Account’ at home? Were you temped to invest in new speakers after listening to Post Malone’s banger, ‘Congratulations’? Metro Boomin was involved in every single one of those tracks.

At the tender age of 24, Metro Boomin has already worked with some of the biggest names in the game but 2017 is truly the year in which he completely showed the world what he’s capable of as a multi-talented artist. As of the end of November 2017, 10 tracks onn the Billboard Hot 100 charts were produced by him. That’s a whopping 10% of the entire list, completely being produced, designed and crafted by one man. In modern hip hop, the rappers are drivers. Metro Boomin builds the cars.

That’s precisely why it was surprising to see him being snubbed by the Grammys earlier this month. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, who became a Grammy voter for the inaugural time this year, was equally baffled. “Something that bothered me when I was looking at producer of the year—and [4:44 producer] No I.D. got nominated this year, and that’s cool—I saw Metro Boomin, and Metro Boomin is an amazing producer,” he was quoted as saying by Spin.com

“But when I actually looked at what he produced this year, I was blown away. He produced a minimum five huge zeitgeist-defining hits: “Black Beatles” for Rae Sremmurd, “Mask Off” for Future, “Congratulations” for Post Malone…”Tunnel Vision” for Kodak Black. I looked at it and it was just like, it’s not just that he’s a cool producer: He legitimately produced these huge crossover rap songs. He had a really crazy year. Very few producers ever have years like that. He was the producer of the year,” he added.

Besides the chart-topping singles he worked on with multiple big names this year, Metro Boomin also worked on a collaborative project entitled ‘Without Warning’ with 21 Savage as well as Offset. After being released on October 31st, the project managed to secure 4th spot on the US Billboard 200 at one point – effectively earning Metro Boomin his first ever top 10 spot.

Heard of Ghostface Killers? Yes, that track was at the forefront of this project. A couple of months later, he’s got another major project out there – this time around with much-maligned rapper, Big Sean. Unsurprisingly, the project is now ranked 6th on the US Billboard 200, which is Metro Boomin’s second top 10 spot within the space of two months.

The fascinating part is that he continues to shine and produce tracks that are uniquely different in a sub-genre of hip hop (trap rap) that’s constantly accused of lacking variety and sounding the same. He has the eyes and the ears for it, but he’s also been working towards this for a long, long time.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Metro Boomin revealed that his mother used to drive him on eight-hour trips between Atlanta and his hometown, St. Louis when he was trying to produce beats for Gucci Mane as a 16 year-old kid. Eight years later, he is well on his way to dominate the modern hip hop scene for the next foreseeable few years.

Having spent years in the background, the 24 year-old now has the perfect opportunity to steal the limelight and open the floodgates for a rising number of  young hip hop producers who are trying to make it. Earlier this year, he announced the formation of his own label – Boominati Worldwide – which was formed in partnership with Universal Music Group and Republic Records.

“Launching Boominati Worldwide is the next step in my career as a producer, an artist and a businessman. I created the label to represent a collective of highly gifted individuals who have the shared gift of being able to influence the world through culture and art,” he described.

Source: GQ

At the same time, Metro has also been earmarked as the next producer that’s likely to go down the ‘Kanye West path’ and take centre-stage. His production is obviously in demand, his creative fulcrum is visibly highly-rated. A few more forays into the world of being a solo artist might give us a better glimpse but there are few reasons to doubt that Metro Boomin could easily transition into being hip hop’s biggest icon in the next few years. It has clearly taken him years of effort to get to this stage but it’s paying handsome dividends at this juncture.

It’s probably safe to say that in a hip-hop world that’s becoming increasingly dependent on beats, Metro is clearly ‘Boomin’ at the right time.