I enjoy origin stories like this: from How Metro Boomin Became The Most Trusted Guy In Rap
Metro was a 7-year-old kid in St. Louis, Missouri, when Country Grammar, the blockbuster debut from hometown hero Nelly, dropped. From his mother’s collection, he’d heard everything from MC Lyte and Ice Cube to Yo Yo Ma and Faith Hill. But he fell in love with Nelly, and that’s when he decided he wanted to make rap music. He also wanted his mother to take him seriously. So he picked a different job title, one that sounded to him more respectable. He told her he wanted to be a producer.
By 13, he had a keyboard and the production software Fruity Loops. With a hunger and a willingness to sacrifice, he promised himself that there would be no “normal high school kid life—fucking around and going to parties and just chilling and shit.” Countless, obsessive hours of trial and error followed; days and nights were spent hacking away. “It was so foreign to me,” he says. “I was trying to Google like, ‘How do you get a bass sound?’” Until a fortuitous high school piano class, he didn’t even know what a chord was.
He’d look up album credits on Wikipedia, find the names of A&Rs, and tweet at them ceaselessly. He gave beats to rappers he never met and would never hear from again—in St. Louis, in D.C., and in Mississippi. Sometimes, he’d get paid, in Western Union transfers for $100 or $200 a pop. A lot of time he’d give the beats away for free. “Man, I just wanted to hear people rap on this shit,” he says. “That’s all I wanted.”
One day, a recording engineer called Caveman heard and liked Metro’s stuff enough that he passed it on to OJ da Juiceman, then a budding mixtape star. OJ invited Metro to Atlanta.