HEROES & VILLAINS Album Cover
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Review of HEROES & VILLAINS Album

The Caped Beatmaker returns with his electric ensemble of southern-trap supervillains.

Two years and a Grammy win later, Atlanta’s own puissant producing superhero, Metro Boomin, has thrown his hat into the “Album of the Year” ring with his new thriller sequel, Heroes and Villains.

Just like its predecessor, Not All Heroes Wear Capes (2018), the track list features an expertly curated guestlist of southern rap best and brightest, with the likes of Future, Don Toliver, Travis Scott, Young Thug, and of course 21 Savage, all sharing the spotlight to create a rap equivalent of Marvel’s Infinity War.

Just like an MCU flick, this album wastes no time in pointing us toward the action. After John Legend’s much-appreciated harmonics, Future opens the album with Superhero, an excitingly cinematic track that has the feel of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

In fact, if Gotham had a rap scene this is undoubtedly what it would sound like. Metro’s clever coupling of features creates a hero versus villain atmosphere throughout the album. 21 and Young Nudy are like two evil twins teaming up on Umbrella, whilst the transition of Young Thug to Future, on Metro Spider & I Can’t Save You, feels like what Harvey Dent must’ve felt when turning into Two-Face.

In terms of heroes, The Weeknd serves his take on Mario Winans’ I Don’t Wanna Know to brilliant effect, on the contrary, 21’s verse on the track doesn’t feel that needed and gets in the way of the RnB feel.

To be honest, that might be my only complaint with this album. Although 21 has been undeniably the best feature artist these past two years, he feels like seeing the Joker in a new Batman film, everyone loves the Joker, but do we need to see him again? ….. and again? I feel like the album’s replay value could’ve been raised if Metro gave some of 21’s feature slots to different artists, Travis and Don Toliver were on here, so how about hearing Sofaygo on a Metro beat? Risks like these would have made the album more interesting, instead Metro plays it a little too safely.

The album closes with its narrator, ASAP Rocky, spitting a few bars of his own alongside the gone-too-soon Migos rapper, Takeoff. Sampling Peabo Brown’s Feel the Fire, the track has an uplifting soulful ambiance that feels like a bright send-off for Takeoff, with this verse probably being one of his last. ASAP, on the other hand, proves he’s still got it despite his absence, his wordplay is faultless, and his off-kilter flow gives the song a lot of its personality. A really solid closer.

Score/ Excellent: Metro impresses yet again with a well-curated ensemble of features and a stunning display of beat-making range. Whereas it may not be as stylistically dynamic as Not All Heroes Wear Capes, it still has cinematic moments and songs that’ll make you think, “why can’t every trap song sound like this?”.

[I rank albums on a scale of: Poor, Mediocre, Good, Excellent, and Outstanding.]

Written By Jake Campbell

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