How to make a Metro Boomin type beat

How to make a Metro Boomin type beat

When we talk about Metro Boomin, we’re delving into the heartbeat of modern hip-hop. This St. Louis-born producer has not only defined a generation of music but has also set the gold standard for what it means to be a beat-maker in today’s rapidly evolving scene. His collaborations with artists like Future, 21 Savage, and The Weeknd have yielded some of the most iconic tracks of the past decade, characterized by their haunting melodies, hard-hitting bass, and an atmosphere that’s both ethereal and grounded in street sensibility. Ready to make a Metro Boomin type beat ?

The Blueprint of Metro Boomin

Metro Boomin’s Signature Sound

Metro Boomin’s production is like a masterclass in musical storytelling, each element carefully chosen to evoke emotion and tell a tale. His signature sound often revolves around deep, rumbling 808 patterns, crisp snares, and a notable use of atmospheric pads that seem to envelop the listener in a dense, auditory fog. Understanding and replicating this sonic blueprint requires a keen ear and a willingness to experiment.

Crafting the 808s and Atmospheric Sounds

Metro’s 808s are not just about bass; they’re about creating a mood. They punch through the mix with precision, yet they never overshadow the other elements. Achieving this balance starts with selecting the right 808 samples. Look for ones that offer a mix of deep low end and a slight punch at the attack. Utilizing EQ and saturation can help shape your 808s to fit this mold, boosting the lower frequencies for warmth and using saturation to add a bit of grit without losing clarity.

To capture the fullness of Metro’s soundscapes, layering is key. He often layers his 808s with a kick drum that complements the bass rather than competes with it. This layering technique enhances the overall punch of the beat, creating a more dynamic and impactful sound. The key here is to EQ the kick and 808 carefully, ensuring they occupy their own spaces in the mix. A common approach is to cut a bit of the lower frequencies from the kick to allow the 808 to dominate the sub-bass range while boosting the mid to high frequencies of the kick to maintain its presence.

Selecting and Processing Atmospheric Sounds

Metro Boomin’s use of atmospheric sounds and pads sets his beats apart, giving them an ethereal quality that’s both captivating and haunting. These elements often serve as the backbone of the track, setting the emotional tone and creating a spacious soundscape for the other elements to interact within. To achieve this, start with choosing pads that have a dark, cinematic quality. Look for sounds with slow attack times and a rich harmonic spectrum. Layering multiple pads can add depth and complexity to the soundscape, creating a more immersive listening experience.

When processing these sounds, reverb and delay are your allies. A generous application of reverb can give the pads a sense of space and depth, making them feel like they’re enveloping the listener. Using a high-pass filter on the reverb can prevent the mix from getting muddy. Delay, when used subtly, can add movement to the pads, making the atmosphere feel more alive and dynamic.

Tempo and Groove

The heartbeat of any track lies in its tempo and groove, especially true for a Metro Boomin type beat. The tempo not only sets the pace but also the mood, serving as the canvas on which the rhythm and melodies dance. Metro’s tracks often hover in the realm of 55 to 70 BPM (which translates to 110 to 140 BPM when accounting for the half-time feel common in hip-hop), crafting a laid-back yet potent atmosphere that’s become a hallmark of his style.

Setting the Tempo

To emulate this, start by setting your DAW to a tempo within this range. But remember, the numbers are just a guide. The essence of Metro’s groove comes from how the elements interact within this tempo. Play around with slightly adjusting the BPM to see how it affects the overall feel of the beat. Sometimes, a minor tweak can shift the vibe of the track significantly, from menacing to introspective.

Crafting the Groove

The groove in a Metro Boomin beat is characterized by its swing and bounce, elements that make the beat feel alive. This isn’t just about quantization or the placement of kicks and snares; it’s about creating a rhythmic pattern that breathes. One technique is to slightly delay the snare or hi-hat hits to introduce a laid-back feel, which is quintessential to the trap genre. Experimenting with triplet hi-hat patterns or ghost snares can also add complexity and depth to the rhythm, making the beat more engaging.

Another critical aspect of Metro’s groove is dynamics. Varying the velocity of drum hits, especially hi-hats and snares, can add a human touch to the beat, making it feel more organic. Automation can be a powerful tool here, subtly changing the volume of certain elements throughout the track to keep the listener’s interest and build tension.

Drum Programming

Metro Boomin’s beats are built on a foundation of impeccable drum programming, characterized by punchy kicks, crisp snares, and intricate hi-hat patterns. Achieving this level of mastery requires attention to detail and a deep understanding of rhythm and texture.

Kick and Snare Patterns

The kick drum in a Metro Boomin beat is both a rhythmic anchor and a dynamic element, driving the beat forward while adding contour to the track’s energy. Start with a kick that has both a deep low end and a clear punch. Metro often uses kicks that cut through the mix without overpowering the other elements. When programming your kick pattern, focus on creating a balance between predictability and surprise. The placement of the kick should feel intuitive but not monotonous, with occasional variations to keep the listener engaged.

The snare, on the other hand, is where a lot of the beat’s character comes from. Metro’s snares are sharp and pronounced, often layered with claps or snaps to add breadth and texture. The key to a compelling snare pattern is in its interaction with the kick and the track’s melodic elements. It should complement the kick’s rhythm, filling in the gaps and accentuating the beat’s groove. Experiment with off-beat snares or double hits to introduce variation and complexity.

Hi-Hat Creativity

Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of Metro’s drum programming is his use of hi-hats. From rapid rolls to syncopated rhythms, the hi-hats add a level of sophistication and detail to the beat. Utilizing triplets, rolls, and varying velocities can transform a simple pattern into a rhythmic masterpiece. Don’t be afraid to break away from the grid; slightly shifting hi-hat hits off the beat can add swing and groove, making the beat feel more dynamic and alive.

Programming hi-hats in a Metro Boomin beat isn’t just about complexity; it’s about using them to create tension and release within the track. Strategic pauses, sudden rolls, and changes in pitch can all be used to keep the beat interesting and engaging throughout.

Melodies and Pads

In the realm of Metro Boomin’s beats, the atmosphere is everything. It’s not just about the notes themselves but the space between them, the shadows they cast, and the mood they evoke. This atmospheric quality is largely achieved through the use of haunting melodies and rich, enveloping pads that act as the sonic backdrop for the rhythmic elements.

Composing Cinematic Melodies

Metro Boomin’s melodies often have a cinematic quality, painting vast auditory landscapes with a few deft strokes. When creating melodies for a Metro type beat, prioritize simplicity and emotiveness. A melody that’s too complex can clutter the beat, detracting from its overall impact. Instead, opt for sparse, repeating motifs that resonate with the listener. Instruments like plucked strings, soft pianos, or detuned synths are excellent choices for crafting these melodies. They should whisper secrets, hinting at a narrative that’s both compelling and elusive.

The key to a memorable melody lies in its ability to tell a story, to evoke imagery and emotion with minimal elements. Use effects like reverb and delay judiciously to add depth and dimension to your melodies, making them feel distant yet intimately close. Automation can be a powerful tool here, subtly changing the parameters of your effects over time to keep the melody evolving and engaging.

Layering Atmospheric Pads

The use of atmospheric pads in Metro Boomin’s production cannot be overstated. These pads wrap around the other elements, providing a sonic glue that holds the beat together. When selecting pads, look for sounds that have a certain airiness and depth, with slow attack times and rich textures. Layering different pads can create a more complex and immersive soundscape, but be mindful of the frequency spectrum to avoid muddiness.

Experiment with processing techniques such as sidechain compression to rhythmically pulse the pads in time with the beat, adding a subtle dynamic movement that enhances the track’s energy. Modulation effects like phasers or slow LFOs can add a sense of motion and evolution to the pads, preventing them from sounding static.

808s and Subs

No element in a Metro Boomin type beat is quite as iconic as the 808 bassline. It’s the spine of the beat, the undercurrent that carries the track forward with momentum and grace. Crafting an 808 pattern that complements the beat’s groove while adding its own melodic content is a fine art, requiring both restraint and boldness.

Sculpting the Perfect 808

The ideal 808 for a Metro Boomin type beat is one that rumbles in the lower frequencies while still retaining punch and clarity in the mix. Start with a high-quality 808 sample and shape it using EQ, subtly boosting the low end to enhance its weight while ensuring it doesn’t overpower the kick or muddy the mix. Saturation or slight distortion can add character to the 808, making it more perceptible on systems with less bass response.

When programming your 808 patterns, consider the role of the 808 as both a rhythmic and melodic element. Metro often uses his 808s to provide not just the backbone of the beat but also to add melodic hooks that catch the listener’s ear. Slide notes or pitch bends can add expressiveness to the 808, giving it a voice that sings through the beat.

Integrating Sub-Bass

In some cases, layering a sub-bass beneath the 808 can add an extra dimension of depth to the beat. This technique requires careful EQing to ensure the two elements don’t clash. The sub-bass should complement the 808, filling in the lowest part of the frequency spectrum without detracting from the 808’s impact. High-pass filtering the 808 slightly can create space for the sub-bass to sit in the mix, ensuring clarity and preventing frequency overlap.

Arrangement and Structure of a Metro Boomin type beat

The structure of a Metro Boomin type beat is a narrative journey, guiding the listener through peaks and valleys of intensity and emotion. Metro’s genius lies not just in the elements he chooses but in how he arranges them to tell a story. A well-structured beat can engage the listener from start to finish, building anticipation, delivering satisfaction, and leaving a lasting impression.

Foundational Structure

Begin by outlining the basic structure of your beat. A common arrangement pattern in hip-hop and trap includes an intro, verse, chorus (or hook), bridge, and outro. The intro sets the tone, often introducing a key melodic element or atmospheric pad that clues the listener into the beat’s mood. The verse and chorus sections serve as the core of the beat, with the verse providing space for the artist’s vocals and the chorus amplifying the track’s energy and delivering the hook.

Metro Boomin’s arrangements often play with expectations, introducing elements in the intro that don’t fully reveal themselves until later in the track. Consider using the intro to hint at a melody or rhythm that becomes central in the chorus, building anticipation and cohesiveness.

Dynamic Transitions

Transitions between sections are critical in maintaining the listener’s interest and ensuring the beat flows seamlessly. Metro excels at using effects like risers, sweeps, and percussive fills to signal changes in the track. Additionally, dropping out certain elements right before a section change can create tension, making the arrival of the next section more impactful.

Experiment with different transitional elements to find what best suits your beat. Sometimes, a simple change in the hi-hat pattern or a subtle shift in the bassline’s rhythm can be enough to signal a transition.

Mixing and Mastering

The final step in crafting your Metro Boomin type beat is the mix and master. This is where you refine each element’s sound, ensuring they come together in a cohesive, polished whole that sounds great on any system.

Mixing for Clarity and Impact

Start by giving each element its own space in the mix. This often involves strategic EQing, cutting frequencies that clash between elements and boosting those that define an element’s character. For instance, ensuring the kick and 808 aren’t fighting for the same frequency space can make both elements more powerful.

Dynamic processing plays a key role in achieving the Metro Boomin sound. Use compression to tame the dynamics of your drums, making them punchier and more consistent in the mix. Sidechain compression, especially between the kick and 808, can enhance the rhythmic interplay and ensure the kick cuts through.

Mastering for Loudness and Presence

Mastering is the final polish, ensuring your beat has the loudness and presence to stand up against professional tracks. Start with a limiter to increase the overall level without clipping. Use a multiband compressor to balance the dynamics across different frequency ranges, making your beat sound cohesive and balanced.

However, be cautious with mastering processing; too much compression or limiting can squash the dynamics of your beat, reducing its impact. The goal is to enhance and uplift, preserving the dynamic range while ensuring your beat has the strength to command attention.


As you apply these techniques and principles, remember that the goal is not mere replication but innovation. Metro Boomin himself is celebrated not for his ability to follow trends but for his vision in setting them. Let this guide serve as a foundation upon which you can build, experiment, and ultimately, innovate. Challenge yourself to push beyond the boundaries of what’s been done, exploring new textures, rhythms, and structures. Happy producing !

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