In the past year, Metro Boomin has been on a remarkable run. Known as the face and sound of modern trap music, Metro has elevated his game on his latest projects, including the album Heroes & Villains and the Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse soundtrack. Now, he takes on the role of executive producer for Young Thug’s new album, Business Is Business, in both the original and the revamped Metro’svb Version.
Surprisingly, Metro’s Version proves to be superior, despite sharing the same tracks with only two new songs. The success of this version emphasizes the importance of sequencing in an album, an aspect often overlooked by fans. Business Is Business provides an opportunity to examine how sequencing can alter the mood and direction of an album. While “deluxe editions” have become popular in the streaming era, few have experimented with song order like Metro does here.
For example, in Metro’s Version, the standout track “Jonesboro” is repurposed as the intro. In the original version, it gets lost among the 15 tracks and tends to drag towards the end. However, in the deluxe edition, it sets the tone for the entire project. Although fans may have been eager to listen to the vibey track “Parade On Cleveland” featuring Drake, “Jonesboro” better reflects the businesslike tone of the album.
Business Is Business takes a more somber approach compared to Young Thug’s previous releases, So Much Fun and Punk. This is partially due to Thug’s current situation as a guest of the Fulton County Jail. It adds an uncomfortable dimension to sinister tracks like “Want Me Dead” featuring 21 Savage and “Hoodie” featuring BSlime and Lil Gotit, considering Thug’s lyrics about enemies were tied to the Fulton County D.A’s case against YSL gang/label for racketeering.
Additionally, the celebratory vibes of “Oh You Went” with Drake and “Hellcat Kenny” with Lil Uzi Vert are overshadowed by the looming threat of a lengthy prison sentence hanging over Young Thug. Furthermore, there’s another factor to consider. While Thug’s incarceration is not the same as death, the compilation of old verses and guest appearances on the album gives it an almost posthumous release feel. It raises questions about how much of this album was Thug’s original vision versus what could be accomplished over the past few months.
Similar projects from incarcerated rappers like Drakeo The Ruler and 03 Greedo attempted to address these questions, but Business Is Business falls short in doing so. However, Thug’s vocal and lyrical versatility, along with his established chemistry with Metro as a producer, and the team of beatmakers on the project, help elevate the overall listening experience. Yet, one can’t help but wonder if Thug would have made different choices in the beat selection or collaborators had he been fully involved in the process.
The absence of Gunna and Lil Keed’s voices on the album adds to the disappointment. While Gunna was able to express his feelings about the past year on his own album, he had to potentially betray his longtime mentor and friend to do so. Furthermore, even if Thug believes Gunna is not a “snitch,” they are currently barred from associating due to legal restrictions, causing a rift in their lucrative and creatively fruitful musical partnership, if not a criminal one.
Metro does an exceptional job of connecting the different elements of the album to create a cohesive project, especially on the original version. However, it is on the resequenced version bearing his name where Metro truly excels. Unfortunately, the concerns mentioned earlier undermine his efforts. Otherwise, Business Is Business could have been a triumph, much like the previous collaborations between Metro and Thug. As it stands, the album showcases the value of sequencing and serves as a reminder of what the music world may lose if Young Thug loses his case.
Business Is Business is now available on Young Stoner Life Record / 300 Entertainment.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.