NMV Sit Down: Metro Blac
Updated: Apr 9
Well versed spitter Metro Blac discusses finding motivation through adversity, releasing new music, and balancing a 9 to 5 with creative life.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Metro as he touches on all things from the Cannabis industry to the history of Chicago.
SM: Steven Mainzer
Metro: Metro Blac
SM: Hey Metro, how’s it going what have you been up to?
Metro: It’s going well, man. I’m 8 weeks vegan now, due to a decision with my wife who was diagnosed with breast cancer. I ended up dropping about 20 pounds. Other than that, in the studio recording, mixing up with some great producers and engineers, and trying to find some kind of consistency with my music, and my mother was diagnosed with MS. I’m definitely ready for 2020.
SM: How have the occurrences with your family affected your music?
Metro: It has made me take everything a lot more seriously; time is of the essence. I’m sharing more than I ever have. I hadn’t been in the studio or in the booth since about 2 weeks before we found out everything, I was in the studio in October and then Thanksgiving everything was coming off the cuff, a lot of emotions. I feel balanced. I feel more balanced than I ever have.
SM: You dropped an EP, ‘Thirsty Artist,’ a video, got a new job, and did a show and within the past half year, do you have any special plans for 2020?
Metro: Waiting to pack in 2020. I started a new gig, I’m a Cannabis whole salesman. For everything bad that has happened, there have been two or three good things that have also happened...2020 is going to be major man, from music to videos to performances, I have laid out a spread and to go into 2020 strong and we plan to stick to it with everything else going on.
SM: Can you spoil what’s in store for 2020?
Metro: I have a total of about 47 minutes of music out already and it kind of tells-- there were some singles that I released that were actually projects, and I just released a song separately, to be like, “Hey Metro Blac does music, pay attention.” I will be doing about 20 minutes worth of videos for music that is already out to give a visual and a storytelling aspect to those super personal songs and super fun songs. We’re just going to be building consistency in performing, being in our backyard in the city of Chicago. Playing around in the city of Chicago, never been a better time to be in the industry in Chicago for the music I feel. We are going to take advantage of 2020, recreational Cannabis, the All-Star game. We are going to capitalize on everything in 2020 we can.
SM: Can you talk about any new music in particular?
Metro: “TMS" is my new song and I wrote the hook with my mother and wife in mind.
SM: Who were your biggest influences growing up? Can you also talk about the background on your name, Metro Blac?
Metro: Some of my biggest influences non-musical my mother, my mother was always pushing me into art, I was into sports growing up. I had talent with the arts, specifically speech, there was really nothing I took too seriously, but my mother always had thought I had a knack for performance. I never felt that was the route I wanted to go until I got a little bit older. I would say as far as music goes, I would say Outkast. They were like the soundtrack to my upbringing. Their music, their style, their funk. They’re like weirdo’s but they’re not weirdo’s. I can kind of identify.
SM: What are you currently listening to?
Metro: A lot of frequency and music for meditation, as far as hip hop goes, Roddy Rich. I like Roddy because I love when someone can carry a great melody but still carry diction within his words. He speaks well. When I hear his voice and the way he approaches his artistry, I listen. He has a voice that captures my ear. I definitely listen to DaBaby. I am a big Travis Scott guy, but I also love Little Dragon, I got an extensive pallet. A lot of songs that are my songs I probably wrote it to an instrumental by Disclosure or Little Dragon, that’s always been my vibe, like big sounds and big beats. There are so many pockets you can add in. I like to play with words.
SM: Your beats sound crisp under your voice. Do you have a certain style that you would say fits you best? Like upbeat boom bap?
Metro: I feel like I can go on anything, when it comes to music for me I only release stuff that I felt like I gave the track what it needed. For me it’s, “Aww I can feel it,” I can feel my words, this is the spirit, the energy, the frequency that can go on that track. That’s how I am with my music; it has to feel like nothing else can fit the beat with what you did.
SM: Who are your biggest role models?
Metro: I’m a big Mansa Musa guy, the richest man that ever walked the earth. How he was ever to take riches, spread riches; build a kingdom, that’s very much so what I would like to do. As far as music goes, besides Outkast I would say Sam Cook, Etta James, and Chi Lights, there was a period where my Grandma and I would swap music, I was like listen to this. I would always make sure it was clean or not too heavy. People like Beyonce, Just Blaze, Swizz Beats so just looking at how other artists would be influenced by other artists and bringing that into the culture. I physically decided to be a rapper later in life, but I think that my extensive pallet in music and all the music that I got to experience has made me the artist I am now.
SM: What is your favorite thing to do away from music?
Metro: Anything and everything cannabis related. I’m all about my industry and what it does for my people, especially with my mom, wife and grandmother. I get to go to dispensaries and get to see people using our products and knowing what I’m doing is making a difference and helping people. I’ve been in sales my whole professional career, I’ve done commercial insurance, tech, I’ve even done consumer packaged goods, this is the first thing that I have sold where I’m actually helping people, I know the product, and there are also opportunities for us to help other people in the industry. I work for a company that is one of the largest in the state and the nation, and I can inform people about getting involved in the business. I’m very much so into putting on to other people.
Where my name comes from in Metro Blac--- I’m from the Westside of Chicago and my mother and I moved to Bronzeville when I was 9. Bronzeville is the black metropolis, and I’m a historian of the city of Chicago. From knowing the Columbian Expedition, Jackson Park off 63rd, The Ferris wheel actually being the south, the Chicago fire to Harold Washington and I’m totally into the history of our city, and how it helped shaped the US. Bronzeville is known as the black metropolis. My name is metropolis black, so I just go with Metro Blac and drop the "k" off of black, and its Metro Blac because its very much Bronzeville and bringing people together, and just knowing the streets, you can make a call and help somebody get out of a jam if you needed it.
SM: How do you balance a 9 to 5 and music?
Metro: It’s tough I will say, you got your passion about what you do, it never really stops, I got my times at work where I have to be locked in, then there are some downtime, I got 20 minutes I need 16 bars and a 4 bar hook, and I’ll write something down. If I got some free time I’ll take 20 minutes to myself. All right you got time for 8 bars, if I feel a hook, I’ll throw on an instrumental and practice something you wrote on your way to the train. Before my wife got sick, there was a time I would take 2 hours to carve out everything for music. Going through beats, rehearsing some verses, I have over 500 notes on my phone of things that I have written whether I have used them or not, there are things that I have written but I have to go back to, I’m kind of on this kick right now where I kind of want everything off the cuff.
SM: What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
Metro: Learn your process and commit to it, when I tell you, I got twenty minutes and take the twenty minutes to do something, musically whether it’s rehearsing, reciting or what not, learn how you work and then you’ll learn your peaks, it’s like being “super saiyan,” I know when I’m powering up and know when I need to go and be in solitude and focus on things, and I know when I need a bunch of people around me. I know when I need to be creative in certain ways; I don’t force myself. I work on natural melodies, you can't know your process when you're hot and you don't learn it, write it down and have an idea of how you work.