Music

Metro Boomin and Future’s Mastering Engineer Reveals Their Secret Sauce

Joe LaPorta understands the fast-paced nature of rap music. “[When I left New York University], the industry was completely different,” says the 44-year-old mastering engineer who has worked with everyone from Imagine Dragons to Miley Cyrus to, most recently, Future and Metro Boomin. “It was still a physical medium. There were a lot more planned releases. There wasn’t this freedom of being able to release things within a day of creating it.”

Future and Metro Boomin are both comfortable moving at today’s pace. The longtime collaborative duo recently released two albums less than a month apart, We Don’t Trust You and We Still Don’t Trust You. The GrandStand engineer began working with Metro Boomin nearly a decade ago, when the latter made his collaborative album Savage Mode with Atlanta MC 21 Savage. From there, LaPorta was consistently tapped to work on several other projects by the in-demand producer thanks to Metro’s “right-hand man,” Ethan Stevens, a recording engineer with executive producer credits to his name.

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LaPorta says the two artists wanted their latest full-lengths to feel like throwback Future releases, incorporating dusty soul samples and ’80s boom bap while retaining Future’s classic trap sound. “We have this cool collaborative process where he hears how I master it, he may make some adjustments, I might have some suggestions for him,” LaPorta says. “We work really well like that.”

It’s a good thing to be that dialed in because whenever a project pops up, LaPorta says it’s usually coming out soon. His goal with the Future and Metro projects — both of which debuted atop the Billboard 200, with We Don’t Trust You charting a multiweek Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with “Like That” — was to make sure “everything is very consistent from track to track … There’s nothing more boring than a record that doesn’t have those ups and downs. [It’s] a good ride, and it’s constantly changing. That’s what’s so cool about these records.”

This story will appear in the April 27, 2024, issue of Billboard.

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