What Does Future and Metro Boomin’s Immediate ‘We Don’t Trust You’ & ‘Like This’ Success Mean for Hip-Hop in 2024?

For the second time in three weeks, a new standard has been set for single-week units moved in 2024. Two weeks after Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine debuted with a year-best 227,000 units, according to Luminate, Future and Metro Boomin have raised the bar to 251,000 with their first full-length collaborative album We Don’t Trust You.

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While the album easily tops the Billboard 200 with its impressive first-week mark — set almost entirely through streams, with the album’s 17 tracks racking up a combined 324.31 official on-demand U.S. streams in its debut frame — its explosive Kendrick Lamar team-up “Like That” bows atop the Billboard Hot 100, with four other songs from the project also entering the chart’s top 10. The song debuts with 59.6 million streams, the top mark for 2024 so far, with interest in it largely driven by Lamar’s fiery verse, which takes implied shots at fellow rap stars J. Cole and Drake.

What does the success of “Like That” and We Don’t Trust You tell us about hip-hop in 2024? And can the duo maintain their momentum through a second full-length project this year? Billboard writers discuss these questions and more below.

1. Future and Metro Boomin’s We Don’t Trust You post’s the year’s best first-week tally this week with its 251,000 units moved, good for an easy No. 1 debut. Is this performance particularly meaningful to either Future’s or Metro’s careers, do you think, or is it mostly just par for the course for two of the most consistently successful figures of hip-hop’s last decade?

Jason Lipshutz: On paper, the quarter-million debut of We Don’t Trust You may seem like part for the course for two of hip-hop’s most bankable stars — but considering all of the chatter around “Like That,” the multiple other songs launched into the top 10 of the Hot 100, the still-mighty streaming performance of the album 10 days after its debut and the potential of an imminent sequel, Future and Metro Boomin have kicked off the spring in dominant fashion, and their album has become the biggest story in rap. Metro was already ascending as a front-line star thanks to Heroes & Villains and Future is no stranger to the top of the charts, but this project has functioned as a commanding moment in both of their respective careers, and feels particularly meaningful for their legacies. 

Heran Mamo: The success of We Don’t Trust You reinforces Future and Metro’s consistency as chart-topping hitmakers, but the album’s performance is a little more meaningful to Future’s career. We Don’t Trust You marks his ninth No. 1 album, a feat he’s accomplished in 2015 (twice), 2016, 2017 (twice), 2019, 2020, 2022 and now 2024. This not only speaks to Future’s consistency, but also his longevity in the rap game and validates his continued ascent into rarefied air.  

If the second Future x Metro album that’s dropping in two weeks also goes No. 1, that means he will not only have earned his 10th Billboard 200 No. 1 album, but that he will have also notched two No. 1 projects in the same year in three different years: 2015 (What a Time to Be Alive and DS2), 2017 (Future and Hndrxx) and 2024. He’d tie Elvis Presley and Eminem for the eighth-most No. 1 albums and be in fourth place among rappers, after Jay-Z (14), Drake (13) and Ye (11). 

Michael Saponara: I’d lean Metro for sure. He made a name for himself carving out hits behind-the-scenes as a beat maestro, but now he’s elevated his brand to another level as a commercial superstar being billed as the lead artist on tracks/albums. Between the success of the Grammy-nominated Heroes & Villains and the visibility gained from helming the Spider-Verse soundtrack, Young Metro has shown versatility and can really take this winning streak in any direction he wants. With another bona fide solo project, Metro could overtake the lane DJ Khaled has occupied for the last 15 years or so if he pleases. It doesn’t sound like the train’s going to slow down either as MB promised at least three albums this year.

Damien Scott: Future and Metro’s We Don’t Trust You going No. 1 was expected. They are two of the biggest artists in rap right now, and this was one of the most anticipated albums of the past few years. Future and Metro are coming off the biggest solo projects of their careers with I Never Liked You and Heroes & Villains, respectfully. And, despite having worked together on numerous songs over the years, the two have never released an official joint project. (Sure, Metro produced the bulk of What a Time to Be Alive, but that vision was more Drake and Future’s own.) So, when Metro told Ebro the reason he didn’t have any songs on I Never Liked You was because he was saving tracks for a different Future project, everyone’s been amped to see what the two longtime collaborators cooked up together.

Andrew Unterberger: I don’t know that it’s necessarily that huge a breakthrough for either artist at this point in their respective careers, but it does show that Metro Boomin is an A-lister on par with all but maybe a handful of MCs in hip-hop right now. Lest we forget, Future’s full-length team-ups haven’t always gone so great: What a Time to Be Alive (with Drake) was something of a classic, sure, but when was the last time you listened to WRLD on Drugs (with Juice WRLD) or Pluto x Baby Pluto (with Lil Uzi Vert)? But there was little doubt that Future and Metro would make collaborative magic together — and indeed, passed even the 222,000 units that Future moved in the debut frame for his most recent solo effort, 2022’s I Never Liked You.

2. “Like That” also bows at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with the year’s best single-week streaming tally. Do you see the degree of its success as being mostly attributable to the firestorm surrounding Kendrick Lamar’s seeming callout of fellow superstars J. Cole and Drake? If Lamar’s verse had been similarly inspired but with less direct targeting, do you think the song still debuts at No. 1?

Jason Lipshutz: In the first few days of its release, I would have mostly chalked up its enormous streaming success to the curiosity factor around Kendrick’s verse… but now that the dust has settled a bit, “Like That” has established itself as a sledgehammer of a single, even in its first half before K. Dot arrives. The “Everlasting Bass” lift, the zonked-out Future hook and the “Eazy-Duz-It” schoolyard sing-along all serve as prelude to its guest star’s fury; even without the thinly veiled shots, everything about the song hums along effectively. “Like That” would have fallen out of rotation if it was solely based around some inflammatory lines, but Future and Metro Boomin engineered a standout track around the disses.

Heran Mamo: Dot’s diss is undoubtedly the biggest reason why “Like That” had such a splashy No. 1 debut. And he’s a straight shooter with no time for subliminal targeting. Just go back and listen to Big Sean’s 2013 track “Control,” where Kendrick called out 11 rappers – including J. Cole, Drake and even Sean – by saying, “I’m usually homeboys with the same n—as I’m rhymin’ with/ But this is hip-hop, and them n—as should know what time it is/…. I got love for you all, but I’m tryna murder you n—as.” He’s kept that same energy for over a decade.  

And while Dot has been nothing but direct, Drake has contained the sneak dissing to his Instagram captions (for now) — even though he and J. Cole have had prime opportunities to clap back more candidly during their It’s All a Blur Tour — Big As the What? Cole’s Dreamville Festival is coming up this weekend, so maybe we’ll hear something from either of them then. In Drake’s 2013 Billboard cover story, he didn’t have much to say and dismissed Dot’s diss on “Control.” “I didn’t really have anything to say about it. It just sounded like an ambitious thought to me. That’s all it was,” he said. “I know good and well that Kendrick’s not murdering me, at all, in any platform. So when that day presents itself, I guess we can revisit the topic.” Well, Aubrey, I believe the time has come.  

Michael Saponara: I think there’s a good chance it still debuts at No. 1, but by not nearly as wide of a margin. “Like That” still would have been a standout on the collab effort but the massive buzz from K. Dot taking aim at Drizzy and Cole only boosted the track to another stratosphere. For Metro and Future, they were mostly competing with themselves — as “Type S–t” featuring Playboi Carti and Travis Scott would have been the other option heading for the top slot. 

Damien Scott: “Like That” debuting at No. 1 on the Hot 100 is very likely due to Kendrick going at Drake and J. Cole. That’s not to say the song needed the verse. The track was already a standout on the album before Kendrick’s verse started. As soon as you heard Future sliding over the “Everlasting Bass” sample, you knew the song was going to be special. The Kendrick verse was just the icing on the cake. There’s an argument to be made that Future’s verses are better but, come on — this is rap. There’s no denying how exciting a good battle is. Especially when it involves the best in the game. It’s rare when a rap diss is also a great song. You can count them on your fingers and have some digits to spare. So, it’s not surprising people went so crazy for it that it topped the charts.

Andrew Unterberger: The year’s-best marks wouldn’t have happened without the drama, I don’t think, but a blistering Future & Metro Boomin song with a rare fire-breathing cameo from Kendrick Lamar? That certainly sounds like a recipe for a No. 1 to me, almost regardless of subject matter. The fact that “Like That” is actually good is as important as the fact that it started the year’s biggest hip-hop s–tstorm, certainly.

3. Between Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hiss” and “Like That,” we’ve now seen two rap diss tracks debut at No. 1 in 2024, where at this point last year we still hadn’t had a single rap song of any kind reach the chart’s apex. Why do you think beef is moving the needle like this in 2024 — and do you agree with Metro that the success of song and single here is a sign that hip-hop is alive and well?

Jason Lipshutz: Celebrity gossip is always going to be highly valued currency: regardless of the medium, “Did you see what THIS famous person said about THAT famous person?” remains a vital component in popular culture. Rap beef is obviously not a novel concept, although the A-list players involved in both “Hiss” and “Like That” are enough to transcend hardcore hip-hop fans and reach casual listeners who want to crane their necks and see what’s going on. And the fact that modern rap contains such larger-than-life personalities that the greater population is interested when they’re fighting speaks to how healthy popular hip-hop is right now.

Heran Mamo: It’s damn near impossible not to be tuned into beef if you’re a rap fan. Songs like “Hiss” and “Like That” will have you sitting on your couch, snacking on popcorn and scrolling through your phone to see which rapper is taking shots next and who they’re targeting and how it’s going to escalade. Diss tracks evoke larger conversations not just online but also IRL, and those who need to be up to speed on what’s happening inevitably have to listen to the songs that ignited it all, which have allowed “Hiss” and “Like That” to shoot to No. 1.  

This level of competitiveness and s–t-talking is at the core of hip-hop’s spirit, so I definitely agree with Metro that the genre is alive and well. We’re 14 weeks into the year, and out of the nine Hot 100 No. 1 songs we’ve had, four have been rap songs: “Lovin on Me” by Jack Harlow, “Hiss,” “Carnival” by ¥$: Ye and Ty Dolla Sign feat. Rich the Kid and Playboi Carti, and “Like That.” Rap is off to a great start in 2024, especially compared to where it was at this point in 2023, so I have high hopes for the genre.  

Michael Saponara: Controversy sells. Hip-hop has been built on its fair share of historic feuds over the years and while the landscape of rap beef has changed its warfare tactics with the introduction of social media, fans are always going to indulge when the competitive juices get flowing in battle. It seems like social media is extending the shelf life of diss records at times with beef maintaining a buzz in the culture longer than traditional songs, which feel more disposable than ever. Hip-hop is definitely “alive and well,” with three rap albums and four different rap songs reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 charts after what felt like a possible slip thanks to a quieter 2023 commercially.

Damien Scott: Social media has also played a big part in moving rap away from lyrical sparring. Instead of throwing on a beat and making a song, a lot of artists now just take to Instagram or TikTok or X to tell their fans why they’re better than their competition. So, when an artists actually do engage in a real battle — especially the biggest rap artists in the world — people’s ears perk up and fans get excited. I don’t know if I agree that it’s a sign that hip-hop is alive and well, after all, these guys have been around for at least 15 years. Meg is the youngest out of all of them at 29. That said, it is a sign that all is not lost. Hopefully, younger artists see the success of these songs and see that some of the traditional elements of the genre are worth saving.

Andrew Unterberger: Rumors of rap’s demise have long been greatly exaggerated — just because hip-hop isn’t displaying the cartoonish level of dominance it did in 2018 doesn’t mean it isn’t still easily the biggest genre in popular music. But is this particular evidence of hip-hop being in a good, healthy place? I dunno. Certainly, it never hurts to have the genre providing music’s biggest action of the season, but the fact that all the names involved in this particular drama are ones who’ve been part of rap’s ruling class for a decade already, at least partially reheating old beefs, doesn’t strike me as the most important indicator of the genre’s current vitality. When we see credible 25-and-under challengers to the throne mixing it up with the so-called Big Three, that’s when I’ll really be excited for hip-hop’s alive-and-wellness.

4. While “Hiss” was able to achieve tremendous first-week excitement, it was not able to sustain it: within a month and a half, it was off the Hot 100 entirely. Do you see “Like That” having a similar trajectory, or do you think it’s in it for the long haul?

Jason Lipshutz: Long haul, for sure. Not only is Kendrick Lamar’s verse on “Like That” a more explosive takedown than Megan’s disses, but the song around it is more compelling than “Hiss”; plus, the early streaming returns in its second week suggest that “Like That” is still earning plenty of plays even as the controversy has quieted down a bit. Although it’s only been a week and a half, I think “Like That” has a chance to be one of the biggest hits of 2024.

Heran Mamo: If the beef continues and intensifies, “Like That” could have a longer run on the Hot 100. I’ve seen a lot of TikTok videos of fans praising Metro’s expert sample of Rodney-O and Joe Cooley’s 1986 track “Everlasting Bass,” so they’ve found other elements of the song (outside of Kendrick’s headline-making verse) to hold onto. But I’ve also seen a lot of Photoshopped rap Avengers posters on the internet that suggest “Like That” has initiated a larger war, which suggests it could have longevity.  

I’m curious to see if there’s going to be another buzzier track on their upcoming second album. At this point, the only thing that’s going to be bigger than a Kendrick Lamar-featuring diss track against Drake and J. Cole is a track with 21 Savage that solidifies which side he’s on, considering that’s what a lot of people have been wondering about, given the rapper’s tight-knit relationship with both Metro and Drake.

Michael Saponara: “Like That” is going to stick around for the long haul as I expect We Don’t Trust You to remain a commercial juggernaut for the foreseeable future. The only thing that could be tricky here is Metro and Future outdoing themselves with another project on the way in a couple of weeks. The Nicki Minaj-Megan Thee Stallion feud burned bright and burned fast. With Megan releasing “Hiss” independently and the serpentine-themed track not really catching on at radio (No. 40 peak on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart), it didn’t have the staying power for a mainstream hit. 

Damien Scott: Again, “Like That” is a great song despite the Kendrick verse. Because it’s already getting radio play, playlist placements — and, according to some anecdotal evidence, getting spun in the club — there’s a good chance of this song sticking around. Even if it falls from number one, I think it will stay in the top 10 as people anticipate a response from Drake and J. Cole. “Hiss,” while a good song, didn’t have the momentum “Like That” now enjoys, likely because many didn’t expect much to come of Megan’s beef with Nicki Minaj.

Andrew Unterberger: I think it’ll stick around — but I also thought that about “Hiss,” and was quickly proven wrong, so I’m a little more hesitant to be so bullish this time around. I also would’ve pegged “Texas Hold ‘Em” and then “Carnival” as long-lasting No. 1s, and they seem to be tapping out at a combined three weeks on top. There’s just a lot going on this year, with more big names and big songs getting into the game every week, and folks seem to be moving on from last week’s news a little quicker than they have the past couple years.

5. A second full-length teamup is supposedly due from Future & Metro later this month. Do you think they can build on this excitement and do even better the second time out, or is some commercial recession inevitable coming so soon after the first time?

Jason Lipshutz: I’d expect some commercial recession, but who knows! Maybe there’s another song on Part II that’s even more incendiary than “Like That,” or something that comments on the existing controversy around Kendrick’s verse. Topping the biggest debut week of the year a few weeks later is a tall order, but depending on what’s actually on the album, anything is possible.

Heran Mamo: Putting out two full-length albums only three weeks apart is ambitious, and outside of “Like That,” I would’ve liked to see other standout tracks like “Type Shit” cook a little more before serving fans an entirely different menu. However, dropping back-to-back projects is a signature Future move: He had a legendary run in 2014-2015 when he released three mixtapes in five months – Monster, Beast Mode and 56 Nights – that successfully set him up for his culturally influential DS2 album, which earned Pluto his first Billboard 200 No. 1 album. Two months later, he completed his victory lap when he teamed up with Drake (RIP to that duo) for What A Time To Be Alive, which Metro executive produced, and it earned him his second No. 1 album. He did it again in 2017, when he dropped Future and Hndrxx one week apart from each other, and both topped the Billboard 200. Given his track record, the new set could one-up We Don’t Trust You.  

Michael Saponara: A minor commercial recession seems inevitable with the years-long anticipation behind We Don’t Trust You and Kendrick Lamar throwing gas on the fire taking it to new heights. Although, I could envision a scenario where the hype is through the roof if Drake somehow responds to “Like That” in the time until the next project’s arrival, addressing the OVO static with Future and Metro. 

Damien Scott: Some commercial recession is inevitable. Just look at the last time Future released back-to-back albums. In 2017, when he dropped Future and Hndrxx a week apart, the second of the two, the more impassioned Hndrxx didn’t perform as well as the first offering. Granted, Future, in a way similar to We Don’t Trust You, was helped greatly by a viral Metro-produced single, “Mask Off.” The song took off on social media becoming a meme and inspiring tons of TikTok videos. None of the singles from Hndrxx enjoyed the same sort of virality. Without another hit that completely and utterly dominates the conversation, it’s safe to say we’ll see a dip, even if slight, in the performance of the upcoming project.

Andrew Unterberger: Really depends what they have up their sleeve for Vol. 2. Doesn’t seem like Future and Metro would unleash a first volume with as big a secret weapon as “Like That” buried in its tracklist and not have something similarly major planned as the ace in the hole for its follow up. Will be hard to compete with the consensus best rapper of his generation calling out the unquestionable biggest rapper of his generation, but I’d bet it’ll still be something to capture a lot of eyes and ears.




Source From: www.billboard.com

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