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St. Louis-born music producer Metro Boomin honored with a key to the city

Mayor Tishaura Jones, far right, honors Leland “Metro Boomin” Wayne, kneeling at bottom, with a ceremonial key to St. Louis on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, at City Hall in downtown St. Louis.
Lara Hamdan
St. Louis Public Radio
Mayor Tishaura Jones, right, honors Leland "Metro Boomin" Wayne, kneeling, with a ceremonial key to St. Louis on Thursday at City Hall.

Before he catapulted into the musical stratosphere, Metro Boomin spent his formative years in the St. Louis area.

And on Thursday, Metro Boomin, the stage name of Leland Wayne, received one of the highest honors from St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones: a key to the city.

“Metro has a distinct ear for music composition, creating melodic, yet percussive beats, that you can't help but dance to,” Jones said. “It’s a bop, ya’ll. It’s a bop!”

Since emerging on the music scene in the 2010s, Metro Boomin has produced songs for musical giants including The Weeknd, 21 Savage and Drake. Some of the songs he helped produce, such as “Bad and Boujee” by Migos and “Mask Off” by Future, are considered seminal and revolutionary songs in the history of hip-hop.

Shorty Da Prince, a radio DJ and rapper who is also from St. Louis, said trying to point out the best song that Metro Boomin was involved with is a “trick question.”

“Ultimately, when you get these accolades and these awards, it’s because of the work you put in,” said Shorty Da Prince. “A lot of times people may see the fruits, but don't see the labor. And he's somebody who put the work in.”

Jones said that Metro Boomin also does important philanthropic work to help single mothers. Jones, who is a single mother of a high schooler, said Metro Boomin’s work “hits me right here in my heart.”

“There's so many single moms in this community who are working every day to take care of their babies, to work hard to be superheroes and to perform miracles for their children,” Jones said.

After receiving the key, a visibly emotional Metro Boomin said that instead of having a day honoring him, the day would instead be named for his mother. Leslie Joanne Wayne was killed in 2022 by her husband, who was not Metro Boomin’s biological father.

“This is only the beginning of all the great things that I want to do for the city to help turn things around one household at a time,” Metro Boomin said. “As far as today, the day is officially Leslie Joanne Day after my mother — and not after myself.”

When asked what her favorite Metro Boomin song was, Jones went with “Am I Dreaming” — which was featured in the movie “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

“Because I'm a Marvel fan,” Jones said. “Not DC. Marvel. So I'm just loving that one.”

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.