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Trap Meets Classical As Metro Boomin Is Backed by a Full Orchestra in Hollywood

The evening was a spectacular reminder that rap and trap music deserve to be in the same conversation as classical music.

Metro Boomin Performing at Red Bull Symphonic LA // Natalie Somekh / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202310271567 // Usage for editorial use only //

Standing on top of a giant DJ booth before a sold-out crowd and backed by a full symphonic orchestra, GRAMMY Award-winning producer Metro Boomin’ ran through nearly a decade of his hits at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on Thursday evening.

The show began with a slightly creepy computer-generated voice explaining to the audience that they were about to witness an unprecedented live event combining trap music with a live symphonic orchestra. 

"The duality of these two genres will blend in perfect harmony like a coin with two distinct faces," the voice said.

Metro's 25+ setlist opened with him dropping one of his signature "Metro!" adlibs followed by a roar from the sold-out crowd, before a string section consisting of more than two dozen handpicked musicians beautifully eased listeners into the introduction of 'Wicked,' a string-heavy 2016 banger by Future, co-produced by Southside and Metro Boomin'. 

Meanwhile, Metro controlled the 808 drum patterns that he and Southside helped pioneer from the DJ booth, positioned a couple of stories over the orchestra.

As the night progressed, so did the energy in the crowd. By the time Metro Boomin' got to his 2015 hit “Jumpman” with Drake and Future, nine tracks into his set, mind you, half the audience was on their feet dancing in between rows of seats like they were at an Atlanta strip club. 

The Red Bull-sponsored event attracted a who’s who of local tastemakers, including Do Knows from the Brown Bag Podcast and Randy Savvy from the Compton Cowboys, as well as streetwear clothing designers the Paisa Boys. In addition to musical icons such as Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas.

The West Coast premiere of the Red Bull Symphonic brought one of rap’s most successful producers and one of the most acclaimed conductors in the world to the same stage. Previously, Red Bull Symphonic worked with rapper and entrepreneur Rick Ross.

Led by conductor Anthony Parnther and music director/live show designer Laura Escudé, a hand-picked 43-piece symphonic orchestra worked with Metro Boomin’ to reimagine his chart-topping hits, which include collaborations with Kanye West, Future, Migos, and Post Malone.

Adorned in a black conductor’s tuxedo, white gloves, and an assortment of bling around his neck that still glistened in the light from the third floor of the Dolby Theater, Red Bull Symphonic surprised fans with special guests and performances by Swae Lee, Nav, and John Legend.

The performance was a seated event, but there were moments when the crowd couldn't contain themselves, and the Dolby Theater felt more like a packed club.

After a 90-minute performance that included nearly 30 tracks, a giant piano was wheeled on stage, and Metro Boomin’ closed out the night accompanied by John Legend, a 15-person choir, and an opera singer.

The evening was a spectacular reminder that rap and trap music deserve to be in the same conversation as classical music.

Below are some photos from the evening, courtesy of Red Bull.

Metro Boomin and Anthony Parnther at Red Bull Symphonic on Los Angeles, CA, USA on October 26, 2023 // Greg Noire /
Attendees at Red Bull Symphonic in Los Angeles, CA, USA on October 26, 2023 // Greg Noire
Anthony Parnther Conducting at Red Bull Symphonic LA // Natalie Somekh
Photo courtesy of Kirby Gladstein.
Kirby Gladstein / Red Bull Content Pool.

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