Ezra Koenig may be a respected songwriter in the indie circuit, largely in part to his acclaimed band Vampire Weekend, but he has certainly dabbled in hip-hop on occasion. The Vampire Weekend song “Step” featured Danny Brown on the remix, RZA appeared in one of their videos, and Koenig has been working on an original anime with SYRE artist Jaden Smith. Koenig has also written music for Beyonce, notably the Lemonade cut “Hold Up.” In short, the front-man has an ear to the genre, and as a Grammy voter, played a role in helping to dole out the accolades. Yet there was on particular snub that he couldn’t help but lament – that of Atlanta’s Metro Boomin for producer of the year.
On his Beats 1 show Time Crisis, Koenig revealed his votes for Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN and Lil Uzi’s “XO Tour Life,” before going off on a passionate rant about Metro’s snub, captured below by SPIN:
“There’s one category that I really thought was egregious, and that’s producer of the year. You’re filling out a million categories—you can’t remember everything you’ve voted for—but I remember when I was looking at Producer of the Year. And that’s a weird one because you get people from totally different genres: You might get a producer who’s produced five singles and a guy who produced one album. It’s weird for what qualifies you as producer of the year. And producer of the year is actually a pretty cool category, especially when we’re talking about racial balance, which has been historically a problem at the Grammys.
Producer of the Year, if you go back historically, is one of the few really important categories where you’d really see parity between black and white people—only men, so that’s a problem. So for Producer of the Year, as much as you get a lot of white dudes winning, you also have Pharrell, Babyface winning three times, Quincy Jones. It’s the one place you could say, “That award category, reflects the fact that so many massive contributions to American music have been by black and white people.” It’s not lopsided the way that other categories are.
Having said that, there has been a tendency to not reward young rap producers. Pharrell won it, but by that time, he’s already becoming this OG doing all sorts of stuff. Something that bothered me when I was looking at producer of the year—and [4:44 producer] No I.D. got nominated this year, and that’s cool—I saw Metro Boomin, and Metro Boomin is an amazing producer. But when I actually looked at what he produced this year, I was blown away. He produced a minimum five huge zeitgeist-defining hits: “Black Beatles” for Rae Sremmurd, “Mask Off” for Future, “Congratulations” for Post Malone…”Tunnel Vision” for Kodak Black. I looked at it and it was just like, it’s not just that he’s a cool producer: He legitimately produced these huge crossover rap songs. He had a really crazy year. Very few producers ever have years like that. He was the producer of the year.”
At the end of the day, Metro may not have the Grammy snub, but it’s clear that his mark has been felt throughout the musical community. As for Metro, the prolific young producer is seeking to expand his repertoire. He recently announced an upcoming collaboration album with Big Sean called Double Or Nothing, dropping soon. For all you Vampire Weekend fans out there, the band is currently working on their fourth studio album, slated for release at some point in 2018.