Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig was also a Grammy voter for the first time this year. So of course, the awards were a big topic on the latest episode of his Beats 1 show Time Crisis. Koenig gave his predictions about who would win the Big Four categories (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist) and mentioned that he voted for Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. and Lil Uzi Vert‘s “XO TOUR Llif3.” He also discussed his support for Metro Boomin, who was notably snubbed in the Producer of the Year category despite his prolific year. Koenig felt intensely enough about it to dedicate brief monologue near the end of the show:
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.
With the exception of Post Malone (and “Black Beatles”—that’s a Mike WiLL Made-It production), all of the songs Koenig mentioned are the respective artists’ highest charting hits. “I was very disappointed to see that,” Koenig said in conclusion about the snub. “I was like, ‘Man, that would go such a long way in terms of making people feel like the Grammys was remotely paying attention to what’s going on.'” Hear Koenig’s Grammy talk starting at the 38-minute mark and the Metro Boomin discussion at 1:53.