The producer of Jay-Z not I.D. in the Grammys: & # 39; Urban culture is now pop culture & # 39;



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Could you talk to Jay?

I spoke with him briefly. We did the "Wow". Wow. Wow, "you know, he always has a streak of confidence that shines:" I knew we had something great. Let's see it in one year, two years, 10 years: that is the test of time. "More than anything, we've both been in the industry for so long, as exciting as it is, it's not like a child with a new toy either, we work very hard to achieve what's happening."

There's a sense of joy For other reasons, I really enjoy the fact that that album meant a lot to him as a person and not just for the music industry, we do not pursue any of the standard things you do to achieve success. meet as a human being, not just for numbers, statistics or money, you have enough of that, it was just satisfying.

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Jay-Z received eight Grammy nominations for "4:44" an album in which he ordered a lifetime of demons, rumors and trauma.

Credit
Chad Batka for The New York Times

You're a veteran in hip-hop but not necessarily a household name. What does it mean to be nominated as producer of the year for this work with Jay, Vic Mensa and Logic?

I come from a very specific love for hip-hop. I'm saying hip-hop, not rap. That's what saved my life. I wear that badge with a lot of pride and honor, and I really enjoy trying to elevate the perception and the bar of what we do.

How do you think the Grammys have progressed in the way they treat black music, and especially the hip? -jump? A rapper has not won the album of the year since Outkast in 2004.

The only way I can see that is as a challenge. Outkast, the combination of rock and funk and blues and all kinds of musicality within their hip-hop, overcame the language barrier. We are talking about voters who may not know anything about hip-hop. If you stay focused on what you do, you master that. That's what Jay-Z represents to me. He wipes his way through these things. That is the only way I can see it with any sense of control of the situation. Hey, if I have to be three times better, I want to be three times better.

When you see this current crop of nominees, which has been praised for its diversity, what does it tell you about where popular music is? 2017?

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What they call urban culture is now pop culture. Sometimes the weather changes, the seasons change. We are in a season in which the world loves this culture of music. Now everyone is doing it, and some people have been doing it for a longer time. And then they are simply better. Infant [Gambino] is a teacher, Kendrick [Lamar] is a teacher. These are not just black people. Those guys are great.

Are you worried that Jay and Kendrick divide the hip-hop vote for the album of the year?

I'm not really worried about anything. Those voters will vote for what they believe. We have to do what we can to get most people to say that this is for the best. Someone told me the other day: if you're a kid and you're selling cookies, you might think you have the best cookies on the block. But if nobody else knows that, then it does not have the best cookies.

The last time we spoke, "4:44" was extremely recent, it ended days before it came out. How has your estimate of the album changed over time?

I have loved the appreciation that people have for him, but I continued to this day. I distanced myself and I've been studying, working hard, thinking of new things to bring music. I have a philosophy that I call "do not dance in the end zone." You score, come back and run another play.

Do you think the fact that "4:44" combined a rapper with a single producer resonated with the Grammy audience?

I guess probably yes. Some probably only heard it as a body of work that sounds like a body of work. That has always been key in other genres, albums that sound like albums. Cohesive. I think it's also a testament to what we can achieve by not following the fashion path, making albums a little too compilatory in their production. But I would still give it to [Jay-Z’s] honesty and I would mark his honesty as the last thing.

What does it mean for Jay's legacy that he was able to make an album of this caliber at the age of 47? Rap is so often the game of a young man.

Legacy, legacy, legacy . He is pushing the envelope. These limitations that he is called breaking, I never accepted them anyway. Of course it's great for your legacy. Deeper than that, it's great for the art of hip-hop, music in general. We do not have to discard people. The wine improves with time. So does art. This shows what an artist is.

Obviously, you can not think of "4:44" without Beyoncé's "Lemonade". If Jay is able to win one of the three great prizes that Beyoncé lost, would that be it? a redemption, or just make it worse for those loyal to "Lemonade"?

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My opinion is that it's not about the trophy. It really is about music. This is how I feel. If I take out my feelings and think about the way the world perceives it, there may be a certain amount of bittersweet redemption. That is the nature of its competitiveness. Trophies or no trophies, we all strive to make a really good art and help people to live with it. That is the victory.

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