While rappers are associated with showy celebrations of success, the foundational hitmakers of hip-hop, the producers, are traditionally more low-key. Case in point: Legendary hip-hop producer No ID, who contributed all of the beats to Jay-Z’s groundbreaking 4:44 album for which both have been nominated for a number of Grammy Awards, gave an insightful interview to The New York Times‘ Joe Coscarelli, but downplayed any emotional outbursts, despite also being nominated for work on albums from Def Jam proteges Logic and Vic Mensa.
Instead, No ID — government name Dion Wilson — took the opportunity to share his views on work ethic and his unique insight into how veterans like himself and Jay-Z process the accolades that have come as a result of 4:44‘s critical acclaim. “I spoke with him briefly. We did the ‘Wow. Wow. Wow,’ you know?” he says of his first conversation with Jay after the Grammy announcements. “He always has a streak of confidence that shines through: “I knew we had something great. Let’s look at it in a year, two years, 10 years — that’s the test of time.” More than anything, we’ve both been in the industry so long, so as exciting as it is, it’s also not like a kid with a new toy. It’s more like, we worked really hard to achieve what’s going on.”
He also noted the cultural shift signified by the diversity of this year’s field of nominees, saying, “What they call urban culture is now pop culture. Sometimes the weather changes, the seasons change. We’re just in a season where the world loves this culture of music.” However, he remembers that this shift didn’t take place overnight or on its own. It took hard work, and it’s work No ID is still willing to put in. “Hey, if I have to be three times better, I want to be three times better… I’ve loved the appreciation that people have for it, but I moved on until today. I’ve got a philosophy I call ‘no dancing in the end zone.’ You score, get back and run another play.”