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Swizz Beatz

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Title: Swizz Beatz  
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Subject: Ryde or Die Vol. 1, Alicia Keys, Watch the Throne, Swing Ya Rag, Full Surface Records
Collection: 1978 Births, 21St-Century American Musicians, African-American Businesspeople, African-American Fashion Designers, African-American Male Rappers, African-American Muslims, African-American Record Producers, Alicia Keys, American Businesspeople in Retailing, American Fashion Businesspeople, American Hip Hop Djs, American Hip Hop Record Producers, American Music Industry Executives, American Painters, American People of Puerto Rican Descent, American Philanthropists, Artists from New York City, Businesspeople from New York City, East Coast Hip Hop Musicians, Grammy Award Winners, Living People, People from the Bronx, Rappers from New York City, Remixers, Ruff Ryders Artists, Songwriters from New York
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Swizz Beatz

Swizz Beatz
Born Kasseem Dean
(1978-09-13) September 13, 1978
The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Mashonda Tifrere (m. 2004; div. 2010)
Alicia Keys (m. 2010)
Children 5
Musical career
Associated acts
Website .com.swizzbeatzonlinewww

Kasseem Dean (born September 13, 1978),[n 1] better known by his stage name Swizz Beatz, is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer from New York City, New York. Born and raised in The Bronx, he began his musical career as a disc jockey (DJ) and has since added rapper, record executive, creative director and fashion designer, to his repertoire. At the age of 16, he gained recognition in the hip hop industry, through his friendship and work with East Coast rapper DMX and the Ruff Ryders Entertainment record label. Dean later found a protégé in Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy, whose success helped the launch of his own label imprint, Full Surface Records. Dean has released two albums under the label; the first was a compilation, titled Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, released in 2002. He later released his debut studio album, One Man Band Man, in 2007.

Swizz Beatz has produced hit singles for several prominent artists in various music genres, such as rap, pop, soul and R&B. His catalog includes "Party Up (Up in Here)" (DMX), "Check on It", "Ring the Alarm" (Beyoncé), "Good Times" (Styles P), "Bring 'Em Out" (T.I.), Hotel", "I'm a Hustla" (Cassidy), "Touch It" (Busta Rhymes) and much more. Swizz Beatz was named the first "Producer in Residence" at New York University, for the 2010–2011 academic year.[1] ranked him #27 on its list of the "Top 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Producers,"[2] while The Source placed him on its list of the "20 greatest producers" in the magazine's 20-year history.[3] Fellow American rapper and music producer Kanye West, has also praised Dean, calling him "the best rap producer of all time."[4] Dean is married to American R&B singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, with whom he has two children.


  • Life and career 1
    • 1978–2006: Early life and career beginnings 1.1
    • 2006–07: One Man Band Man 1.2
    • 2008–present: Monster Music Group 1.3
  • Other ventures 2
    • Fashion designer 2.1
    • Shoe designer 2.2
    • Art 2.3
    • Brand promoter 2.4
  • Personal life 3
  • Discography 4
  • Filmography 5
  • Awards and nominations 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Life and career

1978–2006: Early life and career beginnings

Due to his parents' separation in his early life, Dean did not see much of his postal worker father. He spent much of his childhood raised by his mother in the Triton keyboards and seeking to accentuate the performance aspect of his music.

With his aunt Chivon and uncles Dee and Waah Dean, all involved with the Ruff Ryders Entertainment record label, he began to produce tracks at age 16. A year later he sold his first beat to Ruff Ryders artist DMX, which became his chart-topping single "Ruff Ryders' Anthem". Swizz Beatz then began producing major hip-hop songs released in 1998 such as "Banned from T.V." by Noreaga, "Money, Cash, Hoes" by Jay-Z and more. The following year, he produced most of the songs of the Ruff Ryders compilation album Ryde or Die Vol. 1 and also produced the bulk of Eve's debut album. In 2001, in a joint venture with Clive Davis, he established his own record label, Full Surface Records, which became a subsidiary of J Records.[5] The first artist signed was Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy.

When Dean released his first compilation album Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, in 2002, he started to get noticed for his production style and interesting ideas and his artist Cassidy, began to gain recognition for his ability as well. The same year, he released two singles "Guilty" and "Bigger Business", both of which charted on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as well as being accompanied by music videos.[6] Along with often being associated with Ruff Ryders and Roc-A-Fella Records, Dean began to expand his scope to include production of artists from more mainstream labels such as Elektra, Atlantic, Epic, Def Jam and Bad Boy Entertainment. His career largely grew from that point.

2006–07: One Man Band Man

In February 2007, design duo Heatherette, staged their Fall 2007 New York Fashion Week runway show, and Dean was asked to mix the music.[7] On August 21, 2007, Swizz Beatz released his debut studio album, One Man Band Man.[8] The album, preceded by the lead singles "It's Me Bitches" and "Money in the Bank", sold 45,000 copies in its first week.[8][9] Two months later on October 19, he launched a contest called "Share the Studio", presented by Music Video 2.0 and The Source magazine. The contest was intended to be a continuation of the work from his debut album.[10]

Later that same year, Swizz Beatz signed former Ruff Ryders cohorts and longtime friends Drag-On,[11] and Eve, to Full Surface Records.[12] He also signed legendary Cleveland-based hip hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, where they later released their seventh studio album Strength & Loyalty in May, which Swizz Beatz executive produced.[13]

2008–present: Monster Music Group

In 2008, Dean began working on his second studio album. In late 2007, in an interview with Format Magazine he had announced the title as Life After the Party saying: "The opportunities that I’ve got from doing my album (One Man Band Man) are much bigger than just producing. A lot of things came from me being able to put a voice to my face. It was me just expressing myself and having the opportunity to – it was the one man band. And now I’m doing part two, which is Life After the Party."[14]

On April 24, 2009, he released a promotional song for Hennessy Black, entitled "When I Step in the Club". A music video, directed by Hype Williams, was also released.[15] In 2009, Swizz Beatz produced many popular singles including "Nasty Girl" by Ludacris featuring Plies, "Who's Real" by Jadakiss featuring OJ da Juiceman, "Million Bucks" by Maino, "Million Dollar Bill" by Whitney Houston, "I Can Transform Ya" by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne, and "On to the Next One" by Jay-Z.[5]

On August 23, 2010 he revealed his second album's title would instead be Haute Living.[16] While being interviewed on BBC Radio, he announced that he was planning to release it on September 13, to coincide with his birth date.[17] Rather than being released under his own imprint, the album is set to be released under his legal contract with Everest Entertainment/Atlantic Records/Warner Music Group, who signed the rapper in August 2010. In November 2010, Swizz Beatz previewed the album and confirmed guest appearances from Bono, Travis Barker, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Lenny Kravitz, Mary J. Blige and John Legend, as well as his wife Alicia Keys.[18]

On February 12, 2010, he and 81 other artists including Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Jamie Foxx,, and Usher, debuted "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" during the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Inspired by GOOD Fridays the 2010 weekly series of free mp3s from Kanye West, Swizz Beatz launched his own series entitled Monster Mondays later that year. The first offering, "DJ Play that Beat" featured Estelle, and was released on October 25. Other Monster Monday tracks feature Rakim, Pusha T, DMX, Busta Rhymes, Pharrell and many more.[19][20]

His first Grammy Award came in 2011, awarded in the category of Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for a track entitled "On to the Next One" teaming him with American rapper Jay-Z. The first promotional single from Haute Living was entitled "Everyday (Coolin')", features a verse from Eve, was produced by Joe Lindsay, and was released through on March 28, 2011.[21] He revealed during an interview with Paper Mag, that a few yet-to-be-released special collaborations will appear on the album including one titled "Skyscrapers" featuring Kanye West and Bono.

Swizz Beatz and his Monster Music Group signed a joint venture with Imagem Music USA.[23] In a press release, the artist confirmed his excitement at his upcoming partnership with Richard Stumpf and the entire group over at Imagem Music, saying: "This partnership will enable me to further develop my group of talented producers and also introduce many new producers and writers to the world”. Protegé Tyrone Johnson and Naki "Snagz" Levy are the first acts to sign with Monster Music Publishing,[24] and on May 21, 2011, he further confirmed that Dr. Dre was working on the album with him.[25]

On March 7, 2012, Swizz Beatz announced that he would be releasing a mixtape titled Limitless, featuring guest appearances from DMX, Nas, Rick Ross, The LOX and ASAP Rocky, the latter of whom is featured on the first single, "Sreet Knock".[26] On March 22, 2012, "Street Knock" featuring ASAP Rocky was premiered on "The Angie Martinez Show".[27] In October 2012, at the 2012-2013 New York Knicks Season Tip-Off event at the Beacon Theater on 73rd Street and Broadway, special guest Swizz Beatz performed a 10-minute medley of his hits, alongside the New York Knicks' City Dancers and premiered the starting line-up theme song for the upcoming season, which he produced.[28][29] On November 2, 2012, he released a new single titled “Everyday Birthday”, featuring Chris Brown and Ludacris. Swizz Beatz produced the song with Jukebox.[30][31] On August 23, 2013, he released "Hands Up", a new single featuring American rappers Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and 2 Chainz.[32]

Other ventures

Fashion designer

In 2003, he became a partner involved in the popular clothing company Kidrobot, a creator and retailer of limited-edition art toys and clothing.[5][33]

Shoe designer

On Twitter in 2010, Swizz Beatz revealed his new sneaker line with Reebok.[34][35]


Swizz Beatz is an avid art collector and connoisseur actively projecting and displaying his taste via Instagram. The curated collection of favourites was first introduced at SCOPE Art Show Miami Beach and has since become known as The Dean Collection, it includes work from emerging and well established artists including KAWS (artist),Keith Haring, Cleon Peterson, Ernest Zacharevic and Erik Jones.[36][37]

Swizz also paints in his free time. He donates the money he earns from his paintings to the Children's Cancer & Blood Foundation.[38]

Brand promoter

In 2010, Swizz Beatz become involved in the design and launch of the Aston Martin Rapide. In 2011, Swizz Beatz became the official face of Lotus cars until CEO Dany Bahar left the company. Subsequently, Swizz Beatz returned to Aston Martin for 2013.[39]

In early 2013, Swizz Beatz invested in and joined the board of Monster, and became involved in product management and marketing activities.[40][41] Monster products that he is promoting include the Monster GODJ[42] and the Monster 24K headphones.[43]

Swizz currently sits as the Vice President - Sports Style Marketing, Design, and Brand Music Development for global footwear and apparel giant Reebok.[44]

Personal life

Swizz Beatz with wife Alicia Keys, in Cannes, France, at the NRJ Music Awards ceremony, January 2013

Dean is a believer of the Muslim faith.[45][46] On October 25, 2000, he fathered his first son, Prince Nasir Dean, with Nicole Levy.[47] In 1998, Dean had met American songwriter Mashonda Tifrere, and the two subsequently began dating. In 2004, Dean and Tifrere married. In December 2006, their son, Kaseem David Dean, Jr. was born. Their first child had died as a result of a miscarriage.[48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58] In April 2008, they announced their separation and plans to divorce after four years of marriage. Their separation became public fodder. Swizz Beatz also has a daughter Nicole, born in May 2008 with UK singer-songwriter and producer Jahna Sebastian, who he found out about in July 2009 and acknowledged immediately. He flew to London to take the DNA test in August 2009 and Jahna has confirmed in an interview, that he is a great father.[59][60][60]

In May 2009, it was confirmed that Dean and Alicia Keys were in a relationship after almost a year of speculation. In May 2010, Beatz confirmed he was engaged to Alicia Keys, and that she was pregnant with his fourth and her first child.[61] During the time of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the couple took part of a union and had the unborn child blessed in a Zulu ceremony, which took place in the Illovo suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa.[62] Dean married Alicia Keys on the French island of Corsica on July 31, 2010.[63] Alicia Keys gave birth to their son Egypt Daoud on October 14, 2010.[64][65] On July 31, 2014, it was confirmed that Dean and Keys were expecting their second child together,[66] born Saturday, December 27, 2014; a baby boy, Genesis Ali Dean.

In 2012, Dean was appointed as the Global Ambassador for New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC).[67]

In April 2014, Dean was accepted into Harvard Business School.[68]

In May 2014, Dean was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame, where he received a street named in his honor, called “Swizz Beatz Street.”[69]



Awards and nominations

  • BET Hip Hop Awards
    • 2010, Producer Of the Year (won)
  • Grammy Awards
    • 2010, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group "On to the Next One" (won)
    • 2010, Best Rap Song "On to the Next One" [Nominated]
    • 2010, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group "Fancy" [Nominated]
  • Urban Music Awards
    • 2009, Best Producer (won)


  1. ^ Some sources indicate his name at birth was Kasseem Daoud Dean.


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