Mike Dean (record producer)

Michael George Dean (born March 1, 1965) is an American hip hop record producer, audio engineer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Houston, Texas. He is best known for recording and mixing songs and synthesizers for major artists across the American hip hop industry such as The Weeknd, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, 2Pac, Scarface, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Desiigner, Drake, Madonna, Selena Gomez, and Lana Del Rey. He has released four solo studio albums: 4:20 on April 20, 2020, 4:22, on April 22, 2021, Smoke State 42222 on April 22, 2022, and 4:23 on April 29, 2023.

Mike Dean
Birth nameMichael George Dean
Also known as
  • Freaky Dean
  • Vador
  • Synth God
Born (1965-03-01) March 1, 1965 (age 58)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
  • Record producer
  • audio engineer
  • songwriter
  • multi-instrumentalist
  • Guitar
  • keyboards
  • piano
  • bass guitar
Years active1983–present


Mike Dean started doing collaborations with numerous Texan artists, including Selena, for whom Dean served as musical director and producer. Dean first became widely known for pioneering the Dirty South sound in the 1990s, particularly in work for artists from Rap-A-Lot Records.[1][2] Dean has most notably worked alongside Scarface of the Geto Boys, Do or Die, Tha Dogg Pound, Yukmouth of the Luniz, C-Bo, Nate Dogg, Tech N9ne, UGK, Z-Ro, Devin the Dude, Outlawz, and 2Pac.[3]

Dean went on to mix, produce, and master widely throughout American hip hop. He has become known for producing work with Kanye West. After initially contributing to the mixing of West's albums The College Dropout and Late Registration, Dean contributed as producer on West's Graduation, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezus, The Life of Pablo, Ye, and Donda albums.[4] He also co-produced with West on his collaboration album with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne. Dean was an additional producer on "Mercy" and "Higher" on GOOD Music's 2012 compilation album Cruel Summer. Dean has made particularly heavy contributions on West's last albums, and is credited on most tracks.

In recent years, Mike Dean has served as a regular guitarist and keyboardist for Kanye West and Travis Scott at their live performances, headlining numerous music festivals, the Watch the Throne Tour, the Yeezus Tour and Travis Scott's Birds Eye View tour as well as the Astroworld - Wish You Were Here Tour. Dean has also been a frequent collaborator with Travis Scott. Dean's production has appeared on every one of Scott's musical bodies of work from 2013 to the present. In 2016, Dean mastered Frank Ocean's visual album Endless, wrote and produced tracks on Desiigner's mixtape New English, and produced Desiigner's single "Tiimmy Turner".[5][6]

In May 2017, Dean announced he was launching a record label by the name of M.W.A.[7] When asked what made him decide that now would be the best time to unveil his new record label, Dean responded: "Just a lot of new young artists that's been asking to get down with me and have me work on their projects and help them get deals. I figured I'd start a label and sign some new acts. Seems like a good time to start it. I got a studio out here [in Los Angeles] and I'm able to meet a lot of new artists."[7] When asked the meaning of M.W.A, Dean answered: "That's just what I call myself when I DJ. Mexican Wrestling Association. It's something that I've done with the merch, so I just figured I'd keep the name going."[7] He also revealed Dice Soho the first artist he signed to M.W.A: "One of my homies Gustavo Guerra brought [Dice Soho] to me. I think he's gonna be the next wave out of Houston. I picked him up. Dice has a nice swag."[7]

He released an instrumental mixtape, 4:20, on April 20, 2020.[8] On May 20, 2021, the Lana Del Rey single "Wildflower Wildfire" was released, which was produced by Dean. In an interview with Anthony Fantano before the song's release, Dean said that he was "planning on working with [Del Rey] a lot".[9]

Since 2022, Dean has had several further collaborations with The Weeknd, who Dean has worked with on the Weeknd's 2015 album Beauty Behind the Madness, as well as his single "Where You Belong" for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. Dean contributed live arrangements to the Weeknd's co-headlining performances with Swedish House Mafia at the 2022 Coachella festival. Dean has since been an opening act on the Weeknd's After Hours til Dawn Tour, during which his arrangements have been included in the Weeknd's shows. Dean also created a remix for the Weeknd's song "Starry Eyes" from his Dawn FM album, which Dean has performed live in his opening sets on the tour. Dean contributed the musical arrangements for the "After Hours Nightmare" Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses at Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood. In 2023, Dean contributed live arrangements to Metro Boomin's performances at Coachella, during which the Weeknd appeared as a special guest; Dean also appeared as a guest musician during 070 Shake's performance during the second weekend of the festival. He co-wrote and produced the Weeknd's single "Double Fantasy" featuring Future for the soundtrack of the Weeknd's upcoming HBO series The Idol, which Dean is part of the starring cast of, and which is set to premiere on June 4. Dean released his fourth mixtape, 4:23, which the Weeknd co-produced, on April 29.


List of studio albums
Title Album details
  • Released: April 20, 2020
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: digital download, streaming
  • Released: April 22, 2021
  • Label: MWA Music
  • Formats: digital download, streaming
Smoke State 42222
  • Released: April 22, 2022[10]
  • Label: MWA Music
  • Formats: digital download, streaming
  • Released: April 29, 2023
  • Label: MWA Music, Imperial
  • Formats: digital download, streaming

As featuring artistEdit

Production discographyEdit


Def Squad, Texas





































Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2023 The Idol TBA Main role [31]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Grammy AwardsEdit

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2005 The College Dropout (as engineer/mixer) Album of the Year Nominated [32]
2006 "Gold Digger" (as engineer/mixer) Record of the Year Nominated
Late Registration (as engineer/mixer) Best Rap Album Won
Album of the Year Nominated
2008 Graduation (as engineer) Nominated
Best Rap Album Won
"Good Life" (as songwriter) Best Rap Song Won
2012 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (as engineer/mixer) Best Rap Album Won
2013 "Ni**as In Paris" (as songwriter) Best Rap Song Won
"Mercy" (as songwriter) Nominated
2014 "New Slaves" (as songwriter) Nominated
2015 "Bound 2" (as songwriter) Nominated
2016 "All Day" (as songwriter) Nominated
Beauty Behind the Madness (as producer) Album of the Year Nominated
2017 Lemonade (as producer) Nominated
Purpose (as producer) Nominated
"Famous" (as songwriter) Best Rap Song Nominated
"Ultralight Beam" (as songwriter) Nominated
2019 "Sicko Mode" (as songwriter) Nominated
2021 Jesus Is King (as engineer/mixer) Best Contemporary Christian Music Album Won
2022 "Jail" (as songwriter) Best Rap Song Won
Donda (as producer and songwriter) Album of the Year Nominated
2023 Renaissance (as producer and songwriter) Nominated

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kelley, Frannie; Muhammad, Ali Shaheed (27 June 2013). "Mike Dean On Working With Selena, Scarface And Kanye". NPR. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  2. ^ Pikblo, J. (24 June 2013). "Kanye Producer Mike Dean Talks Yeezus". Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  3. ^ HipHopDX (15 February 2010). "Producer's Corner: Mike Dean". Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  4. ^ "Beat Construction: Mike Dean". Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Danny (28 June 2016). "5 Producers You May Not Know On Desiigner's "New English"". Hotnewhiphop. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  6. ^ Boykins, Austin (29 June 2016). "Desiigner Teases Upcoming "Timmy Turner" Track With Mike Dean". Hypebeast. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d "Mike Dean Talks Launching New M.W.A. Label & Signing First Artist Dice Soho". Billboard. May 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  8. ^ Strauss, Matthew (20 April 2020). "Producer/Multi-Instrumentalist Mike Dean Releases New Mixtape 4:20". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  9. ^ Newstead, Al (21 May 2021). "Surprise! Lana Del Rey just dropped three new songs". Triple J. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Mike Dean - Smoke State 42222". Apple Music. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  11. ^ Narozniak, Rachel (2020-08-10). "Carnage, The Martinez Brothers, Elderbrook, and Mike Dean get 'Together' [Stream]". Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on 2020-08-19. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  12. ^ "Sherm – Sherm Smoke". Discogs. 30 October 2001. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
  13. ^ "Listen To Kid Cudi's Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' Now". Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  14. ^ Mamo, Heran (January 10, 2020). "Selena Gomez Dreams of Adele Singing 'Lose You to Love Me' & 6 More Highlights From 'Rare' Release Party". Billboard. MRC. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  15. ^ Hermes, Will (January 14, 2020). "070 Shake Charts Inner Desire and Outer Space on 'Modus Vivendi'". Rolling Stone. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  16. ^ Draughorne, Kenan (March 30, 2020). "Review: Don Tolliver Steps Into The Spotlight On 'Heaven Or Hell'". HipHopDX. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  17. ^ Schwartz, Zachary (April 20, 2020). "Kanye West and Travis Scott Producer Mike Dean Releases His Long-Awaited Debut Album". Rolling Stone. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  18. ^ Brake, David Aaron (July 16, 2020). "Review: Pop Smoke's No. 1 Album Proves He Was A Star Outside Of 50 Cent & Quavo's Help". HipHopDX. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  19. ^ Elder, Sajae (August 10, 2020). "Burna Boy shares details about new album, Twice as Tall". The Fader. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  20. ^ Yang, Rachel (December 7, 2020). "Kid Cudi releases final album in Man on the Moon trilogy". Entertainment Weekly. Dotdash Meredith. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  21. ^ Groundwater, Colin (April 26, 2021). "Mike Dean's Playlist Is a Synth Voyage". GQ. Condé Nast. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  22. ^ a b Eustice, Kyle (December 3, 2021). "Producer of the Year Mike Dean on Kanye West's 'Chaotic' 'Donda' Sessions and Vibing With Lana Del Rey". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  23. ^ Pierre, Alphonse (October 13, 2021). "Don Toliver - Life of a DON". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  24. ^ "Mike Dean and Rich the Kid Link Up for New Song "Blue Cheese"". Complex. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  25. ^ Empire, Kitty (January 15, 2022). "FKA twigs: Caprisongs review – party tunes and hard-won notes to self". The Guardian. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  26. ^ "https://twitter.com/therealmikedean/status/1512280119598993408?s=46&t=xapq6zRUPT_0J78QUE9jIA". Twitter. Retrieved 2023-03-23. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Pusha T Releases New Album It's Almost Dry: Listen and Read the Full Credits". Pitchfork. 2022-04-22. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  28. ^ Ech, Joey (22 April 2022). "Pusha T, Blxst, Mike Dean and More - New Hip-Hop Projects This Week". XXL Mag. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  29. ^ "Megan Thee Stallion Unleashes Her New Banger "Plan B"". iHeart. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  30. ^ "Christine and the Queens is working on a new album". 9 November 2022.
  31. ^ Petski, Dade Hayes,Denise; Hayes, Dade; Petski, Denise (2022-08-21). "'The Idol': HBO Releases New Teaser For Music Industry Drama". Deadline. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  32. ^ "Mike Dean". GRAMMY.com. 15 December 2020.

External linksEdit