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, producer, 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 in 2014.
September 13, 1978
The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
Dean later found a protégé in Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy, whose success helped the launch of his own label imprint, Full Surface Records. He went on to sign multiple artists to the label, including Eve and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, among others. Dean also went on to release two albums under the label; the first was a compilation, titled Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, released in 2002, in conjunction with DreamWorks Records. He later released his debut studio album, One Man Band Man, in 2007.
Swizz Beatz has produced multiple hit singles for several prominent artists throughout various music genres, such as hip hop, pop, soul and R&B. His catalog includes "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" (DMX), "Banned from T.V." (Noreaga), "Gotta Man" (Eve), "Jigga My Nigga" (Jay-Z), "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 2010–11 academic year. About.com ranked him number 27 on its list of the "Top 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Producers," while The Source placed him on its list of the "20 greatest producers" in the magazine's 20-year history. Fellow American rapper and music producer Kanye West has also praised Dean, calling him "the best rap producer of all time." Dean is married to American singer Alicia Keys, with whom he has two children.
Life and careerEdit
1978–2006: Early life and career beginningsEdit
Due to his parents' separation in his early life, Dean did not see much of his father, who was a postal worker and immigrant from Eritrea. Beatz is of Irish descent. He spent much of his childhood raised by his mother in the North East Bronx, where he first encountered hip hop. After obtaining the necessary equipment from his stepfather and uncles, he began deejaying as a teenager and enjoyed a modicum of success. After relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, due to his repeated involvement in violent behavior at Harry S. Truman High School, he started to work for his uncles, Joaquin and Darrin Dean, who were co-CEOs of the Ruff Ryders record label. In his early work, he generally chose not to sample, instead using the Korg Trinity and Triton keyboards and seeking to accentuate the performance aspect of his music.
With his uncles Dee and Waah, as well as his aunt Chivon Dean, all involved with the Ruff Ryders Entertainment record label, Swizz Beatz 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, as well as the bulk of Eve's debut album. In 2001, in a joint venture with Clive Davis, Swizz Beatz established his own record label, Full Surface Records, which became a subsidiary of J Records. The first artist signed was Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy.
When Swizz Beatz released his first compilation album Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, in 2002, he began to get noticed for his production style and interesting ideas, as well as his protege and artist, Cassidy, who also started to gain recognition for his ability as well. The same year, Swizz Beatz released two singles, "Guilty" and "Bigger Business", both of which charted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. 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: Full Surface and One Man Band ManEdit
In February 2007, design duo Heatherette staged their Fall 2007 New York Fashion Week runway show, and Swizz Beatz was asked to mix the music. In June 2007, Swizz Beatz produced and was featured on his Full Surface artist Cassidy's comeback single, "My Drink n My 2 Step", following a murder trial and a car accident. The song proved to be a hit, reaching the Top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. On August 21, 2007, Swizz Beatz released his solo debut studio album, One Man Band Man. The album, preceded by the lead singles "It's Me Bitches" and "Money in the Bank", sold 45,000 copies in its first week. 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.
Later that same year, Swizz Beatz signed former Ruff Ryders cohorts and longtime friends, Drag-On and Eve, to Full Surface Records. 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.
2008–present: Monster Music GroupEdit
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."
In March 2009, Swizz Beatz released a song titled "You Stay on My Mind". 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. 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.
On August 23, 2010, he revealed his second album's title would instead be Haute Living. While being interviewed on BBC Radio, he announced that he was planning to release it on September 13, to coincide with his birth date. 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.
On February 12, 2010, he and 81 other artists including Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Jamie Foxx, Will.i.am, 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.
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 monstermondays.com on March 28, 2011. In an April 2011 interview with Paper Mag, Swizz Beatz revealed that a few yet-to-be-released special collaborations will appear on the album including one titled "Skyscrapers" featuring Kanye West and Bono: "We got this song–it's me, Bono and Kanye on this one song called “Skyscrapers.” I recorded with Kanye in the studio and then I recorded with Bono in this actual studio right here. Mary J. Blige is on the album too; John Legend. But they're all on the album in super amazing ways. It's not like a compilation–it's a nice mixture of creativity. I had no boundaries with it; I had great partners on the album–Reebok was supporting me.
In May 2011, during an interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra's DJ Semtex, Swizz Beatz announced the release of his upcoming third solo album Haute Living, would be released on his birthday, September 13, 2011. In July 2011, Swizz Beatz said instead of releasing all of the songs at once, he would release the tracks over an extended period of time: "Let me clarify: Haute Living is still coming, but as far as releasing all on one day, I'm not doing that no more,” he said. “I want to just drop singles from Haute Living instead of 'I'm coming on September 13.' I'm like, 'You know what? Let me make every song an event, instead of just that one day being an event.'"
Swizz Beatz and his Monster Music Group signed a joint venture with Imagem Music USA. 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 Musicman Ty and Naki "Snagz" Levy were the first acts to sign with Monster Music Publishing, and on May 21, 2011, he further confirmed that Dr. Dre was working on the album with him.
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, "Street Knock". On March 22, 2012, "Street Knock" featuring ASAP Rocky was premiered on "The Angie Martinez Show". 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. On November 2, 2012, he released a new single titled “Everyday Birthday”, featuring Chris Brown and Ludacris. Swizz Beatz produced the song with Jukebox. On August 23, 2013, he released "Hands Up", a new single featuring American rappers Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and 2 Chainz.
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.
Swizz also paints in his free time. He donates the money he earns from his paintings to the Children's Cancer & Blood Foundation.
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.
In early 2013, Swizz Beatz invested in and joined the board of Monster, and became involved in product management and marketing activities. Monster products that he is promoting include the Monster GODJ and the Monster 24K headphones.
Dean is a Muslim. On October 25, 2000, he fathered his first son, Prince Nasir Dean, with Nicole Levy. In 1998, Dean met American songwriter Mashonda Tifrere, and the two subsequently began dating. In 2004, Dean and Tifrere married. In December 2006, their son, Kasseem David Dean, Jr. was born. Their first child died in a miscarriage. 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 in August 2009. Nicole Dean lives with her mother Jahna Sebastian in London all the time, where she is raising her.
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 their first child together. 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. Dean married Alicia Keys on the French island of Corsica on July 31, 2010. Alicia Keys gave birth to their son Egypt Daoud on October 14, 2010. On July 31, 2014, it was confirmed that Dean and Keys were expecting their second child together, 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).
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.”
- One Man Band Man (2007)
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2011||"Fancy" (with Drake & T.I.)||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated||
|"On to the Next One" (with Jay Z)||Won|
|Best Rap Song||Nominated|
|2017||"Famous" (as songwriter)||Nominated|||
|"Ultralight Beam" (as songwriter)||Nominated|
- Urban Music Awards
- 2009, Best Producer (won)
- Some sources[which?] indicate his name at birth was Kasseem Daoud Dean.
- Tanzer, Myles (2010-11-24). "Swizz Beatz Named NYU "Producer in Residence"". NYU Local. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- "Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers". Rap.about.com. 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- Mello Melanin (2008-08-24). "The Rap Beat Creator: Make Your Own Beats!!!: The Source Magazine Picks 20 Greatest Producers". Createrapbeats.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- Langhorne, Cyrus (2010-08-14). "Kanye West Calls Swizz Beatz "The Best Rap Producer Of All Time" and also produced West's new song on The Life of Pablo, "Famous."". Sohh.Com. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- "I'm twenty percent Irish" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxptVGPmdIE&feature=youtu.be&t=59s
- "Universal Music Publishing". Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- DisCogs entry. Swizz Beatz at Discogs. Discogs. Accessed August 23, 2007.
- "FASHIONWEEK Fall 2007: Follow the Heatherette Brick Road for Fall". FashionTribes. February 8, 2007. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
- "Official Website of Swizz Beatz". Retrieved May 17, 2010.
- "'High School Musical 2' Hangs On Atop Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
- "Swizz Beatz profile". JPop.com. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
- "Hip-Hop News, Rap Music - XXL".
- "Apr 12 - Eve Signs Joint Venture With Swizz Beatz And Dr. Dre". Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "404 Page Not Found". Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "Bun B and Swizz Beatz". Format Magazine Urban Art Fashion. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "New Swizz Beatz "You Stay On My Mind"".
- "Swizz Beatz- You Stay On My Mind". 13 March 2009.
- "Pardon Me Duke » Blog Archive » "You Stay On My Mind" – Swizz Beatz".
- Hennessy Black Cognac Promotes w/Swizz Beats' When I Step In the Club Video, Up/Down Dance Contest
- "Swizz Beatz Renames Third Album ‘Haute Living'". The Boombox. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- Horowitz, Steven J. (2011-05-30). "Swizz Beatz Announces "Haute Living" Release Date". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- Ryon, Sean (2010-11-29). "Swizz Beatz Previews New Album, Introduces New Artist". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- Swizz Beatz Presents Monster Mondays
- "Swizz Beatz Launches Free MP3 Series Monster Mondays". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "Swizz Beatz Presents Monster Mondays". Monstermondays.com. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
- "Swizz Beatz Reveals Track With Kanye & Bono On ‘Haute Living'". Hiphop-n-more.com. 2011-04-21. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
- http://hiphopdx.com, HipHopDX -. "Swizz Beatz Announces "Haute Living" Release Date".
- "Swizz Beatz Clarifies Haute Living Rollout, Lil Wayne Track".
- "Group News". Imagem. 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- Don Bleek (May 17, 2012). "New Label Home: Swizz Beatz Signs Joint Venture With Imagem Music". yodonbleekraps. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
- Stacey Anderson. "Swizz Beatz Revealed as Silent Partner, CEO of Megaupload". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- Horowitz, Steven J. (2012-03-07). "Swizz Beatz Enlists Nas, DMX, The LOX, Rick Ross & A$AP Rocky For New Mixtape". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
- "WORLD PREMIER: *NEW* SWIZZ BEATZ". theangiemartinezshow.com. 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
- "Video: Swizz Beatz Reveals The Knicks' 2012-2013 Theme Song". The UPROXX Team. 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2013-09-17.
-  Archived September 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- Ramirez, Erika (2012-11-02). "Swizz Beatz Debuts Chris Brown, Ludacris-Assisted 'Everyday Birthday': Listen". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
- "Swizz Beatz's Everyday Birthday" VIDEO TRAILER Ft. Chris Brown & Ludacris + Bobby V's "Put It In" VIDEO SHOOT Ft. K. Michelle". theybf.com. 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
- "New Music: Swizz Beatz Feat. Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz & Lil' Wayne 'Hands Up'". Vibe. 2013-08-23. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- Dan Rys (29 September 2015). "Swizz Beatz Will Host the 2015 Global Spin Awards". XXL. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
- Carolyn Menyes (29 September 2015). "Global Spin Awards 2015: Swizz Beatz Hosts, Calvin Harris, DJ Khaled Lead Nominations". Music Times. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
- "Kid Robot by Swizz Beats the Monster". Celebrity Clothing Line. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "Swizz Beatz Teams Up With Reebok For Line Of Sneakers". BallerStatus.com. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "radioplanet.tv". Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "The Dean Collection". WideWalls. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
- "Top 20 Countdown: Swizz Beatz Discusses "The Dean Collection" at SCOPE Miami". VH1 News. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
- "11 NBA Teams Now Worth Over $1 Billion". BallerStatus.com. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "Rami George Icons: Kasseem Dean/Swizz Beatz". R.G. Holland. November 2012.
- Pham, Alex. "Swizz Beatz Joins Monster as Investor, Board Member" Billboard February 6, 2013. Retrieved on December 5, 2013.
- "Can Swizz Beatz Match Dr. Dre's Monster Legacy?" Forbes February 7, 2013. Retrieved on December 5, 2013.
- Heriyanto, Ali. "Monster GO-DJ is First True Example of Swizz Beatz Partnership" ChipChick November 21, 2013. Retrieved on January 14, 2014.
- Murphy, Meaghan. "Holiday gift guide: This year's fashion must-haves" Fox News November 25, 2013. Retrieved on January 14, 2014.
- "Swizz Beatz Purchases Co-Ownership Stake in Monster, Joins Advisory Board". Business Wire. 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- Video on YouTube
- Video on YouTube
- "Swizz Beatz Biography". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
- "''Vibe Magazine'' Part 1 Mashonda Cover Story Interview". Vibe.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "Mashonda Still Crying A River Over Swizz & Alicia Keys + Interview". Chicagofabulousblog.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- Mike Winslow (July 15, 2010). "Swizz Beatz Affair With Alicia Keys Drove Mashonda To Pills; Sleepless Nights". Allhiphop.com. Archived from the original on September 5, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "Mashonda Confronts Alicia Keys About Swizz Beatz… Via Twitter". Vibe. 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2016-12-10.
- "Jahna Sebastian: Swizz Beatz is a good father to our daughter". 11 March 2014.
- "Swizz Beatz Spends QT With His 2 Year Old Daughter Nicole, Releases Behind The Scenes Footage With Alicia Keys For "Speechless"". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Swizz Beatz Brings Kaseem & Nasir To London For Daughter Nicole's Birthday Party". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Pop Star Jahna Sebastian Produces Mother's Day Photoshoot that Inspires the #LilGodess Art Challenge". rezul.com/. 5 May 2015.
- Laudadio, Marisa (May 27, 2010). "Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz Are Engaged – and Expecting!". People. Time. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- "Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz Receive Zulu Blessing in Africa". Rap-Up. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- Baertlein, Lisa (August 2, 2010). "Alicia Keys Marries Swizz Beatz". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "Pals: Alicia Keys Is Secretly Engaged!". US Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
- Greer, Carlos (October 15, 2010). "Alicia Keys Has a Baby Boy". People. People. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- Vokes, Sophie (2014-07-31). "Alicia Keys Pregnant, Expecting Second Child With Swizz Beatz - Us Weekly". Usmagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "The Fund for HHC Announces Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean Will Serve as First HHC Global Ambassador". Nyc.gov. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "Power Moves: Swizz Beatz Accepted To Harvard Business School". Vibe. 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "Bronx Week 2014 kicks off". NY Daily News. 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "BET Breaks: Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys' Son Is a Credited Music Producer". BET.com. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
- "53rd Annual Grammy Awards Winners". The Recording Academy. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Complete List of Nominees for the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards". E! News. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Complete List of Nominees for the 2017 Grammys". Billboard. Retrieved 6 January 2017.