Kasseem Dean (born September 13, 1978), better known by his stage name, Swizz Beatz, is an American record producer, DJ, rapper and painter. At the age of 17, he gained attention in the hip-hop world through his friendship with rapper DMX. Grady Spivey and rapper Cassidy helped launch his label Full Surface Records. He is married to R&B superstar Alicia Keys and has one child with her, as well as three other children.
1998–2002: Music beginnings
With his uncles (Chivon, Dee, and Waah Dean) involved with the Ruff Ryders label, he began to produce tracks at the age of 16. He sold his first beat at 17 which became DMX's hit single "Ruff Ryders' Anthem". In 2001 at the age of 23 he established his own record label, Full Surface, in a joint venture with Clive Davis of J Records. The first artist signed was Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy. But it was not until Swizz's first compilation album, 2002's Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, that he started to get noticed for his production style and interesting ideas and Cassidy began to get attention. He released two singles "Guilty" and "Bigger Business", both charted on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and were accompanied by music videos. Swizz Beatz along with being associated with Ruff Ryders & Roc-A-Fella Records, began to produce for artists from labels such as Elektra Records, Atlantic Records, Epic Records, Def Jam Recordings, and Bad Boy Entertainment and his career largely grew from that point.
2006–07: One Man Band Man
In February 2007, the producer mixed the music for design duo Heatherette's Fall 2007 New York Fashion Week runway show. On August 21, 2007, Swizz Beatz released his second solo album, titled One Man Band Man. The album sold 45,000 records in its first week and includes singles "It's Me Bitches" and "Money in the Bank".
On October 19, 2007, Swizz Beatz 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.
2008–present: Haute Living
Undaunted by the disappointing sales of his last album, One Man Band Man, Swizz Beatz is working on his second album (his second as an artist, however, it will be the third album he has released). In late 2007 Swizz Beatz confirmed it will be called Life After the Party in an interview with Format Magazine 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 2010 on his Twitter Swizz Beatz renamed his album three times. He first announced he was calling it King Issues but later on that day settled on The Perception of Greatness, and on August 23 while in a studio session with Mary J. Blige in New York City, Swizz unveiled his new album title Haute Living, stating that it's the perfect phrase to represent what he's all about. Swizz Beatz announced while being interviewed on BBC Radio that he was planning to release it on September 13, to coincide with his birth date. The album will be released under his actual contract with Everest Entertainment/Atlantic/Warner, who signed the rapper in August 2010. Confirmed guest appearances include Bono, Travis Barker, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and John Legend. 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. In 2010, inspired by Kanye West's GOOD Fridays series, Swizz Beatz launched his own series of free weekly mp3s titled Monster Mondays. The first song, "DJ Play that Beat" featuring Estelle, was released on October 25. Other Monster Monday tracks include features from Rakim, Pusha T, DMX, Busta Rhymes and Pharrell.
In 2011, Swizz Beatz won his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group with American rapper Jay-Z, for the song "On To The Next One". The first single from Haute Living titled Everyday (Coolin') Produced by Joe Lindsay was released through monstermondays.com on March 28, 2011. The song features Eve. During an interview with Paper Mag, Swizz Beatz reveals some of the collaborations that will make their way on Haute Living. One of them is called ‘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; John Legend is on the album. But they’re 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.||”|
On March 7, 2012, Swizz Beatz announced that he will be releasing a mixtape featuring the likes of DMX, Nas, Rick Ross, The LOX, ASAP Rocky (who will feature on the first single) amongst many others. Swizz also said he doesn't have a release date for Haute Living claiming he's a "perfectionalist" who is "taking my time to get it right".  On March 22, 2012, "Street Knock" featuring ASAP Rocky was premiered on "The Angie Martinez Show". The song was produced by AraabMuzik, and will be featured on the mixtape, titled Limitless.