“Sky’s not the limit — it’s just a view.”
This is the motto that Swizz Beatz – music producer, entertainer, DJ, entrepreneur, designer, family man – lives by. He’s produced music for some of the industry’s greats – Jay-Z, Limp Bizkit, Whitney Houston and Beyonce. He’s sold more than 300 million records (domestically), boasts hits of his own and has even collaborated with major fashion houses like Christian Louboutin and British car connoisseur Aston Martin.
But he’s not done yet.
“When I say the sky is not the limit, it’s just the view, that’s something I came up with because I think people are comfortable when they reach a certain level and lose the hunger,” he said. “I don’t think there should be any boundaries on exploring the next level. If you can stand up on the moon and look up in the air from there, it’s still just a view, you can go up higher than that. I use that slogan to inspire people to do whatever their wildest dreams are, to just go for it.”
Born KasseemDaoud Dean on September 13, 1978, Beatz was raised by his great-grandparents until the age of 11 and then him mom/step-dad in the South Bronx. But it soon became clear that Swizz was always destined for greatness. His first foray into fame was with his friend rapper DMX, and at the age of 18 the two had their first hit-record with the single, “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”.
Swizz’s career took off at breakneck pace. He started his own record label, Full Surface Records, at age 23 in collaboration with music mogul Clive Davis. His first record, “Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories,” dropped in 2002. Swizz started to gain attention for his original style and affiliation with Ruff Ryders and Roc-A-Fella Records. He has scored block-buster films and was tapped to create tracks for Fashion Week, while still finding time to put out his second solo LP, One Man Band Man. Grammy-Award winning group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and female emcee Eve were also signed to his Full Surface imprint.
“For it to have started in 1998, it’s really a blessing to be in 2011, in the decline of music sales and with all of the changes in the industry as a whole, to be a name that my peers and the fans still call-on. Swizz said, “looking back from when I was just starting out as a DJ, and then for me to transform into a producer, and to still have the same energy, love, and passion for music after all I’ve accomplished has been really cool.”
To his friends and peers, Swizz’s evolution is an example of what to aspire to.
“Swizz inspires me,” said NBA star Carmello Anthony. “For him to transcend from a ‘business man’ to a business is just incredible. His brand is growing and growing, and it’s only going to continue to grow.”
Swizz’s wife Alicia Keys couldn’t agree more.
“Swizz’s evolution has been epic,” she said. “To come from a place where chances are few and far between to become a man that is unstoppable in everything he puts his mind to, is a true example of the fact that no circumstance can stop us.”
And Swizz is already on to the next one. In collaboration with musical greats like Bono, Alicia Keys, John Legend, and Lenny Kravitz, Swizz is releasing his third solo LP titled “Haute Living” album, which will be his first independent release thru his partnership with Everest Entertainment. To Swizz, living haute is a melding of art, fashion, music – it’s a way of life.
Deviating from the usual single release date for the entire album, Swizz is releasing “Haute Living” one individual single at a time, with the same fanfare that entire albums often receive. “The artists that are involved in the ‘Haute Living’ project are the best,” he said. “I wanted to push the limit.”
Perhaps unexpected is Swizz’s deep love for art. As an avid collector of paintings and an artist himself, he counts Salvador Dali, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and especially Jean-Michel Basquiat as some of his favorites.
“My love for the art world goes deep, very deep,” he said. “It goes right to the South Bronx [from] breakdancing to music, all different kinds, then [seeing] the people in the galleries, doing different things. So many people in the art world inspire me to do things.”