Swizz Beatz is one of the greatest hip-hop producers of all time. During the 2000s, due to his raw and rugged sound, he was in high demand, and his instrumentals were in the charts on a regular basis.
The Bronx native (real name Kasseem Dean) began as a prodigy child DJ as part of Ruff Ryders Entertainment alongside DMX. However, the beatmaker didn’t start producing until one particular rapper encouraged him to.
Dean joined the Ruff Ryders in 1988 as a teen and stuck to DJing. However, he idolised DJs who could also produce, such as DJ Premier and Marley Marl. During the early days of his career, he used to compile mixtapes and made small intros for artists that they could rap on.
He had no idea that he was producing. However, in an interview with Al Lindstrom for ALTV, Dean explained how he became an esteemed producer. Detailing the start of his career, Swizz disclosed, “I got my start with Ruff Ryders in ’91ish, ‘92ish – nah, ’88. That’s when Ruff Ryders first started. My uncle started it, and my Uncle B came along…I was DMX’s DJ for a long time. I didn’t even care about being a producer.”
He continued, “I didn’t have no role models as producers back then because, to me, it was all about the DJs. Producers weren’t in the forefront at that time. But I was a fan of DJs that were producing, like DJ Premier, like Rest in Peace, Scott La Rock, Marley Marl. I was fans of those guys. Diamond D and them, that whole crew. But I ain’t know they were producers.”
Fortunately for Dean, his Uncles and a Ruff Ryder emcee saw his talent from an early stage and guided him down the route of production. Unveiling the identity of the lyricist who encouraged him to produce, Dean told Lindstrom, “I got into producing when my uncles and them, and I remember Sheek Louch also, I used to make mixtapes, and I used to make my intros to my mixtapes so people could rap on it. I didn’t know that was producing.”
He concluded by revealing that Sheek Louch of the Lox and his uncles gave him a start, and then he picked it up himself, stating, “At this time, he was working with Irv Gotti, Chad Elliott, he had bought them all equipment, and they was in the studio, and they was supposed to teach me. They would teach me like this. That’s how you make the beat. Real fast. I had to teach myself because they was so busy doing they thing, and I was glad I was able to teach myself.”