Who is Swizz Beatz? Alicia Keys' husband is first American and non-Arab to own Saudi camel-racing team
Only a few power couples in the celebrity industry have lasted for a long time, but Alicia Keys and her husband Swizz Beatz are definitely on that list.
Ahead of Keys' performance at the upcoming Billboard Music Awards on May 23, Beatz is serving as executive music producer providing the soundtrack curation for each episode of EPIX’s gangster drama 'Godfather of Harlem'. Swizz Beatz enlisted a legion of artists to capture that tumultuous time period, from introspective poets like Nas for 'Fallen Stars Flying' to soul bearers like Sam Cooke for the soothing track 'Good Times.' Here's all you need to know about him.
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Who is Swizz Beatz?
Born Kasseem Daoud Dean on September 13, 1978), Swizz Beatz, as he is known professionally, is a record producer, rapper, businessman, and art collector from New York City. After obtaining the necessary equipment from his stepfather and uncles, he began deejaying as a teenager and enjoyed some success.
Beatz began his musical career as a DJ after growing up in the Bronx. He rose to prominence in the hip hop industry at the age of 18 thanks to his family's record label, Ruff Ryders Entertainment, as well as his friendship and collaboration with rapper DMX.
His work with DMX, not only as a producer but also as a DJ and hype man, helped him establish himself as a high-profile producer. He 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.
Record label and Grammys
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 up was Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy. Beatz began to gain recognition for his production style and interesting ideas when he released his first compilation album, Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, in 2002.
His protege and artist, Cassidy, also began to gain recognition for his ability. The same year, his two singles, 'Guilty' and 'Bigger Business', both charted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, according to Discogs.
In 2011, Swizz Beatz won his first Grammy Award in the category of Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for the song 'On to the Next One,' which he co-wrote with American rapper Jay-Z. The first promotional single from Haute Living was called 'Everyday (Coolin')' and it was released on March 28, 2011 through monstermondays.com. It featured a verse from Eve and was produced by Joe Lindsay.
Fashion designer, artist and connoisseur
In 2003, Beatz became a partner involved in the popular clothing company Kidrobot, a creator and retailer of limited-edition art toys and clothing, according to Celebrity Clothing Online. On Twitter in 2010, he revealed his new sneaker line with Reebok.
“This year, I’m just graduating the whole Swizz Beatz brand. I’m going more Kasseem Dean, which is my government [name],” he explained to MTV according to Baller Status. “Kasseem Dean is the guy that travels all around the world, that deals with art, that does all the philanthropic work, that’s scoring movies, that’s doing clothes with major designers. All those things fall under the Kasseem Dean category.”
Beatz is also an art connoisseur, and his Instagram profile shows it. His curated collection of favorites was first introduced at SCOPE Art Show Miami Beach and has since become known as "The Dean Collection". It featured both emerging and well-established artists including KAWS, Keith Haring, Cleon Peterson, Ernest Zacharevic and Erik Jones, according to VH1 Miami. He also paints in his free time. He donates the money he earns from his paintings to the Children's Cancer & Blood Foundation.
Brand ambassadorship and camel racing
Beatz is also currently the Vice President - Sports Style Marketing, Design, and Brand Music Development for global footwear and apparel giant Reebok, according to Businesswire.
On October 22, 2020, Beatz became the first American (and non-Arab) to win a camel race after his Saudi team, Kaseem abu Nasser (Saudi Bronx), which he owns, won its first race. By November 2020, his team had won two races and a total of five medals in Saudi Arabia. Buying the team came after the producer first visited the country during the MDL Beast festival back in 2019. He fell in love with its culture while traveling to the country's various regions.
His camel-racing team with 12 camels is linked to a popular tradition in Saudi that was once the desert sport of the Bedouins. After his team's first win, the hip-hop producer took to Instagram to announce his team’s new merchandise, a collaboration with Los Angeles-based streetwear label Chinatown Market.
In March 2020, Beatz, along with Timbaland, also launched the highly popular Verzuz Instagram webcast series.