Swizz Beatz (born Kasseem Dean, September 13, 1978) is an American record producer, DJ, rapper and painter. He is married to R&B superstar Alicia Keys. He was raised by his mother in the South Bronx, where he spent most of his childhood. This was where he first encountered hip hop and began DJing after he received equipment from his stepfather and his uncles. He later relocated to Atlanta as a teenager where he started to work for his uncles, Joaquin and Darrin Dean, who were co-CEOs of the Ruff Ryders label.
At the age of 17, he gained attention in the hip-hop world through his friendship with rapper DMX, who bought his first beat and used it on the 1998 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.
With the release Swizz Beatz's first compilation album, 2002's “Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories,” he his production style began to be noticed. He released two singles “Guilty” and “Bigger Business,” both of which entered the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Along with being associated with Ruff Ryders and Roc-A-Fella Records, Beatz 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. DMX, Beyoncé, T.I., Styles P, Cassidy, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Plies, Jadakiss, Whitney Houston, Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne and Jay-Z are among the many artists he has produced tracks for.
In 2007, Swizz Beatz released his debut solo album, titled “One Man Band Man.” It included the singles “It's Me Bitches” and “Money in the Bank” and debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. It also debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It featured guest spots from Drag-On, Lil Wayne, R. Kelly and Jadakiss.