Kasseem Dean (born September 13, 1978),[n 1] better known by his stage name Swizz Beatz, is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer from New York City, New York. Born and raised in The Bronx, he began his musical career as a disc jockey (DJ) and has since added rapper, singer, producer, record executive, creative director and fashion designer to his repertoire. At the age of 16, he gained recognition in the hip hop industry, through his friendship and work with East Coast rapper DMX and the Ruff Ryders Entertainment record label.
Dean later found a protégé in Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy, whose success helped the launch of his own label imprint, Full Surface Records. He went on to sign multiple artists to the label, including Eve and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, among others. Dean also went on to release two albums under the label; the first was a compilation, titled Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, released in 2002, in conjunction with DreamWorks Records. He later released his debut studio album, One Man Band Man, in 2007.
Swizz Beatz has produced multiple hit singles for several prominent artists throughout various music genres, such as hip hop, pop, soul and R&B. His catalog includes "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" (DMX), "Banned from T.V." (Noreaga), "Gotta Man" (Eve), "Jigga My Nigga" (Jay-Z), "Party Up (Up in Here)" (DMX), "Check on It", "Ring the Alarm" (Beyoncé), "Good Times" (Styles P), "Bring 'Em Out" (T.I.), "Hotel", "I'm a Hustla" (Cassidy), "Touch It" (Busta Rhymes) and much more.
Swizz Beatz was named the first "Producer in Residence" at New York University, for the 2010–11 academic year. About.com ranked him number 27 on its list of the "Top 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Producers," while The Source placed him on its list of the "20 greatest producers" in the magazine's 20-year history. Fellow American rapper and music producer Kanye West has also praised Dean, calling him "the best rap producer of all time." Dean is married to American singer Alicia Keys, with whom he has two children.