Swizz Beatz breaks down iconic producer battle with Kanye West
It was in 2007 at a summer music festival.
Take it back to 2007, to the biggest annual hip-hop concert in the world: Hot 97’s Summer Jam. And recall that one of the show’s marquee moments at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium was the onstage battle between Jedi producers Swizz Beatz and Kanye West.
“I love that moment,” Swizz told Drink Champs hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN while visiting the show recently. “I respect Kanye for taking that battle because a lot of producers I asked turned down that battle.”
Swizzy remembered that he called on a few of his elite producer peers including Timbaland and Pharrell, but everybody declined except the former “Louis Vuitton Don.”
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“When I look at Summer Jam, I noticed that a lot of the performing artists always got the shine,” the Ruff Ryder legend recalled. “The producers were always behind those big hit records [that] these artists were able to go onstage and do their thing to. I said, ‘Let’s go onstage and pay homage to these producers.’ And Summer Jam is very controversial. ‘Let’s make it a battle where I’m talking shit and whoever comes out and challenges me to talking shit with their greatest couple of hits and I give them my greatest couple of hits.’ And we gave the people a show that was respectable and paid homage to the producer.”
During the battle, Kanye set it off with Jay Z’s “Takeover.” Swizz hollered back with N.O.R.E.’s own “Banned From TV.” West retorted with Ludacris’ “Stand Up” and Swizz’s response was Jay’s “Jigga My Nigga.” The two volleyed back and forth for several minutes.
“I respect that I gave him the concept and he was like, ‘Alright, let’s make it fresh,” Swizz said.
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In the end, Swizz says the showdown was epic, but could have been even more so if ‘Ye had stuck to his original game plan.
“The craziest part, I told him my playlist, he told me his playlist. I kept my playlist and he changed his playlist,” Swizz said. “When it was showtime, I heard songs he didn’t present [previously]. The songs he picked before, I thought it was a little stronger. I wanted him to be great and me to be great. And he was great. But I think the selection that we first had was better. Because it’s not like me going on the Summer Jam stage and showing off on another person because that man is talented. He’s a genius. He’s a master of his craft just like Timbaland, Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Just Blaze, all the producers. They’re masters of their own crafts.”
During the interview, Swizz also talked about which producers he would not battle, which one of his peers he thinks can beat him now, and which of today’s new track masters he’d work with.
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