REVOLT TV presents ‘The Produce Section,’ a column where we put the spotlight on the men and women behind the beats we love so much and their contributions to the culture as a whole. From profiling and interviewing the hottest producers of today, to acknowledging the greatest producers of all-time and delving deep into their discographies, ‘The Produce Section’ is the hub where beats, rhymes and life connect.
Producers have long been the backbone of rap music, providing emcees and rappers alike with the sonic backdrops over which they bare their souls and share their stories. Rap artists may get much of the fanfare and are front and center, however, without the producer toiling away behind the scenes, crafting the instrumentals, the lyrics would be reduced to spoken word and hip hop would be nonexistent as we know it.
With the passage of time, the producer has become more ubiquitous than ever with the most successful boards men rivaling many of the artists they work with in terms of visibility and popularity. However, in many cases, the producer fails to get their just due or recognition for the vital role they play in helping to keep hip hop alive.
With two decades in hip hop under his belt, Swizz Beatz is widely recognized as one of the greatest producers of his generation. Having started off his career as an in-house producer for Ruff Ryders Records in 1998, Swizz has gone on to craft a countless number of hits for the biggest stars in music, including JAY-Z, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Gwen Stefani and a laundry list of your favorite rappers. With a mix of party-starters, street anthems and other fare in his arsenal, the “One Man Band Man” is considered a jack of all trades when it comes to production, a reputation that has extended to his endeavors outside of music.
In our first installment of “The Produce Section,” we celebrate Swizz’s illustrious career and his excellence behind the boards.
1. “All For The Love”
In 1998, Swizz hit the ground running in a big way, earning his first production credit for his work on The LOX’s Money, Power, Respect standout deep cut, “All For The Love.” Swizz’s prowess on the casio keyboard would soon beckon some of the game’s biggest stars and future legends to acquire his services.
2. “Ruff Ryders Anthem”
The first high-profile production credit that got Swizz’s name buzzing as a boards man to watch out for was “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” the third single released from DMX’s 1998 multi-platinum debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot. In the wake of its release, “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” would help change the landscape of rap with Swizz among those helping rewrite its sonic blueprint to success.
3. “Banned From TV”
In 1998, Swizz laced Noreaga with the instrumental for “Banned From TV,” which was built around triumphant horns lifted from German composer Richard Strauss’ 1896 tone poem, “Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra).” One of the most popular and revered posse cuts of all-time, “Banned From TV” played a big part in popularizing Swizz’s signature sound and solidifying him as the go-to guy for when your favorite rappers want to lyrically spar with one another on wax.
4. “Money, Cash, Hoes”
Swizz and JAY-Z’s working relationship began on a memorable note with the producer crafting the beat for “Money, Cash, Hoes,” one of the singles from Hov’s breakout album, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life.
5. “Fuck You”
In addition to his penchant for creating high-octane party-starters, Swizz is also money when it comes to scoring deep cuts that resonate, one of the most popular being the backdrop for “Fuck You” from The LOX’s We Are The Streets album.
6. “Party Up In Here”
In 2000, Swizz teamed up with DMX once again for “Party Up (In Here),” the second single released from the dog’s third studio album, …And Then There Was X. The song, one of the first in which Swizz contributed vocals of his own, peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is DMX’s and Swizz’s most successful collaboration to date.
7. “Good Times”
In 2002, Swizz connected with his Ruff Ryders brethren Styles P on “Good Times,” The LOX member’s debut solo single and the first released from his A Gangster and A Gentleman album. Powered by a sample of Freda Payne’s 1977 hit “I Get High (On Your Memory),” “Good Times” peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, yielding Styles P his first hit as a soloist and Swizz with yet another classic production to add to his list of credits.
8. “Bring Em Out”
Having already established himself as a hitmaker for various east coast artists, Swizz took his talents below the Mason-Dixon line in 2004 when he constructed the instrumental for “Bring Em Out,” the lead single from his third-studio album, Urban Legend. Featuring a prominent vocal sample of JAY-Z’s Black Album track, “What More Can I Say” and peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Bring Em Out” gave T.I. the first top 10 hit of his career and doubled as his coronation as the new King of the South.
9. “I’m A Hustla”
Discovering Cassidy, the flagship rap artist on his Full Surface Records label, during the early aughts, Swizz helped mold the Philly rapper into a fringe star with his 2003 hit single, “Hotel,” but their most potent meeting of the minds remains their 2005 collaboration “I’m A Hustla.” Produced by Swizz and built around a sample from JAY-Z’s 2004 single “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” “I’m A Hustla” became one of the hottest beats of the year and one of the Bronx native’s most popular backdrops to date.
10. “Spit Your Game”
Out of all of The Notorious B.I.G.’s posthumous cuts, one of the few that truly does the King of New York justice is “Spit Your Game,” which finds Swizz pairing Biggie, Krayzie Bone and Twista with rambunctious kicks, snares, and synths. Released as the second single from Duets: The Final Chapter, “Spit Your Game” continued Swizz resurgence as one of the most sought out producers in rap and is one of his more impressive compositions.
11. “Touch It”
After aligning with Dr. Dre during the mid aughts, Busta Rhymes’ decision to entrust the production of the lead single to his Aftermath debut, The Big Bang, to Swizz instead of the good doctor stood as a testament to Swizz’s reputation as a bonafide hitmaker. And the producer rose to the occasion, utilizing a sample of Daft Punk’s “Technologic” to create a monstrous banger that helped propel The Big Bang to the top spot on the Billboard charts, giving Busta the first No. 1 album of his career.
12. “It’s Me Bitches”
Not only a boards man for others, Swizz has also supplied himself with more than a fair share of heaters over the years, but his “It’s Me Bitches” is arguably at the top of the list. Released as the lead single from his debut studio album, One Man Band Man, “It’s Me Bitches” would inspire some of the top spitters in the game to hijack the track, most notably Lil Wayne, which was indicative of its standing as one of the most awe-worthy beats in Swizz’s collection.
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