Kasseem Daoud Dean, known by his stage name of Swizz Beatz, is one of the most prolific producers in hip-hop. Over his 20-year career, he’s worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Jay Z, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, DMX- basically, think of any rapper who’s made the successful transition into the mainstream and there’s a good chance Swizzy helped in that process. But his talents don’t stop there- as well as being “the best rap producer of all time” (according to Kanye West, in any case), Beatz is also a rapper in his own right, a DJ, a fashion designer, an entrepreneur, and, through his marriage to Alicia Keys, one half of one of the most famous couples in hip-hop. With these lists of credits to his name, it’s probably already obvious how Beatz achieved his phenomenal net worth of $72 million, but in case you’re still confused, let’s break it down.
The secret to becoming a multimillionaire before you turn 40? Start early. Beatz took this principle and ran with it- at 16, he started to produce tracks; at 17, he sold his first beat, the chart-topping “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem”, to DMX; at 18, he produced the singles “Banned from TV” for Noreaga, “All for the Love” for The Lox, and over half of DMX’s 2nd album, “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood”. By 20, Beatz was in hot demand in the hip-hop community, cementing his up-and-coming status by producing most of Ruff Ryder’s compilation album, “Ryde or Die Vol 1” and the majority of Eve’s double platinum-selling debut, “Let the be Eve…Ruff Ryder’s First Lady”. At around that same time, he struck up a close working relationship with hip-hop legend Jay Z, helping out on the artist’s mega-successful “Girl's Best Friend” and “Money, Cash, Hoes”. In 2001, when Beatz was still just 23 years old, he established his own record label, Full Surface Records. The success he saw with his first signing, Cassidy, helped secure Beatz’s transition into the mainstream, and he began extending his reach into the industry with commercially successful artists from labels such as Elektra, Atlantic, Epic, Def Jam, and Bad Boy Entertainment.
Beatz’s transition into the mainstream started in 2004, when he produced Cassidy’s debut album, Split Personality, featuring a track with R Kelly (back in the days when he was still known more for his music than his other proclivities) which managed to climb all the way to number 4 in the Billboard Chart. The following year, Beatz produced Beyoncé’s “Check it Out”, which peaked at number 1. The year after that, he hooked up with Mr. and Mrs. Carter once again on B’Day, producing such hits as "Upgrade U" featuring Jay-Z, "Get Me Bodied" and "Ring the Alarm". In 2007, he achieved another hit when his protégé Cassidy’s comeback single “My Drink n My 2 Step” polled on the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That year also saw Beatz take his first steps as a recording artist – his debut, “One Man Band Man” sold 45,000 copies in its first week alone. Meanwhile, his record label was going from strength to strength – the same year he dropped his debut album, Beatz signed Drag-on, Eve and the legendary Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
The period from 2008 onwards saw Beatz enjoy continued success as both a solo artist and producer de jour for the likes of Estelle, Ludacris, Lil’ Wayne, Jay-Z, Eve, Jadakiss, Maino, Whitney Houston, and Chris Brown. In 2011, his achievements finally got the wider recognition they deserved when he won his first Grammy award in the category of Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for his performance with Jay-Z on “On the Next One”. Fast forward 8 years, and Beatz has been inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame, had a street named after him, hosted the Global Spin Awards, appeared on the hit South Korean hip hop TV show, Show Me The Money, and released the massively successful third solo album Poison, featuring, among others, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Pusha T, Nas, Young Thug, The Lox and 2 Chainz.
Beatz may have made millions from music, but there’s nothing like an endorsement deal to add to the coffers. Since he achieved household name status, Beatz has aligned himself to several big-name brands, all carefully chosen for their credibility and ability to add as much to his status as to his bank balance. In 2010, he was active in the design and launch of the Aston Martin Rapide. A year later, he briefly became the face of Lotus before returning to his Aston Martin roots in 2013. Outside of the world of luxury vehicles, Beatz has also lent his credentials to Monster, acting as a brand ambassador to the Monster 24K headphones and the Monster GODJ. In 2013, he went one step further in his affiliation with the company by perching a co-ownership stake. Talking about the partnership, Monster CEO Noel Lee said, “The products that we have planned are revolutionary in technology, sound, and style. We need the talents and reach of Swizz to help bring these products to life in the eyes of the consumer.” Beatz also currently serves as the Vice President of Sports Style Marketing, Design, and Brand Music Development for Reebok.
If you’re a celebrity who wants to pull in the big bucks, do as Beatz has done and get your clothes in the shops- after all, nothing makes people more inclined to part with their cash than a celebrity affiliation. In 2010, Beatz partnered up with the clothing company Kidrobot, a creator of toys, mini figures, and a limited edition, premium-priced range of hoodies, t-shirts, sneakers, and outerwear. In 2010, Beatz joined the ranks of celebrities such as Eminem, Kanye West and Justin Bieber in releasing his own line of sneakers, this time in collaboration with Reebok.
So, how did Swizz Beatz achieve a net worth of $72 million? By starting young and being relentless in his ambitions and musical vision. Accumulating a bevy of celebrity friends, pulling in several highly profitable endorsement deals and having the pulling power that comes with being married to Alicia Keys has probably not done too much harm either.
Written by Allen Lee
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