Where were you the first time you heard the Ruff Ryders' Anthem?
Being born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, I remember hearing it for the first time at my Concessions Manager job at the old Yankee Stadium where my purview was the realest part of the arena, the bleacher section. It was in the bowels of baseball's most hallowed field of dreams that my consciousness shifted to the gritty streets of Yonkers and I discovered a gruff, barking personality named Dark Man X.
Music video by DMX performing Ruff Ryders' Anthem. (C) 2001 The Island Def Jam Music Group
With DMX also came a conclave of motorcycle and ATV driving hard rocks that were so gutter, you instantly fell in love with their aura. What I didn't know was that there was a 17-year-old protege behind the boards crafting the entire sound for this new music movement. The world then grow to know Swizz Beatz as a new maestro of urban culture, but in 98 he was on a production hot streak. X's debut album, "Its Dark & Hell Is Hot" would cement the rises of musical geniuses, one in front of the mic, and the other behind the boards.
Music video by Swizz Beatz performing It's Me Snitches. (C) 2007 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
The slew of hits that came down the pike are legendary and spanned decades including:
"Money, Cash, Hoes" featuring Jay-Z and DMX
Remy Ma "Whuteva"
Mya "The Best Of Me" featuring Jay-Z
T.I. “Bring Em Out”
From crafting the sound of Cassidy and Eve to DMX, The LOX, Swizz Beatz is a wunderkind found in the Bronx and now consumed through the ears of all on the planet. You would think that would be enough for a truly successful creative but not for Swizz Beatz. To the uninitiated, Beatz shocked the world when he officially earned a degree from Harvard University on Nov. 16th, 2017. Beatz was enrolled in the Harvard University Business School's Owner/President Management program and he expressed how major the milestone was for him on his social media page.
"Today is graduation day," he wrote under an old picture of his younger self-dressed in a blue cap and gown. "In life, we must keep graduating until the end. When I say we must graduate I'm talking about on all levels, not just school. He noted that while he isn't receiving a Master's degree, he's still proud of his accomplishment. "This moment is special to me and my family because many people look up to me and they use my drive to thrive."
Today is graduation day 🙏🏽 In life we must keep graduating until the end. When I say we must graduate I'm talking about on all levels not just school. This moment is special to me and my family because many people look up to me and they use my drive to thrive. 🙏🏽 Today I will become Harvard alumni and although I'm not getting an "MBA" no one can EVER take this accomplishment away from me 🙏🏽 I was suppose to be gone a long time ago according to some of my old teachers :) This one is for you! Blessings!🙏🏽 Never shoot people's dreams down because you don't have your own!!!! This is my #tbt pic👨🏽🎓👨🏽🎓👨🏽🎓👨🏽🎓👨🏽🎓🕺🏽🕺🏽🕺🏽 #OPM50 #fromthebronxtoharvard Doc coming Soon ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️
94.4k Likes, 3,068 Comments - @therealswizzz on Instagram: "Today is graduation day 🙏🏽 In life we must keep graduating until the end. When I say we must..."
If that wasn't enough, through his "No Commission Art Fair" he has curated a selection of traditional artists that he admires, and many of whom are represented in his personal Dean Collection. Swiss has eschewed the traditional gallery formula of exclusive representation and promotion and has forced the new method of showcasing art by harnessing the power of the new ways of communication: social media and breaking technology.
On his 40th birthday, we salute a real one that is still doing it big and influencing the culture like no one else can.