Although Bangladesh may not agree, few producers have been able to establish the kind of brand recognition that Swizz Beatz has with his music. Now, in a recent interview with Al Lindstrom, Swizzy recalls his roots with the Ruff Ryders and how he first got into production.
He explained that he actually started out focusing almost exclusively on DJing when he joined the Ruff Ryders in 1988. He admitted that he didn’t even know what it meant to produce in Hip Hop, even though his favorite DJs like DJ Premier and Marley Marl were producers. However, his uncles and Sheek Louch recognized the potential in his mixtape intros and pushed him to begin producing.
“I got my start with Ruff Ryders in ’91ish, ‘92ish – nah, ’88. That’s when Ruff Ryders first started,” he said. “My uncle started it, and my Uncle B came along…I was DMX’s DJ for a long time. I didn’t even care about being a producer. I didn’t have no role models as producers back then because to me, it was all about the DJs. Producers weren’t in the forefront at that time. But I was a fan of DJs that were producing, like DJ Premier, like rest in peace Scott La Rock, Marley Marl…I was fans of those guys. Diamond D and them, that whole crew. But I ain’t know they were producers.”
He continued, “I got into producing when my uncles and them, and I remember Sheek Louch also, I used to make mixtapes and I used to make my intros to my mixtapes so people could rap on it. I didn’t know that was producing. I thought it was just making the intro for your mixtape. I wasn’t familiar with that word ‘producing.’ They was like take all of those words and all that stuff out, and I did that. They was like, that beat is knocking. Make another one of those. And my uncle was like, you should produce. I was like, produce? He said what you doing is producing. At this time, he was working with Irv Gotti, Chad Elliott, he had bought them all equipment and they was in the studio and they was supposed to teach me. They would teach me like this. That’s how you make the beat. Real fast. I had to teach myself because they was so busy doing they thing, and I was glad I was able to teach myself.”
Check out the full interview below.