Swizz Beatz has crafted Billboard hits and won countless awards, but there’s one song in particular he produced that he still considers his absolute best.
Swizzy joined Mike Tyson and DJ Whoo Kid’s Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson podcast earlier this month and revealed the booming “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” with his late close friend and collaborator DMX as his best.
“For me, I’ma always say [“Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”] because that was the beginning of knowing that I actually had something.
“I knew I was having fun with what I was doing. I never did the music for the highlights, I did it for them to play it on the block, play it in the club, play it in the skating rinks, play it on the radios, play it out your cars. I was good with that right there. I didn’t know that you can make real money from it.”
Swizz recalled the moment when he felt he really made it in the industry as cars passed him all bumping the DMX anthem shortly after the track arrived in May 1998.
“I remember [“Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”] coming out and I was sitting on 125th St. in front of the mart and every single car was playing the song and nobody knew I did the song at this time. And I was just sitting back for hours like, ‘Damn, this is different.'”
Swizz Beatz names "greatest" song he’s ever produced 🙌https://t.co/52WCdDsvQr pic.twitter.com/fo2xDLdG6Z
— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) January 26, 2023
“Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” served as the lead single for DMX’s debut album, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot. The gritty tune only reached N0. 98 on the Hot 100 around the time of its release, but eventually vaulted to No. 16 following DMX’s tragic passing in April 2021 at the age of 50.
X’s death was ruled to be due to a cocaine-induced heart attack, which caused a lack of blood circulation to the brain.
Later in the podcast episode, Swizz reflected on the loss of the Yonkers legend, who was more of a brother to him than a friend.
“For me, ever since I known DMX he was in pain,” he said. “Ever since he was a kid. I just know that he’s in a better place now. He came to me in a dream, the whole thing, because I was definitely on a mission. Losing a brother so close, I never felt that before… Losing X, still to this day sitting on this couch talking about it, it don’t feel real to me.”
Swizzy provided the soundboard behind DMX’s rage on plenty of occasions as they teamed up for hits such as “Party Up,” “Get It On the Floor,” “Blackout, “We In Here” and more.