The Graduate

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His work with the United Nations as a Music Ambassador for World Peace is a fitting privilege for someone who has worked so hard to affect the cultural environment of music, art, and charity. Hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, Swizz’s friend and collaborator, explains, “Some hip-hoppers have evolved from the leaders in the creative perspective of the street to the leaders of the progressive cultural elite in this country and the entire world. Swizz Beatz is an—if not the prime—example of that expansion. The American cultural landscape is alive because of Swizz Beatz.”

It has been a long, turbulent, and fortuitous road for DJ Swizz Beatz. With no plans to slow down, he maintains this next year as a rebirth of his old self. “Part of the graduation stage is dumbing-down the toys a little bit. You gotta understand, I was doing these things since I was 17, 18 years old, and I’m 31 now. If you are doing the same things in your 30s that you were doing in your teens, something’s not right,” says Swizz with a chuckle. And it’s clear that things have changed. Gone are the extravagant cars and necklaces decked with diamonds, and in their place is a grown man with a clear vision for the future. He is determined to put a tangible feeling back into music, and with his new album in the works, this is his moment. “Music is something that should stick with you and represent a moment in time. I need to raise the bar for that. I need to personally take the risk to make those sounds and take those elements where everyone is over there, but Swizz is over here.” The lyrics to his hit collaboration with Jay-Z, “On to the Next One,” couldn’t be more fitting for a mogul determined for greatness: I move onward, the only direction; Can’t be scared to fail; Searchin’ perfection; Gotta keep it fresh, girl, even when we sexin’; But don’t be mad at him when it’s on to the next one.

So, we ask, what’s next? “The unexpected. That’s what’s next. What’s next is the unthinkable, the unexpected, the next level.” And with that, we can hardly wait to hear from this music mastermind.

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