NYU just announced that hip-hop producer to the superstars, so-so sometimes rapper, and Alicia Keys husband Swizz Beatz will be the Tisch School of the Arts’ producer-in-residence for 2010-2011, which is awesome—check out his faculty profile, also awesome. The NYU Local has a mediocre Swizzy Top 5, but to really get a handle on the Bronx native’s dizzying aesthetic here’s your core curriculum…
Memphis Bleek, “Memphis Bleek Is…” (1999): Remember Jay-Z’s once-promising protege? His break-out hit, with Meatpacking District music video, was a Swizzy affair, which, listening to it now, totally makes sense.
DMX, “Party Up” (2000): Back when DMX and his Ruff Ryders label really mattered at the height of millennial gangsta rap, Swizzy was the in-house producer, churning out more than a few clunkers and some of the era’s defining hits, such as this one.
Styles P, “Good Times” (2002): A little uncharacteristic for the prominent nostalgic soul sample, but the abruptly chopped up bass line and squeaky sound effects are pure Swizz Beatz. What an amazing song.
Jay-Z, “Stop” (2003): He’s had a long and fruitful professional relationship with Jigga, which has certainly produced more well-known jams than this obscure bonus track from the shortened version of Blueprint 2 (like, say, “On to the Next One“), but the fact that it has remained so under the radar makes it all the more compelling.
T.I., “Bring Em Out” (2004): The horn sample is a little unusual, but the bouncing drums and jarring Jay-Z sample is classic Swizzy.
You’re now qualified to enroll in Swizz Beatz 101.