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Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories

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Album Review

The full-length debut for Ruff Ryders trackmaster Swizz Beatz is that rare thing in the rap world: a record with a single production style. Considering most mainstream rappers hire out two producers for every three tracks they release, hearing an entire LP with a uniform sound is as welcome as it is surprising. Still, Swizz Beatz' Kasseem Dean does vary his sound a bit, and experiments more than any you'd hear on a randomly selected 17 of his productions from other artists' albums. G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories finds him moving from quasi-acoustic soul (with the LL Cool J feature "Ghetto Love") to a few in the usual Ruff Ryders style (for Jadakiss on "Big Business" and Eve on "Island Spice") to a ragga track with Bounty Killer, but also introduces Ja Rule to Metallica for a heavy metal extravaganza called "We Did It Again." The highlight "Endalay" features Busta Rhymes livening up what would've been a comparatively bland production on its own, and Styles hits on all cylinders for "Good Times." Dean is actually a great rapper too, able to command the mic and the mixing board for three tracks here — he should've given himself more. As it is, despite the great sounds and great features, too much of G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories finds one of the hottest producers in hip-hop resting on his laurels.


Born: 30 August 1978 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Swizz Beatz was born Kasseem Dean in the Bronx borough of New York City. He relocated to Atlanta as a teenager, where he started to DJ parties. When his relatives became involved with the Ruff Ryders label, he began to produce tracks at the tender age of 16. Forgoing the practice of using samples, he used real instruments whenever possible and tried to accentuate the performance aspect of his music. He produced countless rap and R&B acts, from DMX to Eve, but he never really got much credit for his...
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