The future is African, says legendary producer Swizz Beatz


Johannesburg - American hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz received a warm welcome when he landed in the country earlier this week.

“It’s been open arms and love since I got here,” he said.

Swizz Beatz is in the country to perform at The Bacardi Holiday Club, which kicked off yesterday at Welgelegen Manor near Johannesburg and ends today.

He said travelling to South Africa made him feel like he was closer to the heart of true creativity.

“I always tell people that you have to be born in Africa to make African music.

“I say that because people draw a lot of their inspiration from this place.”


The hip-hop mogul – who’s been listening to South African music for a while – said he has been working with Black Coffee on a number of projects, but refused to reveal details about their collaboration.When asked whether present-day hip-hop is better than the music released in the genre’s golden era, he said: “I’m not even 40 years old, but I’ve been through about four eras of hip-hop.

“Hip-hop is the most popular genre at the moment, so it is in a great space. But things could always be better.”

Over the past 20 years, Swizz Beatz has worked with the likes of Busta Rhymes, Ruff Ryders, Cassidy, LL Cool J and Jay Z.

He said he relies on his gut feeling whenever he makes music.

“I’ve just got to feel it. I don’t go in to the studio and plan to make a hit.”


He advised aspiring producers to learn as much as possible about the music business.

“We often ignore the business side of our creative pursuits and wonder why we get the short end of the stick. A lot of people are about to start coming here and, when they do, they will take everything.”

Although many fans have lamented the increasing popularity of mumble rap – a subgenre of hip-hop characterised by a slurred delivery and almost incomprehensible lyrics – he said he has learnt not to be too critical.

“It’s like criticising [the late American painter Jean-Michel] Basquiat and saying your kid could paint like him. You can’t replicate his creativity.”

(Photo: Leon Sadiki)

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