Swizz Beatz continues to kick down the door into the art world with his red bottoms, proving that the shimmery collector’s lifestyle isn’t reserved just for the rich and famous. The esteemed DJ/ hitmaker (born Kasseem Dean) turned his interest in graffiti in his native South Bronx to a deep love for the arts — he curated the No Commission art show in Miami that was free to the public and became a member of the Brooklyn Museum’s Board of Trustees. Now, he’s building The Dean Collection as a salute to various pieces by artists on the rise.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Rebel camera, Canon teamed with Swizzy for the “Rebel with a Cause” campaign to spotlight “The Unknowns” (artists without a proper platform for their work) for an art installation that made a splash across the building walls of both the Brooklyn Museum and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Before going on a joyride with the artists on a party bus, the heavyweight producer spoke to Billboard about his Canon collaboration, making Basquiat a prerequisite in his Reebok deal, and that Kanye West art collection.
How did you connect with Canon for “The Unknowns” art installation?
Canon reached out to me to be a part of this activation [for their] Rebel with a Cause campaign. I guess they figured that with my work with the Dean Collection, I’ve been acting as a rebel with a cause, which I feel I am and have been doing, but for them to recognize that I thought was pretty cool, especially since I’m very fond of working with brands and art. Brands don’t really technically celebrate the arts. They like to use the name but it’s not really for the right cause but when I looked at this project, I saw I’d be able to continue educating and exploring new artists and sharing art knowledge with different artists around the world like I do already.