Swizz Beatz revealed that his uncles and LOX member Sheek Louch convinced him to begin producing as a teen; he initially saw himself solely as a DJ. In a recent interview, he talked about those beginnings in the late 80s/early 90s.
"I got my start with Ruff Ryders in ’91ish, ‘92ish – nah, ’88. That’s when Ruff Ryders first started," he said. "My uncle started it, and my Uncle B came along...I was DMX’s DJ for a long time. I didn’t even care about being a producer. I didn’t have no role models as producers back then because to me, it was all about the DJs. Producers weren’t in the forefront at that time. But I was a fan of DJs that were producing, like DJ Premier, like rest in peace Scott La Rock, Marley Marl…I was fans of those guys. Diamond D and them, that whole crew. But I ain’t know they were producers."
"I got into producing when my uncles and them, and I remember Sheek Louch also, I used to make mixtapes and I used to make my intros to my mixtapes so people could rap on it," he continued. "I didn’t know that was producing. I thought it was just making the intro for your mixtape. I wasn’t familiar with that word ‘producing.’ They was like take all of those words and all that stuff out, and I did that. They was like, that beat is knocking. Make another one of those. And my uncle was like, you should produce. I was like, produce? He said what you doing is producing. At this time, he was working with Irv Gotti, Chad Elliott, he had bought them all equipment and they was in the studio and they was supposed to teach me. They would teach me like this. That’s how you make the beat. Real fast. I had to teach myself because they was so busy doing they thing, and I was glad I was able to teach myself."