You probably know of Swizz Beatz as the man behind your favourite 2000s tracks. The producer earned a name for himself for working with everyone from Jay-Z and Kanye West to Beyoncé.
But whilst his catalogue is largely American hip-hop tracks, the producer’s influences go far beyond the reaches of the US. The Grammy Award-winning artist just took to his Instagram to announce that the legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum, is one of his biggest inspirations.
It should come as no surprise; Swizz Beatz is no stranger to the region. The producer, who regularly visits the Middle East, has held a number of shows in Dubai, and most recently performed at Saudi Arabia’s MDL Beast Festival earlier this year.
Whilst being under lockdown, the producer has put his appreciation for the region front and centre through his ad-hoc Instagram radio show that he’s dubbed ‘Zone Radio’. For the first edition, Beatz played classic Saudi tracks to an audience of 3.2 million followers. He followed it up with an hour-long session playing, and mixing his favourite Umm Kulthum sounds.
And it doesn’t stop at music. Along with his wife, Alicia Keys, he founded ‘The Dean Collection 20 St(Art) ups’ grant program in 2018, granting struggling artists from all over the world the opportunity to fund their creative projects—a young Egyptian artist Hana ElSagini was among the winners of the $5000 prize.