By Chloe Aiello
Even for Kasseem Dean ー a.k.a accomplished producer, rapper, and art enthusiast "Swizz Beatz" ー the hustle never stops.
And after more than two decades in the music industry, Dean's best advice for young creatives is to never forget the "business" part of the art industry.
"Understand the business that you're in. We devote so much time to the creative that we miss out on the business. So it's the music business, fashion business, art business ー and a lot of creatives miss the business part and they waste their time," Dean told Cheddar on Thursday.
The music mogul released "Poison" earlier this month. The studio album, his second, is his first release since since 2007, and features collaborations with Nas, Lil Wayne, and Kendrick Lamar, among other industry heavyweights.
Dean may be thriving, but he experienced struggles during his early days in the business ー and he more than understands how unforgiving it can be, especially in the age of streaming platforms like Spotify ($SPOT), which famously pays artists very little to stream their music..
"There is no perfect way" to achieve success in the music industry, Dean said, whether an artist is signed to a major label and on Spotify, or independent and on YouTube. It's about the business plan ー and monetizing everything from merchandise to touring.
"That's why I left the music industry for so long, to diversify my portfolio and get into designing cars, watches, fashion ー just different things so I don't have that much pressure on me when I'm doing music. It's a thing that's fun," he added.
Beyond the music industry, Dean has a passion for the arts.
Along with Keys, he founded The Dean Collection, an organization that aims to support aspiring artists and democratize art, often through grants and "No Commission" art fairs, which return all proceeds to the artists. The Dean Collection's next event is scheduled for Dec. 6 and 7 during Miami Art Week.