MTV Artists

Millions of artists.
Your pocket.
One app.
Download now

Download on the App Store Stay in
My Browser


Ski Beatz (born David Willis), also known as DJ Ski and originally MC Will-Ski, is a hip-hop producer and former member of 1990s rap group Original Flavor. His connection to Damon Dash (who managed Original Flavor) bore fruit when Dash hired him in to work on the debut album of his own artist, Jay-Z, whose Reasonable Doubt album was released in 1996, marking Ski Beatz's first major production, including the album's first major single "Dead Presidents." The lead single, along with Ski Beatz's production on "Feelin' It" and "Politics as Usual," featured similar jazzy ("Feelin' It" used an Ahmad Jamal sample) and old-soul ("Politics" featured a recognizable Stylistics sample) vibes that characterized much of Ski Beatz's mid- to late-'90s work. After the critical success of Reasonable Doubt, Ski Beatz formed Roc-A-Blok Productions in affiliation with Jay-Z and Dash's label, Roc-A-Fella Records, working with Camp Lo and Sporty Thievz. He crafted most of Camp Lo's debut album, Uptown Saturday Night, which dropped in 1997 and featured the hit single "Luchini aka This Is It." The song, looking to build on Camp Lo's '70s-style gimmick, featured blaxpoloitation-esque horns thanks to the sampled intro of "Adventures in the Land of Music" by Dynasty. It became one of the most instantly recognizable and celebrated beats from that era. Meanwhile, Ski Beatz continued to work with Jay-Z on his sophomore album, In My Lifetime, producing stand-out singles "Who You Wit II" and "Streets Is Watching." Roc-A-Blok Productions folded soon thereafter, but Ski Beatz stayed active in music, producing for artists such as Nature, members of the New Jersey crew the Outsidaz, Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown, Ras Kass, and Proof. He also continued to produce the bulk of Camp Lo's subsequent albums Let's Do It Again and Black Hollywood. After several years apart, Ski Beatz rejuvenated his creative relationship with Dash, joining his DD172 collective, subsequently nicknamed "the 24-Hour Karate School". Since the foundation of the studio enclave, Ski Beatz has worked with Mos Def, Jay-Z, Electronica, Jean Grae, and others. He also began a fruitful creative collaboration with New Orleans rapper Curren$y, producing all but three songs on his Pilot Talk. Ski Beatz made his solo debut in 2010 with 24 Hour Karate School. The self-produced album featured verses from Curren$y, Jim Jones, Ras Kaas, Jay Electronica, the Cool Kids, and others. ~ Vincent Thomas, Rovi