DMX isn't the only member of the Ruff Ryders family to recently start his own label -- the Double R's main producer, Swizz Beatz, is set to release new music on his Full Surface imprint soon.
While his label deal is non-exclusive, Swizz has already committed to Clive Davis' J Records to put out albums by his artists, including Yung Wun, Kima (who rhymed on Cam'ron's "What Means the World to You") and reggae superstar Bounty Killer.
Meanwhile, DreamWorks Records will serve as the home for Swizz's new compilation, Swizz Beatz Presents G.E.T.T.O. Stories Vol. 1.
In addition to "Mary's Jam," a work in progress that features Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z, Swizz expects the album to feature collaborations between DMX and Papa Roach, Musiq Soulchild and Carl Thomas, Bounty Killer and Shaggy, and Outkast and Ludacris.
A cut Swizz described as a West Coast version of A Tribe Called Quest's classic "Scenario," featuring Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg and Tha Eastsidaz rhyming over a replayed rendition of the track Run-DMC used for 1985's "Rock Box," has also been completed.
"I'm happy with all the artists [on G.E.T.T.O. Stories]," Swizz said. "They're all giving me their best."
The services of fellow superproducers Dr. Dre and Timbaland also have been enlisted for the record. "I'm going to do a song where I'm going to let Timbaland produce half the beat and let Dre produce the other half," he explained. "I'll be rapping on that one."
Quincy Jones, Will Smith, Shyne, Noreaga and Shaquille O'Neal have also made contributions to the LP, and the Yonkers, New York, native's biggest coup could be recruiting reclusive legend Michael Jackson for the comp.
"It's basically a favor-for-a-favor type thing," explained Swizz, who produced three songs that may or may not appear on Jackson's next LP. "He's singing the hook and doing ad-libs. I got him on some gangsta sh--. I wanted him to be like he was from the ghetto. We're making him get braids. I bought him some [Timberland construction boots]. He was like, 'These are so heavy, how do you guys walk in them?'"
Having supplied beats for everyone from Limp Bizkit to Mya, the producer lessened his workload to concentrate on his label and album.
"I had to set myself up as a businessman," he explained. "Jay-Z just called me and said, 'Let's do five joints. Let's do it again.' I was like, cool. He called me to work on the ['Dynasty' album] too, but I couldn't do it. I had to get things straight."
As for his new business partners, Swizz said the experience has been "gravy." "[Clive Davis] is a gangsta," he said, laughing. "He's so laid back, he don't press me. I feel welcomed. It's definitely all good. DreamWorks has paper, and they know how important I am to them. They don't really have nobody for hip-hop."
LL Cool J, who Swizz worked with for G.E.T.T.O. Stories as well as the next Violator compilation, was also impressed by the Ruff Ryder -- so much so that he asked Swizz to oversee his next album.
"I didn't know it was like that," Swizz said, seemingly still surprised. "[LL] called me personally and was like, 'I ain't never ask nobody to executive-produce my album." He just felt me. He was feeling the whole vibe. He wants to go to the studio now."
Swizz said that he has also been approached to executive-produce the new Busta Rhymes album, but he will probably just work on LL's record.
Next week, Swizz heads into the studio to begin working on DMX's fourth album, which he promises will the MC's roughest yet. He also refuted rumors of friction between X and the Double R camp. "We're all one big family," Swizz said.
Swizz also finished seven tracks for Jadakiss' album, plans to work on a third installment of the Ruff Ryders' successful Ryde or Die compilations, and hopes to have singles from G.E.T.T.O. Stories as well as the Yung Wun LP out by summer. Street dates for the albums have yet to be determined.