NEW YORK — You have to put Swizz Beatz's "Showtime!" up there in the ranks of the top hip-hop catchphrases of the summer, along with DJ Khaled's "We the besssst," Lil "The Rapper Eater" Wayne's "Feed me, feed me!" and Hurricane Chris' "A bay bay." Beatz is sprinkling the phrase over all his new records, including "Top Down," "Money in the Bank" and Cassidy's "My Drink and My Two Step."
True to his word, it truly was showtime on Tuesday. The producer went from signing autographs at an Adidas store to taking his 6-year-old son, Nazir, shopping at the Kid Robot store he owns to hanging out at Sony Studios with the rest of his family and Pharrell Williams. Skateboard P is one of a handful of Swizz's big-name friends who want to be a part of his album, One Man Band Man, which is scheduled for an August 21 release (see "Swizz Beatz Hooks Up With Coldplay, Raps About Death On First Solo LP").
"I wrap up every week on my album," Swizz said at Sony. "It's just not over till it's over. Every week my album gets more and more crazier. I started my project saying, 'I don't want no [guests] on my project.' The reason I said that is because I didn't want to beg anybody for anything. Now with my songs out, I'm getting approached from people I respect. People I thought was too busy to work on the album, they giving me stuff. ... Do I tell these people no? Now I'm just regrouping and trying to make the right decisions because there are a lot of people who liked the idea of me not doing a lot of [collaborations] on my album. I want to stick to that but still finesse it with the people that's coming in. I got a real supportive team with my fellow producers and artists."
Kanye West, T.I. and E-40 are among the folks who have stepped up to the plate for him.
"The list goes on and on," Swizz said about the collaboration offers. "It just has to make sense. I was thinking about putting E-40 on [the remix] to 'Money in the Bank' since the beat got the Bay Area movement to it. E-40 be snapping too. I like E-40."
Swizz has done very well with the material that has been released from the project already. "It's Me Bitches" (see "Beyonce Hitmaker Swizz Beatz Defies Radio Rules With Two-Minute Single"), that song's remix and "Money in the Bank" have all become big club records, while "Top Down" and "Come and Get Me" are getting love in the streets. Still, Swizz and Universal Records have decided to hold the album's in-store launch from late spring (Swizz yells out the date May 15 on the "It's Me Bitches" remix) to late summer.
"My album is coming in August because I felt a lot of people get caught in the hype of the hot songs that's out for the moment," he said. "I'm not considered a rapper yet. Me, I call myself an entertainer. Rappers are Nas, Hov, Jadakiss, Cassidy. I'm just being an entertainer, saying what I feel, doing what I like and being creative. I felt the people need to hear me on more than one hit. 'He got the joint for the club, the cool joints, the vibe joints.' I didn't even get to the Coldplay joint [the group appears on the LP] or to where I'm really talking crazy.
"In the forefront, it's embraced," he continued about his music. "But it's some hating too. ... Some people don't like 'It's me Bitches,' [but] they like 'Money in the Bank' or they might like 'Top Down.' That's why people make albums, so you can pick and choose."
After picking a track from Pharrell at Sony, Swizz headed to the Tribeca Cinemas theater to see another one of his big-name producer friends: Kanye West. West debuted a video for his song "Stronger" for an audience that included Swizz, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Cassie, model Melyssa Ford and about a hundred other people. (Check out pictures of the event here.) Afterward, it was off to Brooklyn, where West and Swizz engaged in a freestyle battle with Drag-On and Sean Paul on the set of Eve's new video.