NEW YORK — Happy born day to Kasseem Dean! The producer more commonly known as Swizz Beatz celebrated his 29th birthday (again — Swizz held a star-studded soiree during VMA weekend too) on Thursday night.
"The Virgo crew is strong out there," Swizzy said as the night began to blur into early morning, sitting inside a quiet room at the Martin Lawrence Art Gallery (not the Martin "Marty Mar" Lawrence, in case you were wondering).
"We are heartfelt people," Swizz added, referring to himself and his celebrity friends, such as Nas, Ludacris and Beyoncé, who all share the same zodiac sign. "Genuine people."
The day started out normal for Swizz — wake up with the family, hit a spa with his wife Mashonda and a dinner at a jazz bar (see "Swizz Beatz Bums A Beat From Pharrell, Freestyles With Kanye During One Busy Day"). He was then surprised by a b-day reception at his "favorite place" — the art gallery. Mya, Andre Harrell and Swizzy's uncle Dee were among those who attended. Outside the room, a band was playing such classic records as Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do" while guests ate red velvet cupcakes and drank champagne and sangria.
Some of the paintings that hung in the gallery cost millions. "You got [Jean-Michel] Basquiats in here, Andy Warhols in here, everything," Swizz said. "This is like my little hideout. My involvement in art started from the South Bronx, seeing graffiti on the wall, the train, being fascinated with those things. Trying to think, 'How do they paint a whole train before the sun comes up?' It's always been in my soul. When I could afford to buy paintings, I got into it more and more. It's in me. Art is music. I'm a part of music — that means I'm automatically a part of art. Everybody from Kanye to Nas to Beyoncé, everybody paints. A lot of people are into art, but they come out with it going real slow. Me, I'm going in headfirst."
Swizz says his ultimate goal is to be the youngest collector in the music industry. His favorite artists are Basquiat, Warhol and Keith Haring. He also says that the key to the art game is appreciating the appreciation.
"That Benz is gonna lose the value," he said about ballin' out with chains and cars as opposed to buying art. "That Basquiat or Andy Warhol is going to appreciate. You lose $30,000 when you driving out the parking lot. With [art], you appreciating $30,000-plus just by hanging it up on your wall."
Swizz notes that he does have luxury cars (he owns his own car lot) and jewels, but only because he made sure he had a house full of paintings first.
"If there's a piece of art I want and I'm not liquid to get it or, God forbid, something happens, those cars would go out the window for the art. I don't really speak about it too much. I like to be about it."
Next month, Swizz will embark on his first headlining tour. Although the shows are billed as just Swizz Beatz, his camp has said to expect a lot of surprises.
Swizz Beatz tour dates, according to his publicist:
» 10/10 - Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
» 10/11 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
» 10/13 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Harry O's
» 10/16 - Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
» 10/17 - Austin, TX @ Stubb's
» 10/24 - Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
» 10/25 - Chicago, IL @ House of Blues