Exclusive: Swizz Beatz Talks ‘No Commission: Miami,’ Graduating From Harvard, Music & More

Swizz Beatz - Leandro Justen - for BFA

Fresh off graduating from Harvard Business School, the multi-talented Swizz Beatz – one of hip-hop’s most renowned artists and producers –  is hosting “No Commission: Miami” from 12/7 to 12/9 with BACARDI. 

Recently on Instagram, Swizz has been sharing the phrase “Let the creatives create” in his captions, even going so far as getting the phrase put on a sweater. The phrase is exactly what “No Commission: Miami” aims to do, give the creatives the space to CREATE.

The showcase is giving artists the opportunity to share their art and use the exhibition space for free. The best part is the artists participating get to keep 100% of the proceeds.

During our conversation, Swizz discussed the vision behind “No Commission” further and additionally, let us in on what it meant to graduate Harvard and upcoming Swizz music.

Q: For those who don’t know what the BACARDI “No Commission” showcase is – what can you tell us about it? Why was it important for you to make sure that a platform like “No Commission” would be available to artists?

A: Well, I created “No Commission” because I’m an artist myself and I wanted to see something in the landscape of the creativity that gave back to the artist instead of taking things. So I was building this out and then BACARDI reached out because they heard of what I was doing and they wanted to be a part of it. They agreed to let the creative create and let me do my thing and that’s why we’re here now, and that’s how we started.

Q: The showcase this year “focuses on the strength and vitality of the Caribbean” what inspired this specific theme?

A: I feel like the Caribbean is understated, for much that it contributes to. I wanted us to highlight that. So, every show we come up with different themes. It’s in Miami, the BACARDI family is from the Caribbean as well. So it brings everything full circle, and we get an opportunity to express beautiful, beautiful colors that you wouldn’t normally see in an art fair, or an art show or a gallery. We just want to shake things up and have fun.

Q: A big congratulations on graduating from Harvard Business School. You kept sharing the inspiring hashtag #FromBronxtoHarvard and had your audience and fans be a part of the process all through graduation. Why was it important for you to get that degree from Harvard, and not just get it but also share your process?

A: Well, I think that it’s important for me to let people understand and know that business is important. Us, as creatives, we always ignore the business part. We forget that it’s the music business, the art business, the fashion business, the movie business, whatever you want to call it right. So, it comes a time where the creativity is going to hit a ceiling. Because, you can be creative all you want, but if you don’t have the plans to execute those creative ideas without depending on someone- you’re probably never gonna be where you can really go.

I just wanted to go back and sharpen up my pencil and then I wanted to show everybody the journey and let them know that it’s cool to be smart. You don’t have to not be smart to be cool. Not smart people told you that it’s not cool to be smart. And you should always be a student. You should always be a student of life and no matter how successful you are, you should always accept knowledge. A lot of people were kind of getting on me for going back to school because they feel I’m so successful that I don’t need to forward my education. I didn’t really understand that. I think that anyone that wants to go and further their learning experience, that should be embraced. We live in a world where there’s too many uneducated people, and that’s why, a lot of the decisions that are being made are not educated decisions.

Q: Right after graduation, it seems like it was straight to the studio. You had sessions with Chance The Rapper, Tekashi69, J Cole. Anything you can tell us about these collaborations or your album perhaps?

A: Yeah, I have an album coming out which is totally the opposite from Harvard. The name of it is called Poison and people are like “why so dark?” – because I feel that I just want to bring back the authentic hip-hop vibes on this particular album. I want to bring back the thing that people love me the most for, from when I first started. You know that raw sound, and challenging artists to be a little bit more deep. So I took all of the big radio hits and global hits … off-the-record – and I just stripped it down to the rawest of the rawest music that I had locked in and I feel comfortable with it. It’s definitely going to be a head turner.

Q: What about the collaborations, Chance and J. Cole… Anything you want to tell us about those?

A: You know, everybody look out for the album Poison – Just know that all of those artists, plus many more, are not doing anything that you’re used to them doing, which is something that I have fun with.

Q: Also, the Grammys are coming to NYC and you and Alicia Keys will be honored by the RECORDING ACADEMY™ PRODUCERS & ENGINEERS WING. What does that honor mean to you? How excited are you to have it NYC!

A: I mean first of all, to be in any mention of honor with my wife attached to it. That’s big. She’s way bigger than me and she’s better than me too (laughs) right? We do two different things but she’s probably one of the best producers I know. She doesn’t really display it like that but I know who she really is and yeah, I think it’s great to be honored. And in New York City where we’re both from, by the Grammys, which is pretty amazing.

RSVP to “No Commission: Miami” TODAY! https://nocommission.bacardi.com/

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