Backbeat: Swizz Beatz, T.I., Alicia Keys, Stephen Baldwin @ NYC Lotus Launch Party
Backbeat: Swizz Beatz, T.I., Alicia Keys, Stephen Baldwin @ NYC Lotus Launch Party

Producer/rapper/entrepreneur/generally busy guy Swizz Beatz celebrated his latest venture -- as Vice President of Creative Design and Global Marketing for British car company Lotus Cars -- with a launch party at New York's IAC Building on Wednesday night (Nov. 30). The hip-hop artist helped unveil his first designed product, a red chrome-painted coupe, at the star-studded event, while T.I. later took the stage for a four-song performance.

From left: Lotus Cars CEO Dany Bahar, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz and Stephen Baldwin on the black carpet at the IAC Building
Lotus Cars CEO Dany Bahar, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz and, of course, Stephen Baldwin on the black carpet at the IAC Building (Photo: Shareif Ziyadat, FilmMagic)

Swizz Beatz, who has previously served as a creative partner with companies like Reebok and Kidrobot, tells Billboard.biz that he was an auto enthusiast long before he signed on to the Lotus gig. "I won all my local car shows, from designing and changing things up with the cars. Now we're gonna put them on the streets for real," he says.

The rapper says that he was approached by Lotus Cars CEO Dany Bahar, who was looking to "take things to the next level on the creative side," and has held multiple meetings with the company's design team since the partnership was announced in August.

Swizz Beatz (left) and New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony
Swizz Beatz (left) and New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. (Photo: Shareif Ziyadat, FilmMagic)

"The U.S. is the biggest market for us, but we need to get out of the customer group that we serve today," says Bahar. "We need to address younger people, and it didn't take long to find his name."

Among the celebrities spotted at the event were Russell Simmons, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Baldwin and Swizz Beatz's wife, Alicia Keys, who sparkled on the black carpet in a black leather jacket and red heels. T.I., who jumped onstage at B.o.B's NYC concert the previous night, performed four songs at the event, including "Bring Em Out" and "Swing Ya Rag" with Beatz, who produced both tracks.

After snapping photos with Bahar on the black carpet and joking around with the CEO, Swizz Beatz professes that he's serious about his commitment to the luxury brand. "It's a partnership that's a real partnership. It's not an endorsement where I'm just standing in front of the car," he says. "Tonight you're gonna see the product of our partnership, and how we plan on changing things and people's visions."

Swizz Beatz (right) performs with rapper T.I.
Swizz Beatz (right) performs with rapper T.I. (Photo: Shareif Ziyadat, FilmMagic)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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