Swizz Beatz has long been one of the go-to collaborators for hip-hop's biggest names. From his work with the Ruff Ryders around the turn of the century to his own solo material, the producer-turned-everything has carved out a niche with a signature sound and an unbeatable work ethic. So it came as no surprise when Swizz was one of the many artists tapped to work on the last-minute sessions for Kanye West's nascent seventh album, tentatively titled Waves--and due Feb. 11.

This week, Swizz sat down with Billboard to discuss his place in the art community. (Long noted for his extensive, well-curated personal collection, the musician and husband to Alicia Keys was recently named to the Brooklyn Museum's board of trustees.) At the end of the interview, he was asked about his involvement in Waves--he laughed when he learned of the new title--and explained that it should come as a welcome escape from the outside world.

"It’s one of the best albums I heard him produce in a while," Swizz said of West's new work. "It’s a sound that I think is very enjoyable. The sonics and the things that people are gonna hear--I think they should connect to it, like close their eyes from all of the B.S. and think about the music when you listen to the album." He added that there's "a lot of noise out there" and that the record should transport its listeners.  "He has a great piece of work on his hands," he said.

See 40 Hip-Hop Albums Turning 20 in 2016