Birth name

Shaquan Ian Lewis

Also known as

Mad Skillz


Detroit, Michigan, United States


Richmond, Virginia, United States


Hip hop


Rapper, DJ, record producer

Years active



Atlantic, Big Beat, Rawkus, Sure Shot, Big Kidz, E1

Associated acts

DJ Jazzy Jeff, Magoo, Missy Elliott, The Neptunes, Timbaland

Shaquan Ian Lewis, better known by his stage name Skillz (formerly Mad Skillz), is an American rapper, DJ and record producer from Richmond, Virginia. Skillz first made a name for himself by finishing in second place in a national freestyle competition, and subsequently signed to Atlantic Records. He released his debut album, From Where???, in 1996, which received positive reviews and moderate commercial success. The album's title is a reference to the regionalism in hip hop, and how Virginia was yet to be respected as a hip hop scene. In the late 1990s, he allied himself with fellow Virginia natives Missy Elliot, Timbaland and The Neptunes.

Skillz signed to Rawkus Records, and recorded his second album, I Ain't Mad No More, throughout 2001 and 2002. The lack of success from the album's lead single, "Crew Deep", resulted in a cancellation of the album's U.S. release and a granted promotional release in Canada was made instead. Skillz resulted to releasing most of the album's songs on 2005's Confessions of a Ghostwriter. Since 2002, Skillz has released a year-end "Rap Up" song that encapsulates the events of the prior twelve months. 

Skillz released the albums The Million Dollar Backpack in 2008, The World Needs More Skillz in 2010 and Thoughts Become Things in 2012. Skillz announced that his 2014 Bink! collaboration album, Made in Virginia, will be his final studio album featuring him rapping. He now produces and deejays. 


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