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Jay Z

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It’s amazing how many factors play into a person’s rise to fame. Take Jean-Michel Basquiat, a Haitian and Puerto Rican kid from Brooklyn, who died 29 years ago. He was only 27 when he passed away of a drug overdose on August 12, 1988. Now, a painting of a skull he created in 1982 has sold for $110.5 million, according to The New York Times. It now belongs to 41-year-old Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. See the painting and Maezawa below:

Maezawa is such a fan of Basquiat that last year, he bought another painting of his for $57.3 million. But the art collector has company when it comes to his love of Basquiat — rapper Jay Z. While Hov hasn’t dropped quite as much cash to own a piece of the artist’s legacy, he has immortalized the late painter on wax.

Jay’s Basquiat lyrics capture the brilliance of the artist in a hip-hop context.

Your boy has been name-dropping Basquiat in songs for years, bragging about Blue Ivy owning a Basquiat painting and even getting into a verbal dart match with Drake over his love for the artist. Jay’s Basquiat lyrics capture the brilliance of the artist in a hip-hop context. So let’s go down memory lane with six Jay Z lyrics that celebrate Jean-Michel Basquiat:

1 “BBC,” Magna Carta… Holy Grail:

Britney, bitch/ MCM seats buck 50 stitch Versace plates / Got the Basquiat Collab from Versace’s place”

Jay Z dropped $4.5 million for a Basquiat painting called “Mecca.”

2 “Picasso Baby,” Magna Carta… Holy Grail:

It ain’t hard to tell, I’m the new Jean-Michel.”

The Brooklyn rapper is claiming his place at the top of his art form.

3“Picasso Baby,” Magna Carta… Holy Grail:

Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner / Go ‘head, lean on that shit Blue, you own it.”

This lyric is referring to the famous Basquiat painting Charles the First, a work of art in yellow and blue that Jay Z wouldn’t mind letting Blue ruin because she owns it. That’s crazy, but you know — opulence.

4 “Most Kingz”:

“Inspired by Basquiat, my chariot’s on fire / Everybody took shots, hit my body up, I’m tired.”

At a time when Jay was holding tight to his crown as the king of hip-hop, he owned a Basquiat painting that inspired this song, which he mentioned in his book Decoded.

5 “Rich Forever,” Three Kings:

“Millions on the wall in all my rooms / Niggas couldn’t f*ck with my daughter’s room / Niggas couldn’t walk in my daughter’s socks / Banksy bitches, Basquiat  / I ran through that buck fifty Live Nation fronted me.”

It’s safe to say Jay Z spends tons of money on art. Blue and the twins (coming soon) are basically growing up in a museum!

6 “We Made It”:

“Sorry Mrs. Drizzy for so much art talk / Silly me rappin’ ’bout shit that I really bought”

While he doesn’t mention Basquiat by name, we know what he means by “art talk.”

Is Jay Z the Basquiat of hip hop? Hov sure thinks so — and we have a feeling SAMO would have been a fan of Shawn Carter. Kudos to Jay for always honoring the legacy of the late art great.


Jay Z on Basquiat: 6 Fire Lyrics About SAMO  was originally published on