Picasso Baby: Hip-Hop’s New Obsession With High End Art
When Jay Z released his first solo album Magna Carta Holy Grail in nearly four years last summer the world was more anxious than anything. What would a then 43-year-old husband and new father have to offer to the world of rap? I’d doubt if anyone thought it would be art.
The second track off the album entitled “Picasso Baby” displays Jay Z new obsession with art in the first verse.
“Jeff Koons balloons, I just wanna blow up/ Condos in my condos, I wanna row of/ Christie’s with my missy, live at the MoMA/ Bacons and turkey bacons, smell the aroma “
But that’s exactly what happened, a mature Sean Carter left his crack selling ways in the Marcy projects for a more sophisticated lifestyle of Warhol paintings and public outings with Blue Ivy & Beyonce.
However, not everyone seems to be feeling Jay’s new fascination with art.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Drake was quoted saying some unflattering things about the Brooklyn emcee.
It’s like Hov can’t drop bars these days without at least four art references,” Drake said in the interview. “I would love to collect [art] at some point, but I think the whole rap/art world thing is getting kind of corny.
Jay Z didn’t take to kindly to the words of Mrs. Drizzy as he referred to him on Jay Electronica’s remix of “We Made It”
“Sorry Mrs. Drizzy for so much art talk,” “Silly me, rappin’ ’bout shit that I really bought/ While these rappers rap about guns that they ain’t shot/ And a bunch of other silly shit that they ain’t got.”
The response from Jay Z speaks to a question which has long been asked in hip-hop, what is authentic hip-hop? Is hip-hop the tales of poverty and the struggle of the people or true stories about the lives of the people who tell them?
But as hip-hop has grown both commercially and in art form so have the representations as to what authenticates it.
For years Drake has been questioned by many in the hip-hop culture about his authenticity as a rapper. From jokes about his time as a child actor to talks about his music being too emotional. So isn’t it funny that the Jewish rapper from Canada is now questioning the authenticity of in some eyes “the greatest rapper alive”?
Hip-Hop has embraced sports, fashion and movies, so is it crazy to think the world of fine art couldn’t be next? As hip-hop artist become more global and bigger superstars than ever before, the hobbies and topic of content that comes from it will continue to evolve. Now will the gatekeepers of the genre evolve with it.