If you’re an art-lover or simply a fan of the late-and-great artist known as Jean-Michel Basquait, then you know today (August 12) is the anniversary of his untimely death. Basquiat died at the age of 27 – due to a heroin overdose – at his art studio in New York City’s NoHo neighborhood.
The iconic artist – who was of Haitian-American and Afro-Puerto Rican descent – was a self-taught artist whose creativity manifested from graffiti on the streets of NY to neo-expressionism in world-renown art galleries. His creative style consisted of the fusion of different elements – like the incorporation of words – that interloped with social themes or commentary.
Basquiat once said:
“Since I was seventeen I thought I might be a star. I’d think about all my heroes, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix… I had a romantic feeling about how these people became famous.”
And that same romantic feeling about how his heroes became famous definitely resonates with him, especially in the world of hip-hop. Appreciation for the Brooklyn-born artist has come from rappers like J. Cole, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and of course Jay Z who’s periodically name-dropped the painter in a plethora of rhymes.
This being the 25th anniversary of his death, we at GlobalGrind decided to compile a list of rappers whose fascination about the artist and his work led them to make reference to him in their respective lyrics.
Check out the list below!
1. J. Cole
It’s like Sony signed Basquiat/ He gave it all he got/ And now the nigga don’t paint the same, damn.
2. ASAP Rocky
Painting vivid pictures, call me Basquiat Picasso.
3. Lil Wayne
Mystikal’s “Paper Cuts”
Young Money Weezy/ B-gang bi-otch/ Abstract artist, call me Basquiat.
4. Rick Ross
LIl Wayne’s “John”
Red on the wall, Basquiat when I paint.
“Ten Thousand Hours”
See, I observed Escher/ I love Basquiat/ I watched Keith Haring/ You see I studied art/ The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint/ The greats were great cause they paint a lot.
6. Danny Brown
“Die Like A Rock Star”
Basquiat freestyle, feeling like Jimi Hendrix and Anna-Nicole mouth.
7. Busta Rhymes
Wiz Khalifa’s “Different Cloth”
Please appreciate this art and this Basquiat that I’m painting.
Raekwon’s “MTV Cribs”
Rare art of Basquiat feeding fruit to Madonna.
Hit-Boy’s “Make Something”
From Basquiat to Nasty Nas, we paint pictures.
“Land of the Promise”
Promised Land I picture Porsches, Basquiat Portraits.
10. Swizz Beatz
Basquiats on my wall, Goddamn I’m fly.
I am a big boss/ Boy, get lost/ My new Basquiat, H.O.V know what that cost.
Well if you like me, this the shit you like to knock on your yachts/ Boat shoes on, walls full of Basquiats.
11. Kanye West
“That’s My Bitch”
She say I care more about them basquions/ Basquiats, she learning a new word, it’s yacht.
12. Jay Z
“Illest Motherfucker Alive”
When I say it then you see, it ain’t only in the music/ Basquiats, Warhols serving as my muses.
Rick Ross’ “3 Kingz”
Millions on the wall in all my rooms/ Niggas couldn’t fuck with my daughter’s room/ Niggas couldn’t walk in my daughter’s socks/ Banksy bitches, Basquiat.
Inspired by Basquiat, my chariot’s on fire/ Everybody took shots, hit my body up, I’m tired.
I got Warhol’s on my hall’s walls/ I got Basquiat’s in the lobby of my spot.
Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner/ Go ‘head lean on that shit Blue, you own it.
It ain’t hard to tell, I’m the new Jean-Michel.
Versace plates/ Got the Basquiat collab from Versace’s place.
On the chorus of Jay Z’s “Oceans,” Frank Ocean sings:
I hope my black skin don’t dirt this white tuxedo before the Basquiat show.