“Inspired by Basquiat, my chariot’s on fire
Everybody took shots, hit my body up, I’m tired
Build me up, break me down to build me up again
They like, Hov we need you back so we can kill your ass again”
Rapper Jay-Z took his inspiration by Jean-Michel Basquiat to the next level and purchased a 1982 art piece titled “Mecca”, at Sotheby’s in Manhattan for $4.5Million, from the fellow Brooklyn native, who OD’d on Heroin in 1988, at the age of 27.
The NY Post reported on Monday:
The Brooklyn-born rap impresario was the anonymous buyer of a quirky 1982 Basquiat painting titled “Mecca’’ at Sotheby’s in Manhattan last week, a source told The Post.
His hefty purchase — an orange, white and black acrylic and oil-stick work — features the Empire State Building under a trademark Basquiat crown.
Its estimated sale price was between $4 million and $6 million, so the rapper got something of a steal.
But it doesn’t look as if money would have been an object anyway — Jay Z has had a love affair with the late graffiti artist and fellow Brooklyn native for several years.
Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, has repeatedly included in his songs references to Basquiat — who OD’d on heroin in 1988 at age 27.
He said one of Basquiat’s paintings even inspired an entire track — and has lovingly talked about a print of that work that he owns.
The painting, “Charles the First,’’ was the basis for his 2010 song “Most Kingz,’’ the rapper has said. It opens with the lyrics “Inspired by Basquiat, my chariot’s on fire.”
In his 12th, and most recent, studio album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” Jay Z references some $493 million worth of art, according to Forbes.
In one track, “Picasso Baby,’’ Jay Z gives a nod to Basquiat by rapping, “It ain’t hard to tell, I’m the new Jean-Michel.”