Jay Z‘s numerous Basquiat references were never just another word to rhyme. The Roc Nation mogul recently purchased one of the late artist’s paintings for a whopping $14.5 million.
Apparently the “Tom Ford” rapper tried to buy the work anonymously, but someone dropped dime and word has gotten out.
Reports the New York Post:
He raps, “I just want a Picasso in my casa” — but Jay Z has settled for another of his art-world obsessions, plunking down a cool $4.5 million for apiece.
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.”
Yesterday (November 20), Jay Z’s “A New York Holiday” collection with Barneys New York premiered. The items are pricey, including a $700 baseball hat, but all the proceeds will be going to charity.
Check out an image of Basquiat’s “Mecca” painting that Jay Z copped on the flip.