What's it gon take for me to go
For you to see, I'm the modern day Pablo, Picasso baby
Jay longs to know how many chart topping albums, radio-magnetised songs and countless works of art until he is recognised as a legendary artist ala Pablo Picasso.
It could also be a veiled reference to the drug lord Pablo Escobar, after he says Pablo there’s a pause in which you could think that he’s gonna shout-out Escobar, but he doesn’t.
He’s asking “Do I need to die for you all to realize I’m a legend” … as legends usually don’t get declared so until they’ve passed. He’s an artist like Picasso and a street legend like Escobar.
By saying ‘Picasso’ instead of ‘Escobar’, he could be saying how he wants to be remembered as an artist, not a criminal. In the trailers for this album and on other occasions Hov has talked about how even though he is now a rich business man (or rather a business, man) he is still perceived by many as a criminal, because of his dark past of drug dealing in Brooklyn. He wants to be seen as the new Pablo Picasso, not the new Pablo Escobar.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit "Picasso Baby" by Jay Z Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box