WTF is a Basquiat?

Person? Place? Neo-expressionist artist who embodied a rich African-American culture in the 1980’s? Yeah, that last one is about right. Basquiat, was an individual; Jean-Michel Basquiat (pronounced boss-KEY-ought), to be exact. Doesn’t ring a bell? Well, his works have influenced a New York subculture for decades through controversial graffiti and rich paintings. Covert thespian, Rick Ross, mentions him several times in his music, particularly in the Lil’ Wayne track John when Ross states:

“Red on the wall, Basquiat when I paint.”

Rozay even has a tattoo of the late artist on his thigh. Basquiat, is just a prime example of the separation between the rap culture and our own. Not to say that the average individual can’t appreciate fine art, as most people do enjoy the beauty in a great piece, but when rappers start talking about certain aspects of “high” society, we’re left with the “WTF is he talkin’ about?” glare. Case in point, Jay-Z, hip-hop SUPER mogul, once stated on the J. Cole song Mr Nice Watch:

“I got a Hublot, I call it Tebow, I strap that b**** with a gator band”

Now, from context clues alone, any rap connoisseur can identify that a Hublot (pronounced HEW-BLOW) is a watch or timepiece. Much like an Audemars-Piguet (pronounced Awe-de-mar pig-ay), which Meek Mill is quick to reference on his infinite Instagram feed (@meekmill) and on songs like I’m A Boss Remix Lyrics, where he yells:

“Audemar on my wrist, bustdown!”

Little does the listener know, that these watches could cause upwards to a 4 bedroom home. Give or take a couple racks. You can literally wear a house on your arm for $250,000. Time is money, and a lot of it, too. However, the buck doesn’t stop there (see what we did there?). In a final attempt to show the disconnection with what’s lost as soon as a rapper hits the big time, a line from Drake’s The Ride should put it in perspective:

“I hate when people say they feel me man, I hate that s***. It’ll be a long time before y’all feel me, if ever…You won’t feel me until…you do dinners at French Laundry in Napa Valley. Scallops and glasses of Dolce, That shit’s right up your alley.”

In several bars, Drake sums up the contrast of being famous, and the obvious disconnection between the normal individual and the wealthy rapper. “Feel”ing him is equivalent to experiencing the French Laundry restaurant on a regular basis. With prices beginning at $270 per person, it’s a great one time experience, unless you have an insatiable appetite for personal bankruptcy. So, WTF is a Basquiat? It’s a divide from our world and the materialistic preface of a millionaire rapper, all captured in a surname. We may never OWN a Basquiat painting, but we’ll be able to appreciate every stroke in its elegant
Prowess.