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Jay-Z Goes Nuts With the Art References in “Picasso Baby”

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We know Jay-Z has a thing for art — only yesterday, we reported that the cover to his hotly anticipated new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail“ is done by artist Ari Marcopoulos. Well, the lead track, “Picasso Baby,” definitely does not disappoint with the art references, which come fast and thick: The tune weaves together references from Picasso (of course), to Christie’s, MoMA, and Art Basel (makes sense), to Leonardo da Vinci and the “Mona Lisa” (classic), to, we think, Francis Bacon (in the cryptic line, “Bacons and turkey bacons, smell the aroma”). Perhaps greatest of all is the moment when he seems to suggest to the woman he is rapping at (Beyonce? Or Blue Ivy?) that she not worry about defacing his “Yellow Basquiat”: “Go ahead lean on that shit Blue — You own it.” Here are the lyrics, with the art bits in bold, just in case the references are too subtle for you:

I just want a Picasso, in my casa
No, my castle
I’m a hassa, no I’m an asshole
I’m never satisfied, can’t knock my hustle
I wanna Rothko, no I wanna brothel
No, I want a wife that fuck me like a prostitute
Let’s make love on a million, in a dirty hotel
With the fan on the ceiling, all for the love of drug dealing
Marble Floors, gold Ceilings
Oh what a feeling – fuck it I want a billion
Jeff Koons balloons, I just wanna blow up
Condos in my condos, I wanna row of
Christie’s with my missy, live at the MoMA
Bacons and turkey bacons, smell the aroma
[Hook]
Oh what a feeling
Picasso Baby, Ca Picasso baby
Ca ca ca Picasso Baby, Ca ca ca Picasso baby
Oh what a feeling x2
[Verse 2]
It ain’t hard to tell
I’m the new Jean Michel
Surrounded by Warhols
My whole team ball
Twin Bugatti’s outside the Art Basel
I just wanna live life colossal
Leonardo Da Vinci flows
Riccardo Tisci Givenchy clothes
See me thrown at the Met
Vogue’ing on these niggas
Champagne on my breath, Yes
House like the Louvre or the Tate Modern
Because I be going ape at the auction
Oh what a feeling
Aw fuck it I want a trillion
Sleeping every night next to Mona Lisa
The modern day version
With better features
Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner
Go ahead lean on that shit Blue
You own it
*break*
[Verse 3]
I never stuck my cock in the fox’s box but
Damned if I didn’t open Pandora’s box
They try to slander your man
On CNN and Fox
My Miranda don’t stand a chance, with cops
Even my old fans like old man just stop
I could if I would but I can’t
I’m hot, and you blow
I’m still the man to watch, Hublot
On my left hand or not
Soon I step out the booth
The cameras pops niggas is cool with it
Till the canons pop
Now my hand on the Bible
On the stand got your man in a jam, again
Got my hands in cuffs
I’m like god damn enough
I put down the cans and they ran amok
My hairpin pierce skin, ruptures spleens
Cracks ribs, go through cribs, and other things
No sympathy for the king, huh?
Niggas even talk about your baby crazy
Eventually the pendulum swings
Don’t forget America this how you made me
Come through with ‘Ye mask on

Spray everything like SAMO
Though I won’t scratch the Lambo
What’s it gonna to take
For me to go
For y’all to see
I’m the modern day Pablo
Picasso baby
[Hook 2x]
XX

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Comments

  1. by Glenn Dranoff

    You missed a reference. “Condos in my condos” is talking about George Condo.

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