Hip-hop and contemporary art may seem like curious bedfellows, but their link is deeper than Diddy's pockets. Art and hip-hop both draw from a variety of inspirations and different mediums, like sampling songs or mixed medium pieces. Both also involve commercialization of the craft and often reflect on materialism —today's rappers have become art collectors, and contemporary artists make works dedicated to rappers.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Neo-Expressionist artist and graffiti writer, rose to prominence at the same time as hip-hop in 1980’s New York City before he passed away from a drug overdose at only 27-years-old. Many in the entertainment industry collect Basquiat’s art because they find inspiration in his work and personal history. It’s not coincidental that so many Basquiat references are popping up in hip-hop after the recent release of the documentary on his life. The hip-hop/Basquiat love affair goes far beyond Swizz Beatz’s Reebok sneakers.

Written by Megan Ann Wilson (@shegotgame).

Check out The Complete Guide To Jean-Michel Basquiat References In Hip-Hop.

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