Jay-Z surprised some, and met the expectations of others, with the generous amount of art world references on his July 4-released Magna Carta Holy Grail. He compares himself to Picasso, da Vinci, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and even name-drops the Tate, MoMA, and Christie's auction house. Some of it comes off as redundant and annoying, since it sounds like he's hyper-fetishizing art and overdoing the amount he calls himself a genius, but at other times, he appears to be making larger points about how he views his work, especially as a "magna carta" for new times.
His art-focused lyrics make it seem like Jay-Z has all the wealth and status associated with being an art collector, but it turns out that he doesn't have everything he wants, or at least he hasn't bought it just yet. When Jay raps, "I just want a Picasso" in the song "Picasso Baby," it turns out, he really does. In a rare moment of answering fans on Twitter, he tweeted that he doesn't actually own a Picasso, but that his "birthday is DEC 4 though."
Earlier, Jay also said that he's been working on six videos for the album, which he referred to as "pieces of art." Jay's definitely on his art wave now more than ever and is making it known that he sees himself and his music as being in the same lane as the greats. Will his new visuals be as iconic as he's making them seem? We'll just have to wait and see.