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As part of his six week series with Vulture, Questlove tackles a variety of topics pertaining to the hip-hop culture. This week, he focuses on Jay-Z’s plush lifestyle and how his lyrics negatively affect the black community as a whole.
First he compares Jay-Z’s “My Picasso” to Run DMC’s “My Adidas” saying how the two songs vastly contrast from one another in terms of personal fulfillment.
“This is on the opposite side of the planet, ethically and socially, from “My Adidas.” It associates personal satisfaction with a product, but on an entirely different scale. I went to the mall the other day. They didn’t sell any Picassos. You can accuse me of a certain amount of humorlessness, and I’ll plead temporary insanity. But let’s look back into the lyrics. Jay Z isn’t just collecting art. He’s using the brand names of other famous painters to declare himself, by association, as an artist,” said Questlove.
He further elaborated on his point by delving into Hov’s lyrics.”It ain’t hard to tell/I’m the new Jean Michel. Surrounded by Warhols/My whole team ball. Twin Bugattis outside the Art Basel”
Then, he touched on how the two tracks differ and why the hip-hop audience latch on to Hov’s record without having any identification to what he’s saying.
“Whereas “My Adidas” highlighted consumer items, “Picasso Baby” is all about unattainable luxury, fantasy acquisitions. Within the first ten words of the song, Jay Z ensures that no one in his audience can identify with the experience that he’s rapping about. He would never want to be in a club that would have you as a member. But this doesn’t offend his audiences. They love it. They want to be just like him so they can exclude people just like them,” said ?uestlove.