From Rick Ross…the boss, to Jay-Z…the ultimate boss, rappers have been mentioning and shouting out Haitian-American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in their songs. Why is he so revered in the hip hop community though? Well we’ve got a few suggestions and opinions on why. Most of us know that he is a great painter, but what he was above being a painter is an artist, in the true sense of the word.

Jean-Michel started out doing graffiti in the streets of New York under the pseudonym, SAMO (Same old shit). While practically homeless he engaged in several arty activities; starting a band, cutting his hair in weird and wonderful ways (The Weeknd getting inspiration with the hairstyles), collaborating with Andy Warhol and even briefly dating Madonna at the peak of the Like a Virgin’s career.

So, that was me taking a roundabout way of answering my own question. Why should you know him? To find out more about Jean-Michel you understand more about the culture of the come up of New York City. You understand more of the creativity of your favourite artists of this modern era. Kanye West will make more sense to you. And a bonus…you get to see some dope ass paintings.


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