I Know I Poke Fun at Jonah Weiner Sometimes

But I think this piece on Jay-Z, modern art, and hip-hop opulence, is pretty much right on.  Jonah writes:

Like Jay-Z, who once calculated his personal fortune during the course of a song, Murakami and Hirst make art that is largely about the markets they exist in and the wealth they generate.. Murakami designedmonograms for Louis Vuitton, which in turn installed a functioning boutique in his 2008 MOCAretrospective. Hirst’s “For the Love of God” is largely about its own value, both before and after its art-world debut; the question of how much it cost to buy the stones, and how much of a markup Hirst’s imprimatur can sustain, is part of the narrative of the piece. This feels especially relevant to Jay-Z—when he raps, during the excellent Blueprint 3 outtake “Ain’t I,” that he paid $250,000 for the beat, he similarly writes the song’s exorbitant cost into the song itself.

One thing I’d be curious to see someone discuss is why rap is recession-proof?  I have a suspicion that even if the international art market suffers a dip, Jay-Z will be just fine.  Perhaps it’s because for all the money the man, the business, himself has accumulated, you can still buy the songs for a buck a pop and feel like you possess them. Not so with Hirst.  Also, I wonder if there’s a uniquely American spin to rap rise narratives.  No matter how obnoxiously rich Jay-Z is, he can easily drop a verse in and remind people he came from not a whole lot, theoretically justifying his present opulence.  Or it may just be that the whole rationale beyond telling folks to “change clothes and go” was to decrease the importance of bling, so his wealth wasn’t so visibly obvious and he could enjoy it in peace.