Rapping about the finer things is a big part of what hip-hop's about these days. But what happens when you have no idea what the hell's being boasted about?
That's the case on Watch the Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye West's self-described “luxury rap” album. It's clear that they're bragging about their possessions; it's just often not clear what those possessions are. So, to clear up any confusion ahead of the duo's three-night stand at Staples Center kicking off on Sunday, Dec. 11, here's a breakdown of the album's most obscenely ostentatious references.
Lyric: “What's that jacket, Margiela?”
Song: “Niggas in Paris“
Luxury Reference: Belgium's Maison Martin Margiela designs pristine blazers, handmade from 100 percent virgin wool.
What We Imagine Kanye Quipping Upon Purchase: “Gucci and Louis Vuitton? What am I, a bricklayer?”
Lyric: “Rolling in Rolls-Royce Corniche”
Song: “No Church in the Wild”
Luxury Reference: With Maybachs and Lamborghini Murcielagos now ensconced in the hip-hop lexicon, Hov had to up the ante. This opulent Rolls-Royce convertible, designed from 1971 to 2002, is the most expensive in the English automaker's fleet of absurdly expensive rides.
Price: $363,990 for a 2002 model
What We Imagine Jay Quipping Upon Purchase: “Does the Grey Poupon come with it?”
Lyric: “I'm riding dirty, tryin' get filthy, Pablo Picasso, Rothkos, Rilkes”
Song: “Who Gon' Stop Me”
Luxury Reference: The works of Pablo Picasso and expressionist painter Mark Rothko are some of the most expensive in the art world. But it's the mention of bohemian poet Rainer Maria Rilke that's bizarre here. His manuscripts were written almost exclusively in German, and the originals are so rare that Jay-Z couldn't possibly get his hands on one. Then again, he is Jay-Z.
Price: Rothkos have sold for upward of $73 million.
What We Imagine Jay Quipping Upon Purchase: “Can't leave cubism alone, the game needs me.”
Lyric: “Call Larry Gagosian, you belong in museums”
Song: “That's My Bitch”
Luxury Reference: This isn't a product so much as a name-drop — but it also reeks of money. Larry Gagosian is a world-famous Armenian art dealer who represents the work of everyone from Andy Warhol to Bob Dylan.
What We Imagine Jay Quipping: “VIP tables at LACMA, baby!”