Photo: Adam Wimpenny

Jean-Michel Basquiat Estate Releases 50 Songs: Look + Listen

In November, courtesy of the Jean-Michel Basquiat estate, the original editions of one of the most highly valued Hip-Hop records will be available to the public.

Featuring Basquiat’s cover art, 50 copies of Beat Bop, a collaboration between rappers Rammellzee and K-Rob, have sold for as much as $100,000. The editions from the artist’s estate, however, will be priced at $4,000 each and will be available via Phillips’ Dropshop starting Thursday (22.03.)

In 1983, Basquiat produced and released the 10-minute track along with the artist’s black-and-white single design with his trademark crown logo and words “test pressing” and “Bang!” The two instances of the words “Beat Bop” on the cover occur in boxes that have been X’d out. The Beastie Boys sampled the track on both “Jimmy James” and “B-Boys Makin’.” The song ranked Number 79 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs in 2017.

In addition to verses by K-Rob and Rammellzee, who died in 2010, the track features performances by graffiti artist Al Díaz, guitarist Sekou Bunch, and violinist Eszter Balint (perhaps best known for her role in Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise). Basquiat worked on the production and arrangement.

For the sale, the estate has decided to sell the first 50 numbered copies of Beat Bop’s original 500 test pressings. They’re all still factory-sealed and will be sold in handmade leather commemorative cases. Each will come with a signed certificate from the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Copies numbered two through 40 will be available via Phillips’ Dropshop. Numbers 41 through 50 will be sold at the King Pleasure Emporium, the name of the gift shop for Basquiat’s King Pleasure exhibition, which is now on display in Los Angeles.

The family has decided to auction copy number one to raise money for A Place Called Home, a nonprofit whose mission is “to provide gang-affected youth of South Los Angeles with a safe haven away from the life-threatening dangers and temptations of the streets.” The organization, which will receive 100 percent of the proceeds, provides options for youth to pursue visual arts, music, and performing arts. Between Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, bidders can vie to obtain the record on the Phillips website. In addition to owning the record, the winning bidder will receive a private tour of the exhibition with Basquiat’s sisters, Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux.

In 2022, while their brother’s exhibition was in New York n 2022, Basquiat’s sisters spoke with Rolling Stone about Jean-Michel’s ,usic al abilities. Lisane cited Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and the Who’s Tommy as two of his favorites, stating “When he was a teenager, I believe Tommy came out when we were living in Puerto Rico,” Heriveaux said. “And I just remember him playing that over and over.” “He loved Run-DMC.” “I believe the night that he passed [in 1988], he was supposed to be going to a Run-DMC concert. He just loved music.”

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Adam Wimpenny