The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat is partnering with Phillips to release a special edition of the iconic vinyl single “Beat Bop,” originally produced by Basquiat himself in 1983. This release not only celebrates the 50th anniversary of hip-hop but also aims to support arts education in South Los Angeles through the non-profit organization A Place Called Home.
The vinyl in question is no ordinary record. It’s a gritty, ten-minute rap battle between K-Rob and Rammellzee, two artists who shared Basquiat’s multi-disciplinary approach to art and music. The single was initially intended to feature Basquiat on vocals and was released under his own label, Tartown Records Co. This special edition release will include 50 of the original 500 vinyls from Basquiat’s personal collection, each housed in a handmade commemorative leather case and accompanied by a signed certificate from the estate.
Basquiat, who was deeply influenced by music, often incorporated elements of jazz into his visual art. The title “Beat Bop” itself is a play on “bebop,” a jazz style that originated in the 1940s and is closely associated with Charlie Parker, a musician who frequently appears in Basquiat’s work. The release serves as a tribute to Basquiat’s contributions to hip-hop culture and his support of fellow artists.
The first 40 copies, numbered 2-40, will be available for purchase on November 2nd via Phillips’ Dropshop, each priced at $4,000. But the crown jewel of the collection, the first edition, will be auctioned online from November 10th to 17th. The winning bid not only secures this rare piece of hip-hop history but also includes a private tour of the King Pleasure exhibition in LA with Basquiat’s sisters, Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux. All proceeds from this auction will go to A Place Called Home, a non-profit that provides arts education to youth in South LA.
The remaining ten copies, numbered 41-50, will be sold at the King Pleasure Emporium, part of the Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure exhibition’s physical shop in Los Angeles, come December 2023.
In a world where the lines between art forms are increasingly blurred, this initiative by the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Phillips serves as a testament to the enduring impact of Basquiat’s work, both as a visual artist and as a pioneer in the world of music. It’s a celebration of the complex layering that defines not just Basquiat’s art, but the genres of bebop and hip-hop that he so admired. And in the process, it’s nurturing the next generation of artists, right where help is needed the most.