|Song by Jay-Z from the album Magna Carta... Holy Grail|
|Recorded||2012 – 2013|
|Magna Carta... Holy Grail track listing|
"Picasso Baby" is a song by American hip hop artist Jay-Z from his twelfth studio album Magna Carta... Holy Grail. It is the second track on the album and features additional vocals by The-Dream and Zofia Borucka Moreno. The song was produced by Timbaland and Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon and contains a sample of "Sirens" by Adrian Younge. Following the release of the album, the song peaked at number 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 based on downloads only.
Background and recording
After collaborating on The Blueprint 3 in 2009, Timbaland and Jay-Z parted ways due to creative differences, but reunited again while working with Justin Timberlake on The 20/20 Experience. When Beyoncé Knowles started working on her next studio album in late 2012, Jay-Z invited Timbaland to handle some of the production on it. While both in the studio, Timbaland played Jay the instrumental for "Picasso Baby". At the time, Jay-Z didn't have plans to record a whole album, but after they made the song, the two decided to "go for it". In an interview with BBC Radio 1, Jay-Z stated that "Picasso Baby" "built the sound of" Magna Carta... Holy Grail and Timbaland ended up handling most of the production on the album. According to Jay-Z, while the two have recorded many songs in the past, it was not until MCHG that they got "the chemistry" to collaborate for a whole project.
Producer J-Roc described "Picasso Baby" as "just New York". He told XXL that he and Timbaland "were really just feeling the city, the energy that it gives out" and were inspired by the "numerous different cultures and different dialects or sounds."
Adrian Younge, whose song "Sirens" was sampled to create the instrumental, commented that he was "very happy [with how it came out]." Despite usually being critical of how people sample his music, Young thought that "especially for 'Picasso Baby', they literally just looped the top, and it worked. Sometimes you just do a loop and it just works."
"Picasso Baby" has a lot of references to popular artists such as Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Jeff Koons, Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol, as well as world-famous painting Mona Lisa.
The music video for the song, titled "Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film" was shot on July 10, 2013, at the Pace Gallery in New York City. The video, directed by Mark Romanek, was inspired by the work of performance artist Marina Abramović and in particular by her 2010 installation "The Artist Is Present". The shoot was attended by director Judd Apatow, rapper Wale and artist Laurie Simmons, among many other "important figures from the gallery and sales side of fine art." On August 2, 2013, the music video premiered on HBO at 11 p.m. EST.
|US Billboard Hot 100||91|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||34|
- "Jay-Z. Zane Lowe. Part 1: Magna Carta Holy Grail". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
- "‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ Behind The Scenes: Five Producers Who Helped Craft The Album". XXL. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
- "Jay-Z performs Picasso Baby for six hours in New York gallery". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-18.
- "New Video: Jay-Z "Picasso Baby"". Rap Radar. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- "56th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees". Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Jay Z, “Picasso Baby"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
- "Jay-Z Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Jay-Z.
- "Jay-Z - Chart History Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard.