Since Jay-Z first dropped a Picasso reference back in '96 on "Friend or Foe," it was clear how much he loves the arts. On the track it was less about ownership and more about gunplay, but at the least it shows Jay's focus on the art world. Since then, he consistently rapped about his association with the fine arts by not only name dropping artists but also buying pricey artworks. Jay has conspicuously diversified his tastes and expanded his knowledge of the arts.

Basquiat is without doubt one of HOV's favorite artists. He mentions the painter on a 2006 Hot 97 "Grammy Family" freestyle, in 2009's "Ain't I," and in 2011 on "Illest Motherf**ker Alive." He also gives a shout-out to Jean-Michel's graffiti name SAMO in 2013's "Picasso Baby." Jay raps, "yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner," on "Picasso Baby." Later on the album, on "BBC," he raps, "got the Basquiat collab from Versace's place."

The Brooklyn-born rap mogul was the anonymous buyer of a authentic 1982 Basquiat painting titled "Mecca'' at Sotheby's in Manhattan last week, a source told The New York Post.

The painting -- an orange, white and black acrylic and oil-stick work -- features the Empire State Building under a trademark Basquiat crown.

Its estimated sale price was between $4 million and $6 million, so the rapper got something of a steal.

But it doesn't look as if money would have been an object anyway -- Jay has had a love affair with the late graffiti artist and fellow Brooklyn native for several years.

Jay has repeatedly included in his songs references to Basquiat -- who overdosed on heroin at age 27.

He said one of Basquiat's paintings even inspired an entire track -- and has lovingly talked about a print of that work that he owns.

The painting, "Charles the First,'' was the basis for his 2010 song "Most Kingz,'' the rapper has said. It opens with the lyrics "Inspired by Basquiat, my chariot's on fire."

In his 12th, and most recent, studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay references some $493 million worth of art, according to Forbes.

In one track, "Picasso Baby,'' Jay Z gives a nod to Basquiat by rapping, "It ain't hard to tell, I'm the new Jean-Michel."

The similarities between the artist's and musician's careers suggest that Jay is not so much the new Basquiat, but a continuation of the struggles the painter and others faced had he been allowed to mature into who he is today. Dying at the young age of 27, Basquiat was just beginning to deal with the contradictions of success and his humble, urban beginnings, a contradiction that has defined much of Jay-Z's career. This idea is also a dominant theme for much of his Magna Carta Holy Grail album. Simply put: Jay-Z is Basquiat grown old.