Who Said This—Damien Hirst or Jay Z?

The pair have more in common than you think.

Sante D’Orazio, Damien Hirst and Jay Z (2007). Courtesy of LIveAuctioneers.

On New Year’s Eve, 2007, Jay Z released a music video for his track Blue Magic, where he’s seen performing in front of canvases by artists Takashi Murakami and Damien Hirst. Needless to say, the art world paid attention.

The following year, art dealer Bill Powers interviewed Hirst and Jay Z for Purple Magazine‘s 9th issue. “Both men grew up in fatherless homes,” Powers notes in the introduction. He blithely continues, “[They] share a deep love of music, dabble in fashion, and are worth a couple hundred million dollars.”

Their popular collaboration sparked a complicated dialogue about the art world’s reluctance to embrace powerful outsiders. As art critic Jerry Saltz explained to a perplexed James Franco in a recent New York Magazine interview: “I’m not trying to keep you out, but I will admit that critics take a shot at anybody who comes in the art world. Look at Jay Z.

But despite these sentiments, Hirst and Jay Z do share much in common, as evidenced by the pair’s 2008 interview. They’re both movers and shakers, and if Hirst’s recent prodigal return to Larry Gagosian and Jay Z’s support of Beyonce’s scathing Lemonade album indicate anything, it’s the simple fact that these two men believe that business is business.

To challenge your powers of discernment, we’ve compiled a list of quotes from each artist below. See the answers at the bottom.


1. “You know, successful people have a bigger fear of failure than people who’ve never done anything because if you haven’t been successful, then you don’t know how it feels to lose it all.”

2. “All over the world, people talk to me like they’ve had a conversation with me before.”

3. “All art and music is childish, or childlike—all kids can sing and draw. Only some of them stop and become bank managers. I guess we’re the lucky ones. We didn’t stop.”

4. “I think it’s more that when you’re young, you’re invincible, you’re immortal – or at least you think you are.”

Jay Z in Blue Magic music video (2008). Courtesy of YouTube.

Jay Z in Blue Magic music video (2008). Courtesy of YouTube.

5. “I have family and friends and a strong foundation around me. Everything else, everything outside of who you really care about or who you really connect to, people’s perceptions of you, is just noise.”

6. “You can’t escape your past, and it can become something around your neck.”

7. “It’s all part of the same community even if we’re speaking another language. I’m most interested in the thought process behind artwork. It’s incredible to me.”

8. “[E]veryone wants to be better than they are.”

9. “I’ve been a successful businessman my whole career. I can do more than one thing at one time. I can walk and chew gum.”

10. “I have always loved horror films; I like being frightened.”

11. “You have to be excellent on your own terms, not other people’s.”

12. “[A]rt is subjective. It evokes conversation and strong opinions.”

Damien Hirst. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan.

Damien Hirst. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan.

1. Jay Z
2. Jay Z
3. Damien Hirst
4. Damien Hirst
5. Jay Z
6. Damien Hirst
7. Jay Z
8. Damien Hirst
9. Jay Z
10. Damien Hirst
11. Damien Hirst
12. Jay Z

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