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You can add “art connoisseur” to Drake’s ever-increasing resume. Through a collaboration with Sotheby’s, one of the world’s most prestigious art auction houses, Drake lends his musical tastes to celebrate the work of contemporary African American artists. Music is an essential component of African American culture and hip-hop music paints pictures through rhymes and beats. Pairing music with art is almost obvious and seamless, as both are channels to express emotions, thoughts, and overall creativity.

The collaborative effort resulted in I Like It Like This, an exhibition presented at Sotheby’s S|2 contemporary gallery in New York City. Drake curated specific songs to accompany highlighted works in the exhibition, which include pieces from Rashid Johnson, Nick Cave, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Guests can hear Drake’s musical interpretation at Beats by Dre sound stations (obvious brand integration) found throughout the gallery. It was interesting to compare my artistic perspective with Drake’s. Some of his selections fit in well with the artwork, while other’s didn’t seem to pair well with the art. But hey, I can’t judge, art is all about personal interpolation.

The overall effort is mainly to drive awareness for Sotheby’s private direct sales business, where art aficionados can browse and purchase art without having to deal with auctions. By leveraging Drake’s “influence”, Sotheby’s could bring in a newer generation of wealthy customers, while adding some youthful energy to its stuffy, tight collared brand. I did a brand strategy project on Sotheby’s a couple of years ago in business school, and I wonder what kind of response I would get if I recommended partnering with Drake back then? I can see Drake’s name bringing in a younger demographic to get them interested in art, but I don’t think these people will have the several hundred thousands of dollars to actually purchase anything.

I Like It Like This is on display at Sotheby’s New York City headquarters from April 28th to June 12th. You can preview all of the artwork on Sotheby’s website and Drake’s picks on Beats Music. Go and see if you agree with Drizzy’s choices. Also, make sure you wander around Sotheby’s, there’s a lot of cool art there (better than the ones at the museums in my opinion)

Here are some pics from the exhibit.

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.