Hip hop has joined the likes of Impressionism, fine furnishings, and watches as one of the celebrated arts auctioned by Sotheby’s. Its New York auction house’s first-ever hip-hop auction last week garnered dazzling buzz and sales. More than 120 lots focused on memorabilia from the music genre, dating from the late 1970s to the present. Correspondence, fashion, instruments and hip hop-inspired artworks were among the fascinating artifacts. Due to high interest and surprisingly high bids, collectors will hopefully see more like it. Here are highlights from hip hop’s historic moment.

Daniel Arsham x Nas

Miami-raised artist Daniel Arsham collaborated with rapper Nas on a limited-edition sculpture of cast plaster and crushed glass in 2019. Lost Tapes 2 Crystal Eroded Cassette combines Arsham’s well-received “Future Relics” series and Nas’s album of the same title. Their signed edition still has its original, factory sealed box.
https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2020/hip-hop/daniel-arsham-x-nas-lost-tapes-2-crystal-eroded?locale=en

Drake Unreleased Air Jordan IV Retro

Sneaker collectors went crazy for this rare pair of brand-new, unreleased Nike Air Jordans designed by Canadian rapper and singer-songwriter Drake in 2017. The prototype’s size 11—Drake’s shoe size—differs from Nike’s usual sample size of 9. They feature details from his OVO (October’s Very Own) clothing label, too, like the owl logo.
https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2020/hip-hop/drake-unreleased-air-jordan-iv-retro-prototype?locale=en

De La Soul Album Cover Study

The precursor to the final cover for De La Soul’s 1989 debut album, “3 Feet High and Rising,” beautifully demonstrates the artistic process. Tommy Boy Records commissioned British art collective Grey Organisation for its unconventional, peaceful daisy concept versus hip hop’s macho stance. Handpainted with Posca pens, the colorful flowers decorate the soon-to-famous trio’s black-and-white portrait.
https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2020/hip-hop/grey-org-toby-mott-de-la-soul-3-feet-high-and

The Wall of Boom

Roc Nation DJ and hip-hop collector DJ Ross One created the auction’s largest lot, an installation of 32 vintage boomboxes with a custom display. Rare boomboxes from JVC M90s to a DiscoLite also include the one from Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing.” The functional work is wired as a singular sound system for the house party of all house parties.
https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2020/hip-hop/dj-ross-one-the-wall-of-boom

Questlove’s 5-Piece Drum Kit

Questlove, who counts drummer for The Roots among his many job titles, played this Sixties-era, 5-piece drum kit during live performances and studio recording sessions for his band’s early albums. Comprised of a snare drum, floor tom, kick drum, two rack toms and cymbals, the lot also threw in a photo of the famous musician sitting at the kit.
https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2020/hip-hop/questlove-premier-drum-set-as-played-on-roots

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