Rapper and producer Pharrell Williams apparently spent lockdown like the rest of us — looking around his house and wondering how he ended up with so much stuff. Having risen to fame during the heady excess of the 1990s and noughties, over the course of his successful four-decade career, the US musician has amassed enough possessions to fill 11 storage vaults.
Now, apparently inspired by the decluttering philosophy of Marie Kondo, he is selling off many of those early acquisitions via a new auction site called Joopiter.
Launched by Williams, the platform is aimed at selling mementos from musical history, starting with the sale of part of his own collection. As well as honouring the unique provenance of such pieces, the sale is also to kickstart what he describes as his own “transmutation” into a simpler, less cluttered life.
While the sale is online only, the pieces are being displayed for viewing in New York, where serious collectors or the merely curious can see what Williams has acquired over the years.
Running until Thursday, the auction is called Son of a Pharaoh and offers a snapshot into Williams's extraordinary career.
As his success took off, so did his shopping habits, and his rising star is reflected in his purchase of a diamond-studded Rubik's Cube keychain, now being offered for $8,750, an 18-carat gold PlayStation, on sale with an estimate of $10,000, and a custom-made grill (for the teeth) in gold and precious gemstones, that can now be purchased for $8,250.
The producer, who's behind chart-toppers such as Britney Spears's I'm a Slave 4 U, Nelly's Hot In Herre, as well as hits for Jay-Z, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, then spent his cash on crystal-covered Stan Smith trainers, and jewellery pieces by Jacob & Co, the rap community's jeweller of choice.
These include a gold and diamond-studded N.E.R.D. belt buckle, now on sale for $11,500, and a solid gold astronaut pendant, now offered for $56,000, that he wore to the Versace spring 2004 haute couture show.
Also up for sale are white diamond necklaces and a golden BlackBerry, plus a diamond-encrusted Casio G-Shock x Bape watch for $12,000. There is a lot of four trainers from the Williams' Humanrace collaboration with adidas for $3,900, a hand-painted hat for $1,500 and even an enormous multicoloured Louis Vuitton trunk with a reserve price of $72,000.
Folded through the sale are new merchandise, made for the sale, such as a throw featuring many of the auction items and even a Son of a Pharaoh T-shirt for $65.
Williams has long-term plans for Joopiter, it seems, and in the future, friends and creatives will be invited to host auctions, with a percentage of proceeds going to Black Ambition, a scheme that supports entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds.