Rappers and NFTs – How Hip-Hop Is Cashing In on Non-Fungible Tokens
Despite the money spreading trend in hip-hop and rappers' lavish lifestyles that are displayed via social media, hip-hop isn't necessarily the big business it appears to be with touring off the table in a global pandemic. Due to COVID-19 touring restrictions, rappers have been left to make up the difference in the income they lost during the pandemic. With some rappers turning to OnlyFans as a means of secondary income, others are relying on NFTs to balance out the holes in their checkbooks.
An NFT is a non-fungible token that is one-of-a-kind and is being used as a digital collectible. Digital currency like Bitcoin or Litecoin is fungible, so if it's traded for another, the end result is exactly the same thing. Not with NFTs though; once traded, an NFT is unique to its buyer.
According to Billboard, NFTs are a digital collectible that serve as its own proof of authenticity. This pretty much means whatever you are looking to sell can be authenticated into a collectible item and purchased through a blockchain. For instance, a New York City man's fart was purchased for $85. In the hip-hop space, rhymers are a bit more practical with their exploration into NFTs.
In early March, Soulja Boy posed a question to his followers on Twitter, inquiring how to sell his tweets. The same day, the pioneering rapper used Valuables by Cent, a platform to mint tweets and make them one-of-a-kind NFTs.
Some rappers have used NFTs to sell tangible fan memorabilia like the late MF DOOM's augmented reality mask or Azealia Banks' recently announced audio sex tape with her fiancé, which was sold on an NFT digital marketplace.
Looking into the NFT marketplace and what the digital platforms have to offer, here's what some of your favorite rappers have sold—or are selling—using NFTs. Check out Rappers and NFTs - How Hip-Hop Is Cashing in on Non-Fungible Tokens.
Soulja Boy looked to his Twitter following for help earlier this month on March 7 when he asked, "How do I sell my tweets." The rapper apparently sold that exact tweet on the digital marketing place Valuables by Cent for 0.07475 Ethereum or $1,288.00. He then sold four additional tweets for $796.71, earning $2,084.71 in three hours by auctioning off his social media thoughts.
Azealia Banks is taking advantage of the NFT wave as well. On March 9, the New York City-bred rapper revealed that her 24-minute audio sex tape with her fiancé and conceptual artist Ryder Ripps sold on NFT marketplace Foundation for 10 Ethereum by a user named Rulton Fyder. Ten Ethereum is just about $17,000.
Quavo, Lil Baby, 2 Chainz and Jack Harlow
Quavo, Lil Baby, 2 Chainz and Jack Harlow teamed up with Bleacher Report to release an NFT collection on the digital online marketplace OpenSea during this year's NBA All Star Weekend, where they were seen competing in a basketball competition. According to Rolling Stone, the collection features "four custom-designed basketballs that mix music, culture and sport with innovation." The rappers received their own individual silver-edition NFT, of which 150 were minted and they sold for .4 Ethereum—about $715. The rhymers also received gold NFTs that they were able to present as "10 of 10" and put them up for auction. When Bleacher Report's gold auction came to an end, the tokens sold for more than $591,000 with 2 Chainz's No. 1 of 10 selling at the highest for 38 Ethereum or $68,030.
Lil Pump has partnered with NFT platform, Sweet, to release three unique collectibles, including digital jewelry: Esskeetit Card, the Lil Pump Artist Card V1 and the Esskeetit Diamond VVS. According to Bitcoin's official website, the announcement of Pump's NFT collectibles contains a three-piece collection, which features a 500-piece giveaway, a collectible card with a limited 2,000 piece inventory and the aforementioned Esskeetit Diamond VVS. Apparently, there are five diamond VVS NFTs altogether, which can be purchased using Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin cash (BCH) or a credit card. The items are also available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Multiplatinum-selling artist Iann Dior appears on Linkin Park cofounder Mike Shinoda's recent single "Happy Endings," which also features Upsahl. Ten copies of a 75-second clip of the song, released in February, and its accompanying abstract artwork, done by contemporary artist Cain Caser and Shinoda himself, is up for sale on the online marketplace, Zora. According to Rolling Stone, the first of the 10 copies sold for five WETH—wrapped Ether, which sells on the Ethereum network. Five WETH equals about $8,000. The No. 10 of the ten copies sold for four WETH, or around $6,600, according to Input magazine.
According to NME, in honor of the late MF DOOM, the elusive rapper's widow, Jasmine Dumile, record label Rhymesayers Entertainment and digital marketplace Illust Space have joined forces to auction off numerous augmented reality signed masks to be purchased using NFT. There are seven masks in total and they're expected to sell between $15,000 and $75,000. The current starting price for one of the masks is 200 ETH, which is about $338,000. It's also worth noting that 10 percent of the proceeds go to DOOM's estate in the form of royalties to help fund future projects.
According to Coin Desk, Post Malone and his manager Dre London have joined forces with digital marketplace Fyooz to give fans the chance to play against Post in his Celebrity World Pong League. In order to participate, users must have FYZNFT tokens, which will reportedly be airdropped to users on Fyooz.
Ja Rule's Fyre Festival was pretty chaotic and received quite a bit of criticism in 2017 for cutting corners and costs. According to Newsweek, the Queens, N.Y. rapper has since hopped on the NFT train to sell a 2017 painting of the Fyre Festival logo done byTripp Derrick Barnes on the platform Flipkick.
Brooklyn rapper Saigon is jumping on the NFT wave, too. On March 18, he revealed he used NFT to sell his son's artwork. "I just NFT some of my son's artwork.... Kids a living legend already," he tweeted.
A day prior, he shared his thoughts on NFTs with his Instagram community, posting a photo message encouraging parents to teach their children about NFTs, cryptocurrency, stocks and trading. "Lord Willing...... Try your best to make sure your children will have the tools they need moving into this crazy future..... #FactsOfLife... and oh yeah.. Click Link In Bio My 9 year old daughter told me she was sick and tired of Tik Tok today... Music to my ears," he posted as the caption of the IG photo.
Amir Obè found success with his first NFT sale. On March 25, he revealed his entry into the world of NFTs via Twitter. "I just listed my first NFT “Writer's Block” for sale on @withFND!," he tweeted.
The NFT, titled Writer's Block, is a "visual representation of an audio work in progress. The healthy frustration of the writing process, translating the feeling, to the hopeful event of success in verbiage," according to the listing on Foundation.app.
Then, just two days later, he scored when a buyer purchased Writer's Block NFT. "My first NFT on @withFND Sold," Amir tweeted. The NFT sold for 5.00 ETH, which equates to $8,931.90.
6ix9ine is looking to make a profit using the NFT platform Bondly Finance. On April 9, the rapper announced he will be auctioning off custom artwork. 6ix9ine's one-of-a-kind pack features 3D-animated artwork with snippets of his hit songs playing in the background. The first three of the six pieces up for auction sold at $380. Three more pieces are starting at $130, which are still available for purchase.
Jeezy's iconic snowman is getting digitally revamped for its NFT debut. The Atlanta rhymer and Oasis Digital Studios have come together to design a few limited-edition animated audio files, in which Jeezy speaks on the origins of his iconic snowman logo. The pieces will be live for auction on April 13 at 12 p.m. EST.
Curren$y is getting to the virtual bag. The 40-year-old rapper is offering an EP titled Financial District that will be exclusively sold on the cryptocurrency platform Bondly Finance on April 20. Music-inspired artwork done by Kid Eight, a 3D-animation graphic artist, will be available as well. The winner of Spitta's NFT will also be given access to a virtual smoke session with the Louisiana rhymer and his labelmates on Jet Life Recordings. The smoking event will take place after the Collection Agency rhymer’s forthcoming concert in Houston on April 20. Bidding will become available the same day as Curren$y's show at 4:20 p.m. EST via jetlifeapparel.com.
Cypress Hill's B-Real has partnered with world-renowned tattoo artist Mister Cartoon for a collection of artwork crafted for the rapper's new single "Triple OG." The drop is set to take place on Blockparty, a digital marketplace for assets, through Ark Labs to celebrate the stoner's favorite holiday, 4/20. All pieces will be up for trade on April 20 at 4:20 p.m. EST during a live performance at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. Along with the artwork, bidders will also have access to competing for a one-on-one smoke session with Real. Lastly, backstage passes to B-Real's Dr. Greenthumb Festival taking place this summer will also be available. More information regarding the release can be found at blockparty.co.
A$AP Rocky is getting in on the NFT wave as well. On April 17, the Harlem, N.Y. rapper shared a promo video via Twitter, announcing the launch of his first non-fungible tokens collection through Nifty Gateway, another type of digital marketplace. Rocky's collection contains "select pieces" and a snippet of his unreleased track "Sandman," which was previewed during Yams Day this year.
But, that's not all. Individuals who purchase the NFT will be entered into a raffle to win either one of the cars from A$AP Rocky's Injured Generation Tour or time with Rocky during a studio session. The rhymer's NFT collection will officially be available on Nifty Gateway's website on April 21 at 7 p.m. EST.
Eminem has hopped on the NFT wave. The 48-year-old rapper is offering exclusive collectibles to fans via NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway. Slim Shady will be offering the original instrumentals he produced on Sun., April 26, at 6:30 p.m. / 7p.m. ET. The auction, which has been nicknamed "Shady Con," will also be selling a set of NFT action figures of the fast-rhyming rapper that chronicle moments in his career.
Doja Cat is getting into the non-fungible token business. The "Juicy" rapper has partnered with Intellectible Holdings—a company the 25-year-old rapper owns a percentage of—to launch Juicy Drops, a high-end NFT marketplace. The rapper will be offering a collection of 3-D spinning graphics of herself in a metallic frame on April 23. The artwork comes in six tiers—platinum, gold, silver, black cherry, watermelon and plum. Any fans who collect all six will gain access to a mystery tier piece that will not be available for purchase.
Lil Jon is bringing something new to the NFT marketplace. The 49-year-old rapper will offer two unique audio collections comprised of 15 different Lil Jon ad-libs, a video of his signature catchphrases "Yeah," "What" and "OK," beats crafted by the legendary producer from 2005 and an NFT featuring Lil Jon toasting with his diamond-encrusted pimp cup. The individual who purchases the NFT of Lil Jon toasting with his cup will receive a pimp cup of their own that belonged to him. The items will be dropping on May 1 at 7 p.m. EST on Opensea.io.
With the help of Nifty Gateway, DJ Premier and artist collective Animus are auctioning off an exclusive NFT drop titled Golden Era Future. The auction began on April 28 at 1:30 pm EST. The world-renowned producer is offering nine tracks made by the beatsmith, clips that chronicle the producer's life and journey to success that are accompanied by artwork done by the famed collective.
Waka Flocka Flame
Waka Flocka Flame has partnered up with the digital art platform Satoshi Art to bring a 100 percent minority-owned NFT market. The newest NFT forum is dedicated to helping artists of color make advancements in their careers. Waka and Satoshi Art want this platform to allow artists to have their own identities and ownership of their music catalogs and art.
To honor the late XXXTentacion's memory, the rapper's estate, run by his mother Cleopatra Bernard, and his manager, Solomon "Sounds" Sobande, will make unreleased music available through an NFTs (non-fungible tokens) sale. X's estate is teaming up with Yellowheart to unleash five SoundCloud tracks from the young rapper that hadn't been available commercially prior as well as never-before-seen footage from XXX's 2017 Revenge tour. The NFT sale will begin on May 10 at 12 p.m. EST and end on May 15. Proceeds from the auction will go to the XXXFoundation, a nonprofit that X's mother and manager started after his death.
Young Nudy is launching a mini-campaign with an NFT platform powered by Argon Industries to support his next studio album, DR. EV4L. The drop will take place on May 18 at 12 p.m. EST and be available until June 1. The rapper will offer official Dr. EV4L artwork, VIP tickets and unseen polaroid pictures signed by Nudy. There is also a limited-edition version of the official DR. EV4L artwork. Fans who purchase the NFTs will receive with both immediate and future rewards like a private virtual gallery exclusive to the NFT token holders.
Rick Ross is the latest rapper to start selling merchandise via NFT platforms. The rapper and luxury car designer, Rich B. Caliente, are working together to auction off a hand-painted 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera. The auction is the first of its kind since no person has offered a vehicle. The auction is expected to take place on June 4 at the 2021 Bitcoin Conference in Miami, and the winner will receive a digital art NFT as well as the ownership of the sports car and the title to the physical Porsche that Rich and Ross decorated.