The first official Notorious B.I.G. NFT collection was first teased in March but now – as I’m sure we’ve all been waiting for – the official details have been revealed. Among other things, the release will include the right to license an iconic freestyle delivered by Biggie when he was just 17 years old.
The Sky’s the Limit: The Notorious B.I.G. Collection is a partnership between the crypto platform One of and the Christopher Wallace Estate (named, of course, after the Brooklyn rap icon). The set will feature unique 3D NFT characters, inspired by Biggie’s life and lyrics, which he blessed us with until his tragic early death at just 24 years old.
“Biggie’s music is a very important part of hip-hop culture and its global impact,” said Wayne Barrow, manager of the Notorious B.I.G.’s estate.
“Our business partner, Elliot Osagie of Willingie Inc, came up with the concept of coming together with OneOf to share the infamous freestyle that showcased to the world the icon that Biggie would soon become through an NFT, and sharing it with his fans in this way we are certain would make him proud.”
I’ll spare you the usual drivel on NFTs. Hopefully by now you’ll be at least semi-aware of them – and if you’re not, maybe this article isn’t for you. (Try this one instead). Just know that non-fungible tokens are unique digital certificates, registered in a blockchain, that record ownership of artwork or a collectible. They essentially provide proof of ownership for something digital.
The most noteworthy aspect of the collection, however, is the fact the purchasers will be granted the right to license an audio recording of one of Biggie’s freestyles, delivered on a street corner in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn when he was a teen. The audio has never been released or made available for sample or download until now. This is that very freestyle.
NFTs in the music sphere is nothing new. In March last year, Kings of Leon released their album, When You See Yourself, as an NFT, becoming the first band to do so. Canadian rapper and producer Tory Lanez put out three previously unreleased tracks as NFTs.
Post Malone, meanwhile, ever one to try and outdo others, teamed up with digital platform Fyooz to deliver the Celebrity World Pong League NFT. You read that correctly. Whoever bought a sufficient amount of FYZ NFTs were able to enter the league and play beer pong with Postie.
Other artists, including Grimes and DJ Steve Aoki, meanwhile, have sold works of art as NFTs.
What’s somewhat novel about this venture, though, is that you also get to purchase the rights to license the audio – for a reasonably recognisable freestyle, which hasn’t been released or made available for sample for download before.
Again, though, this isn’t technically a world-first. Last year, music distribution company Ditto Music launched bluebox: a blockchain-based service that sells the partial rights to songs and splits royalty payments accordingly. Big Zuu has joined this platform along with the rapper Taylor Bennett, brother of ‘Chance the Rapper’.
They may not be the biggest names in the world of rap. This Biggie opportunity involves a genuine icon. If you’re into that sort of stuff.