From revolutionary outsider to an entrenched gatekeeper, Jay-Z enters the NFT space like a whale in a Bodega. Litigation, speculation, and recriminations abound as the 25th anniversary of his breakout album Reasonable Doubt rolls around—the leading players involved in the project attempt to reap the whirlwind that is the NFT market today.
There were two NFT offerings slated to celebrate the 25 anniversary of Mr. Carter’s seminal work. Still, earlier this week, a judge halted Damon Dash’s proposed auction of his version of a Commemorative NFT, the specifics of which still remain cloudy. The optics of competing NFT’s from rival owners of the same intellectual property were enough to set the Twitterverse aflame with wild speculation and lukewarm hot takes.
HOV is most assuredly a zealous protector of the image and reputation that he’s built up over decades of dominating pop culture. And clearly has no problem using the courts to his advantage. The lessons those of us studying the space are learning by watching the things that he’s been able to block from being minted, and the other moves made in the space are invaluable to us as early adopters.
After a lifetime of setting trends, he seems to be playing catchup and overcompensating to the casual observer. Though that belies the fact that with Tidal and Twitter firmly in his corner, Jigga has unparalleled insight into the culture as an aggregate, even if he does seem to be missing some of the finer nuances of the crypto and NFT space as evidenced by changing his avatar to a cryptopunk like this was 2017. Ya gotta get a Bored Ape fam?
But I digress. lol, the scope of Jay’s influence on the culture can not be overstated. The millions of people discovering NFT’s and crypto due to Jay-Z minting a one-of-one NFT will only lead to a fresh wave of newly minted crypto enthusiasts and NFT noobs. Without a doubt, it would have been better for those of us native to the space if he would have descended onto one of the platforms that could act as a larger onramp to the space than a Sotheby’s, which is the definition of exclusive, and by design seeks to limit the number of people who participate in their auctions. However, access appears to be a blindspot that executive HOV has, which may have developed from having very few doors closed to him. A recent twitter spaces event held by Jack Dorsey with independent artists featured on the Tidal Platform had a lack of access as a recurring theme, from playlist generation to fan engagements. The problems that up and coming artists are facing today no longer seem to be high on the priority list.
I started writing this before a lot of legal issues went down. In light of all that has happened since– lookout for a follow-up/update article from me next week.