Russell Simmons is helping keep old-school hip-hop alive, and it’s not in the begrudging, condemn-new-rappers kind of way, either.
“I often think of the early days of pre-recorded hip-hop when it was only a performance art. There were rappers and DJs who pioneered the space and made it so popular that the recording of rap artists was imminent,” Simmons said to Page Six in a statement.
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“None of them has received the accolades that I believe they deserve and this is my chance to use a new vehicle to revisit and repay these amazing artists while they are still living,” he added.
Titled “Masterminds of Hip-hop,” the NFT will feature never-before-seen or heard recordings and artwork from artists like Public Enemy’s Chuck D., Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Nikki D, DJ Hollywood, Busy Bee and Grandmaster Caz.
NFTs (nonfungible tokens) are digital collectibles that use blockchain technology as a verifiable digital ledger, basically giving artists the ability to make their digitally exclusive.
The popularity of this technology has created a new bridge between collectors and artists — a digital one — that has opened a new market for creatives to make an exorbitant amount of money.
An NFT video of LeBron James dunking a basketball sold for $208,000 in January, for example.
The collection will be available on the NFT platform Tokau, Page Six reports. Additionally, a source for the magazine says the drop will feature other hip-hop stars like Snoop Dogg and that this will be the “first wave, of like a sneaker drop”.
In addition to the big-name artists, however, Simmons reportedly wants to use this opportunity to honor the pioneers who have been historically overlooked as well.
“It’s his way of helping some of the rap pioneers who have been less fortunate than the new rap generation, who have made millions off the culture. This NFT collection will help the community,” the insider said to Page Six.
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Simmons will be in New York for the launch this week — a rare appearance for the music mogul who was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal several years ago.