Hip-hop nostalgia is arriving in NFT form.
As NFTs grow in prominence over 2021, Young sees the collaboration with NEAR as a way to reconnect with hip-hop and rap’s peer-to-peer origins.
“Since its beginnings, hip-hop grew from the grassroots,” Young said in a statement to CoinDesk. “From hand-recording tapes one by one to sell to friends, to the block parties powered by electricity from street lamps, it was a collective creation of a culture and economy developed through the artist and fan working together.”
Young finds NFTs promising as a means of restoring financial agency to emerging artists, eliminating the middlemen between musicians and their fans.
While the current marketplace for music-themed NFTs has largely served big-name artists with established followings, Young is confident that in the long term, independent artists will be the ones who benefit most from the technology.
“Hip-Hop Head” NFTs will be auctioned daily until July 24 on the collection's website. The NFTs are purchasable by credit card, which NEAR sees as a test of reaching a mainstream audience.
“This marketplace highlights several of NEAR's best features: end-user accessibility, a familiar Web 2-like user experience, inexpensive and easy NFT minting, and on-chain royalties that guarantee perpetual proceeds for creators,” Peter DePaulo, head of NEAR’s product lab, said via email.
The NFT portraits are created by hip-hop illustrator André LeRoy Davis, best known for his “Last Word” series featured in The Source. The first edition of each NFT in the collection will be donated to live in the gallery of the UHHM itself.
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