Jay-Z to Auction ‘Reasonable Doubt’ NFT at Sotheby’s

The news comes fresh on the heels of a lawsuit filed against another Roc-A-Fella founder over an attempted NFT.

AccessTimeIconJun 25, 2021 at 1:02 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:21 a.m. UTC

Rapper Jay-Z is selling a non-fungible token (NFT) based on the album cover of his debut album, “Reasonable Doubt.”

The NFT will be sold by Sotheby’s in an auction that opens today and runs through July 2.

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  • The announcement comes days after Damon Dash, one of the co-founders of Roc-A-Fella Records along with Jay-Z and Kareem Burke, was sued for allegedly trying to sell the copyright of “Reasonable Doubt” as an NFT. 

    In its lawsuit, Roc-A-Fella Records claims Dash doesn’t own the rights to the album, because he owns only one-third of the record label and so the rights aren’t his to sell.

    Dash walked back his claims after the suit, countering that he was actually trying to sell his entire stake in Roc-A-Fella as an NFT, according to TMZ. It’s unclear exactly what that means. 

    A Sotheby's representative told CoinDesk this project had been in the works for the past few weeks.  

    “It’s fitting that JAY-Z’s pioneering lyrical brilliance is commemorated through the iconic vision of acclaimed artist Derrick Adams in a bold new medium," Cassandra Hatton said in a statement. "The release of Heir to the Throne marks the continued influence of Reasonable Doubt and its deep legacy of cultural importance.”

    “Reasonable Doubt,” which was released in 1996, is widely seen as one of the greatest rap albums of all time. The NFT is meant to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the album's release.

    “My portraits aim to capture the sensibility, optimism and beauty of urban life, and in JAY’s work I’ve found tremendous kinship,” Adams said in a statement.

    A portion of proceeds from the sale will benefit the Shawn Carter Foundation, an organization bearing the rapper’s name that provides scholarships to low-income students. Bidding will start at $1,000.

    The auction will also be available virtually in the Sotheby’s gallery in Decentraland.

    Sotheby’s will accept cryptocurrency (ETH and BTC) as a payment option. Sotheby’s crypto purchases are facilitated through Coinbase Commerce. The storied auction house said earlier this week it would be accepting crpyto payments for the upcoming sale of an ultra-rare 100-carat diamond.


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