• Russell Simmons’ NFT Collection with Snoop Dogg Is About ‘Respect,’ He Says

  • Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam and hip hop pioneer, has entered the NFT game because “respect for the founding fathers of hip hop needs a reboot,” he says.

    Simmons and Snoop Dogg curated an upcoming NFT collection called Masterminds of Hip Hop, which was first announced in August at a New York City launch event. Simmons, Snoop Dogg, Chuck D, Doug E Fresh, MC Sha-Rock, Grandmaster Caz, Eddie Cheeba, and other hip hop legends are featured on the digital trading cards, which include animated art and audio clips.

    “The NFTs are museum quality and will appreciate in value,” Simmons says, “but these artists’ stories are priceless.”

    On Tuesday night, Simmons spoke on a live Zoom hosted by Tawana Rivers of The 10K Project and Talisha Shine of Black Blockchain Consultants. Sharon Green, aka MC Sha-Rock, the collection’s first female emcee, and Hassan Miah, CEO of Paybby, joined Simmons, Rivers, and Shine in the discussion. Simmons collaborated with Paybby and the NFT marketplace Tokau to list the NFT collection, which will be available on October 10.

    When a Z0om viewer brought up the high Ethereum gas fees associated with NFTs, Miah pointed out that the Masterminds of Hip Hop NFTs are BSC-20 tokens on Binance Smart Chain. Fans can purchase the Masters of Hip Hop NFTs on the Paybby website using a credit or debit card rather than buying and exchanging cryptocurrency, a strategy that helped NBA Top Shot attract mainstream collectors.

    Simmons claims that the NFTs are a way for him to get compensation and credit for artists who, in his opinion, did not receive the compensation or recognition they deserved at the time. In addition to the NFTs, he would like to write a book and create a documentary series.

    And having Snoop Dogg on board is likely to increase the collection’s visibility in the crypto world; Snoop, who revealed himself last month as Cozomo de Medici, an NFT whale with a $17 million collection, has quickly established himself as a prominent voice in NFT art.

    “When we capture digitized information, it’s not just to digitize it for posterity,” says Shine of Black Blockchain Consultants, “but to use it as a commodity and leverage it in terms of information gathering.”

    Shine went on to say that NFTs are a living and dynamic thing, and that thanks to NFTs, she can now participate (digitally) in events she remembers attending as a child.

    “When I think about artists today, I love that they now have something to tap into, to really learn the history of hip hop,” says Rivers of the 10K Project. “It has a rich culture and an amazing life force of its own. We need to capture these stories as soon as possible, while these artists are still alive to tell them.”

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