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Since 2021, many artists have put their music on the blockchain. It can be a handy way to monetize creative work if the technology goes mainstream. More than any other part of the music industry, many hip-hop artists have become high-profile blockchain and music tokenization advocates. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Music Tokenization

First, you need to know what music tokenization means. Blockchain technology makes it possible to record transactions while keeping user info anonymous. This mix of transparency and anonymity is what made the first cryptocurrencies possible. Like other blockchain technologies, cryptocurrency hasn’t seen widespread adoption by society yet. Its biggest utility is in the online space, where software and e-commerce storefronts accept trusted cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in place of cash. Elsewhere on the internet, cryptocurrencies have become a stand-in for the chips used at casinos. This led to an industry of crypto casinos for holders of Bitcoin or Ether. While cryptocurrency is the most well-known consequence of the blockchain, it’s only half the story.

Cryptocurrency is fungible – it has to be if it’s used as a currency. Fungibility means two assets can be exchanged because they’re valued and the same. A pair of dollar bills, for example, are fungible. Within a blockchain ledger, it’s possible to stash unique data with a transaction log showing who owns it – these were non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Using the ERC-721 standard, digital data can be processed into a blockchain asset. That’s tokenization.

NFTs became famous in 2021 due to many art pieces, the quality and utility of which varied widely. However, at their best, NFTs can be a way to cut out middlemen and allow artists to sell directly to the audience, who control the asset’s market price. They also have other benefits, like supporting secondary markets for collectible assets or automating the royalties process for creators.

Hip Hop on the Blockchain

With that explained, let’s explore why the latest and most high-profile blockchain advocates have been hip-hop artists.

Like most, Snoop Dogg’s first foray into the blockchain happened in 2021. He started with digital art NFTs, amassing a collection worth millions of dollars. Then, he made the predictable swap to tokenized music by releasing an NFT album—Death Row Session Vol.2. This came after he acquired Death Row Records and announced he wanted to make it an NFT label.

Snoop said of the Death Row acquisition: “Just like when we broke the industry when we were the first independent to be major, I want to be the first major in the metaverse.” The metaverse is the zenith of blockchain’s potential, where digital assets can be traded freely in a social media-like forum. From there, Snoop also raised millions to fund the music NFT exchange platform Sound and continues to launch various NFT projects.

Alongside Snoop, you can also count most of the Wu-Tang Clan. Method Man is the most prominent member in support of the technology, having created his own NFT collection. Years ago, Wu-Tang recorded Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. It’s a one-of-a-kind album that can only be made publicly available in 2103. However, an NFT collector group called PleasrDAO acquired it and has stated they want to make the album more widely accessible. They can do this through tokenization while keeping the album unique and not flouting its restrictions.

While it may be one of the most popular types of music today, much hip-hop is subversive. It can question social paradigms and delights in upsetting the status quo. With that ethos, it makes sense that hip-hop artists, especially the older ones, have leaped onto blockchain before other musicians.

Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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