Roc-A-Fella co-founder can’t sell Jay-Z album as an NFT, court rules

A New York court has blocked Roc-A-Fella Records (RAF) co-founder Damon Dash from selling Jay-Z’s debut album as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT), reports Rolling Stone.

According to RAF’s complaint, Dash planned to capitalize on the bubbly NFT market by tokenizing one of his label’s most famous records, Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt

The lawsuit (filed last week) claimed Dash hoped to leverage relatively unknown NFT platform SuperFarm to auction ownership and copyright to the 1996 platinum-selling album. 

  • RAF believes Dash has already minted Reasonable Doubt as an NFT.
  • Dash’s two-day auction later this month is now canceled.
  • RAF filed the suit fearing Dash would flog the NFT somewhere else.

A strange place to auction a Jay-Z album

NFT protocol SuperFarm only launched earlier this year. The project is backed by an obscure, self-styled crypto influencer with few followers.

Indeed, managing the digital rights of one of hip-hop’s greatest records would be a big win for SuperFarm.

Roc-A-Fella Records sued co-founder Damon Dash to stop him flogging Jay-Z's debut album as an NFT.
SuperFarm wants to merge NFTs with yield-generating DeFi.

The platform is mostly geared for crypto-collectibles and boasts an NFT staking gimmick to generate yield (more NFTs).

SuperFarm’s site features no mention of Jay-Z.

Although, a Medium post hints to a future that helps support musicians, like removing industry execs from the profit equation.

Dash denies NFT cash grab

SuperFarm is quoted in RAF’s complaint. The project explained winning the Reasonable Doubt NFT auction would entitle “the new owner to future revenue generated by the unique asset.” 

Dash reportedly denied there was ever any announcement. And while it was seemingly scrubbed from SuperFarm’s site — the note apparently lives on in court fillings. 

Roc-A-Fella Records sued co-founder Damon Dash to stop him flogging Jay-Z's debut album as an NFT.
Excerpt from RAF’s complaint over Dash’s Reasonable Doubt NFT.

As noted by Rolling Stone:

  • RAF was co-founded by Jay-Z, Dash, and entrepreneur Kareem Burke in 1996.
  • Dash and Jay are no longer involved in the company.
  • Each co-founder still controls one-third share.

Jay-Z had brokered a deal to retain sole ownership of his albums. So, RAF also claimed Dash was attempting to steal Reasonable Doubt and profit from it.

Dash denied that and instead said he’s really trying to offload his RAF stake.

JayZ is no stranger to NFTs, having helped marketplace Bitski raise $19 million in May.

[Read more: sunk $150M into Voice — now it’s an unfinished NFT platform]

“They just said that I tried to sell an NFT of Reasonable Doubt and … it’s not true,” Dash told Page Six. “I’m not running around to different places trying to auction off Reasonable Doubt. I’ve been working with one platform and that’s SuperFarm.”

“And the thing is I own a third of [RAF] and I can sell my third if I feel like it.”

TMZ, who broke details of the lawsuit, reports Dash isn’t phased by Tuesday’s court decision. His stake is still up for grabs.

In March, Jay-Z reportedly tried to buy Dash out of RAF for the “unacceptable” price of $1.5 million.

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