Jay-Z avenges Reasonable Doubt with Sotheby’s NFT auction

Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt was the focus of a high-profile NFT court case last week, but now a different tokenized homage to the 1996 release is up for sale at Sotheby’s.

Bids for the stylish animation below opened Friday — less than a week after a New York court stopped Roc-A-Fella (RAF) co-founder Damon Dash from selling the rights to Reasonable Doubt as an NFT.

Last Friday was the 25th anniversary of the record’s release. The 500MB MOV file tied to the one-of-one NFT depicts a young Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) holding a cigar, reimagining the album’s original artwork.

Animation courtesy of Sotheby’s.

According to Sotheby’s, a physical version of the piece will be stored in Jay-Z’s personal art collection.

At press time, the NFT has so far fetched 46 bids, topping out at $35,000. The auction will run until July 2.

Reasonable Doubt NFT lives on Ethereum

Indeed, Sotheby’s listing came quickly after Jay-Z’s former colleague Dash was blocked from auctioning his own Reasonable Doubt NFT.

Jay-Z’s entertainment company RocNation currently owns the NFT, titled Heir To The Throne (the original name for the breakthrough record).

  • The NFT is an ERC-721 token deployed to the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Artwork linked to the NFT is stored on decentralized storage protocol Arweave.
  • Jay-Z assures that the token won’t be ported to another blockchain.

But where RAF accused Dash of peddling copyrights to the record, Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt NFT is instead a standard digital art auction.

Reasonable Doubt’s album artwork served as inspiration for the NFT.

Jay-Z commissioned the work from Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams. The piece is the pair’s first NFT collaboration, but they’re no strangers.

Adams’ art featured in Beyonce’s Black is King visual album, in which Jay-Z gets substantial screen time. 

Song royalties a frontier in NFTs

Dash’s plans to tokenize Reasonable Doubt might’ve failed but other hip-hop dignitaries have found more success.

Legendary crew A Tribe Called Quest is minting an NFT on Royalty Exchange, a platform that allows crypto folk to invest in music.

The NFT grants its owner 1.5% of the royalties accrued from music sales, streaming, radio, digital downloads, and TV and film use of Tribe’s first five albums.

Those royalties will be paid in Ether.

Bids started at 16.5 ETH ($35,000). So far, there’s been two offers, the top being 16.659 ETH ($35,440).

Jay-Z is selling a reimagining of Reasonable Doubt's artwork, titled Heir To The Throne (the original name for the breakthrough record).
A Tribe Called Quest’s NFT auction is scheduled to end on Thurday.

[Read more: ‘Never before seen’ footage of John McAfee on the run goes unsold]

Royalty Exchange recently managed the auction of an NFT tied to Lil Dicky’s Save Dat Money.

The song’s rights sold for just over 9 ETH ($19,000).

As for Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt NFT, a portion of the proceeds will go to The Shawn Carter Foundation, the charity he co-founded with his mother Gloria Carter.

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