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Pakko De La Torre // Creative Director

Notorious B.I.G. NFT dropped 25 years after his death - The Washington Post

Notorious B.I.G. NFT dropped 25 years after his death – The Washington Post

No matter how deep your connection to the Notorious B.I.G., the people in charge of the pioneering rapper’s estate think it can go even deeper. “Wait on a digital line to drop $100 on a piece of AI-generated art” deeper.

On Tuesday afternoon the estate made available — first to a list of fans that have demonstrated their devotion and then to the general public — a 3,000-piece NFT collection that uses algorithms to resurrect the late icon’s signature looks. The Notorious NFT is dedicated to the proposition that keeping an artist alive is not so much about holding them in your heart as retaining them in your digital wallet.

The performance has never been licensed out. But the 3,000 NFT owners will get to vote on whether any paying entity that wants to use it as a sample or in other derivative works can do so. Members could even see some revenue from such a sale, though the details have yet to be worked out.

Biggie died 25 years ago, of course, gunned down after an industry party in Los Angeles in the wake of a coastal-rap feud with Tupac Shakur, who was killed months earlier. The posthumous celebration — and market economy — kicked off almost immediately, with the “Life After Death” release going diamond (10 million copies).

To determine who gets first crack, a two-hour presale “allow list” was put together from fans who submitted testaments to their devotion. Backers say they wanted to avoid too many speculators who will later drive the price up, but acknowledge that this is almost inevitable (and perhaps desirable).

Biggie was known for his deep-voiced, laid-back rapping style that recounted his struggles, glorified his aspirations and reveled in his successes (and excesses). His music was a comment on class, crime, wealth, death and other topics that had not previously been rapped about in that way, one reason he was named the greatest rapper of all time by the Source, among many others.

“Every single item has a story and it’s often not the story people understand,” said Christopher Sealey, OneOf’s creative director. “We have one with Biggie holding a bag of cash, and the reason we included it is not because he was talking about money but because if you talk to his neighbors even now, then they’ll all say how generous he was in the community.”

The NFT release is related to an effort called “the Brook,” a Biggie “metaverse” in which people can assume avatars and move around the world conjured by his songs. It might strike users as either the future or a new participatory storytelling — or a kind of brand overkill that erodes what made so many people fall in love with an artist in the first place.

“When I think of Biggie, I think of a man sitting in his home looking out the window, giving you a purview of what he saw,” Barrow said. “He was connecting you to the story by putting himself there but he was also bringing you in it. So in Biggie’s mind, the metaverse already existed.”

This content was originally published here.