Legendary artists create music that transcends generations, leaving an indelible impact on fans, the music world, and society as a whole. Christopher Wallace — aka Biggie Smalls or The Notorious B.I.G. — is the epitome of such.
Biggie released his first demo tape and broke into the hip-hop scene in the early 1990s. Just a few years later, he was a worldwide sensation, gracing listeners around the globe with his deep voice and captivating rhymes. Although his time on Earth was cut tragically short, his music lived on, and it continues to serve as an inspiration for fans of all ages and walks of life.
Now, to pay homage to Biggie’s genius, green NFT platform OneOf has united with The Christopher Wallace Estate to bring The Sky’s the Limit: The Notorious B.I.G. NFT Collection to the world. Minting on the Tezos Blockchain, the collection features generative 3D NFTs inspired by Biggie’s life, style, and lyrics. What’s more, NFT holders get the right to collectively license the audio from one of his most famous freestyles.
In a conversation with nft now, Wayne Barrow, Biggie’s former manager and estate representative, noted that this collection is important both because it serves existing fans and because it can reach those from younger generations who may not be familiar with Biggie’s work.
“At the end of the day, it’s about cultural relevance, so that the younger kids today can get connected with Biggie and push that forward for the next generation,” he said. “It’s about making sure the fans can get connected to Biggie in a way unlike ever before by having ownership over a piece of work he’s created and having a license to create their own work from that.”
Unparalleled fan connection
With this drop, OneOf and the Christopher Wallace Estate are creating a host of novel ways for fans to connect with Biggie’s work.
For starters, OneOf was given the exclusive music licensing rights to Biggie’s “Fulton Street Freestyle.” Filmed on a Brooklyn street corner in 1997, this freestyle has never been cleared for sampling or adaptation. By purchasing a Notorious B.I.G NFT, holders automatically gain membership access to the new Sky’s the Limit Collective. The Collective will decide together what artists, DJs, and musicians can license the audio from this classic freestyle for their own recordings and remixes. Once approved by the collective and Biggie’s estate, any works using the freestyle can be released across all music services with a “featuring Notorious B.I.G” credit in the title.
And that’s not all.
All licensing, sales, and streaming revenue from the use of the freestyle will flow back into the Sky’s the Limit Collective to be further used by holders for various projects down the line.
Aside from the aforementioned licensing rights, the project will also place a strong emphasis on bringing fans together — both virtually and in real life — through gigs and events. The first of these experiences will take place in The Brook Metaverse, an immersive virtual experience designed to recreate the streets of 90’s Brooklyn that Biggie once roamed. All NFT holders will be granted VIP status.
Live experiences, which press materials say are “too crazy to even talk about yet,” are also in the works. And those who are lucky enough to secure an NFT from this initial collection will also be automatically guaranteed access to two additional collaborations between OneOf and Biggie’s family over the next year.
The drop details
The iconic drop consists of two phases.
Phase One: All interested collectors had until July 11th to sign up for a potential allow-list spot on the official project website. Those selected received an NFT representing their spot on the allow list. This NFT will be redeemable at the time of mint and is currently available for purchase on the secondary marketplace.
Phase Two: The full collection will be rolled out. It features three artworks of Biggie himself, each named after one of Biggie’s famous lyrics: “Richer than Richie,” “Business Instead of Game,” “Brooklyn Bandit.” All three tiers of artwork will feature exclusive traits of various degrees of rarity and will be available to the public on July 26th, 2022 via OneOf.
Finding the right fit and format
To launch a collection of this importance and honor Biggie in the right way, it was crucial for The Christopher Wallace Estate to find the right partner in bringing this vision to life.
Since its inception, OneOf has become a leader in music NFTs. For example, they recently announced partnerships with The Breakfast Club and The Recording Academy to celebrate the 64th Grammy Awards. OneOf also partnered with Whitney Houston’s estate to sell a never-before-heard demo at auction for $1 million.
After spending time discussing how to carefully and thoughtfully honor Biggie’s legacy, the teams say it was clear that the two were a perfect fit.
“What makes us really unique is that both our founders and staff not only have crypto expertise but we have a very strong music background. We have a unique skill set here at OneOf with our staff understanding tech, but also understanding music and artists and creativity in a way that other partners don’t have the expertise or background to advise on,” Joshua James, OneOf Co-Founder & COO, said. “The Biggie estate really wanted his fans to feel like they’re co-creators, and we’re sure we can make the estate proud and do it justice.”
The team knew they needed to find a way to honor both Biggie’s legacy and his upcoming 50th birthday in a way that resonated with his status as a pioneer. They say that NFTs were the logical choice.
“Web3 is a perfect vehicle for this since both NFTs and hip-hop are cultural movements started by young creators who wanted to put out art that wasn’t fully understood or accepted by the mainstream,” Chris Sealy, OneOf’s Creative Director & VP of Programming, explained in an interview with nft now. “Biggie broke down creative barriers in his day just like many of the most important NFT pioneers do today, and it’s only right that the greatest rapper of all time would continue to shape culture in his ‘life after death.’”
“We named this collection ‘Sky’s the Limit’ because we believe this is a watershed moment in NFTs where seminal artists like Biggie and their truest fans can drive culture and drive value together,” James added.
If you are interested in getting your hands on this legendary project, stay glued to the OneOf website at 10 am ET on July 26th, 2022.