Music mogul Russell Simmons is getting into the NFT market with his "Masterminds of Hip Hop" collection. The Def Jam Recordings founder worked with rapper and NFT collector Snoop Dogg and other genre icons.

The NFT market was recently valued at around $768 billion and is part of the $2 trillion cryptocurrency market, so it was only right that Hip-Hop made its way to this new platform.


Official sales for the "Masterminds of Hip Hop" collection went on sale this October, with presales already running on the website of Paybby, a startup digital bank, and fintech company. Simmons also teamed up with Tokau - a sales platform for non-fungible tokens - on the project which is a two-part collection that will have at least 40 NFTs and will include never-before-released recordings.

A "respect for the founding fathers of hip hop needs a reboot," Simmons was quoted as saying by DeCrypt on a Zoom call discussing his motivation behind entering the NFT space. The market has boomed in popularity over the last year, with its valuation climbing to around $768 billion as of around Oct 15th, according to CoinMarketCap.

The first group of 27 NFTs includes fan cards that resemble baseball cards emblazoned with images of Simmons, Chuck D, rapper Doug E Fresh and other artists and producers who drove the rise of hip hop, a genre that's morphed into a worldwide phenomenon from its roots in the Bronx in New York City.

Simmons and Snoop Dogg are among the many high-profile names who have jumped into the NFT space, ranging from singer Katy Perry, NBA team Golden State Warriors, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who sold his first-ever tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million. He donated the money to charity. Snoop Dogg's ventures into the world of NFTs were highlighted by his claim last month that he's behind an influential NFT account on Twitter called CozmoMedici.

People buying NFTs gain the rights to their unique tokens on a blockchain. People buying from Simmons' collection can use debit or credit cards to pay for their purchase without buying and exchanging crypto, a tactic that DeCrypt said helped NBA Top Shot digital collectibles pull in mainstream collectors.

Paybby CEO Hassan Miah said the "Masterminds of Hip Hop" collection are BSC-20 tokens on Binance Smart Chain, responding to a viewer on the call who noted high Ethereum gas fees associated with NFTs, the DeCrypt report said.

Many rappers and DJs who pioneered hip hop never received accolades or financial benefits that should have come from their work, said Simmons.

"[This] is my chance to use a new vehicle to revisit and repay these amazing artists while they are still living," said Simmons in a statement in June.


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Images of Russell Simmons and rapper Doug E Fresh are in the 'Masterminds of Hip Hop' NFT project (Paybby). 


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