The estate of controversial rapper XXXTentacion – real name Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy – has announced the release of five non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring previously unreleased material in partnership with New York-based crypto-collectible upstart YellowHeart.
Watch a short teaser for the XXXTentacion NFT collection below.
Spearheading the release is the late rapper’s manager Solomon “Sounds” Sobande and his estate, overseen by his mother Cleopatra Bernard. In addition to previously unseen concert footage, the collection will include five songs from XXXTentacion’s extensive catalogue, all of which were published to his personal SoundCloud page but remain officially unreleased.
“Although they were all big on SoundCloud, we never had the opportunity to monetise them or bring them off platform,” Sobande told Rolling Stone, noting that the final compilation of tracks offered was decided after surveying “a bunch” of hardcore XXXTentacion fans.
“Some of these songs aren’t even on his SoundCloud page anymore. There are just the remnants of them being reposted. These were the songs that built his career and led up to the explosion he had.”
On the topic of whether XXXTentacion himself would have been on board with his art being monetised as an NFT, Sobande continued, “X was all about going straight to his consumers and fans. He would’ve went in depth to do something new, cool, and customised.
“I’m sure he would’ve made music just for this. For him, the record label stuff, distribution stuff, and all that stuff was extra. He just wanted to get the music out, touch his fans, and have a relationship with his core audience. There’s so much red tape you have to cut and go around when you’re trying to do an album, and you wouldn’t necessarily have to do that if you were doing an NFT.”
The NFTs will also feature exclusive artwork designed by Stephen Bliss, notable for his work on the Grand Theft Auto series – of which XXXTentacion was a noted fan.
NFTs have become a lucrative source of income for musicians in the past year, with many high-profile artists jumping on the bandwagon to offer fans ownership of rare digital collectibles. Recent offerings include an alternate music video for the late MF DOOM’s ‘Dead Bent’, a series of trading cards from kawaii-metal band Babymetal, and a collection of unreleased images from the last official photoshoot with Kurt Cobain.
YellowHeart is the first dedicated platform for music-based NFTs, founded as a ticketing service in 2017. The XXXTentacion collection will be the first offering on YellowHeart’s newly launched NFT marketplace. The company previously worked with rockers Kings Of Leon to release their latest album, ‘When You See Yourself’, as an NFT.
XXXTentacion was shot to death in Florida on June 18, 2018, aged 20. His estate authorised the release of two posthumous albums, the most recent being ‘Bad Vibes Forever’ in 2019. In NME’s review, Kyann-Sian Williams said the release featured “some really great tracks”, noting that “even if you do hate XXXTentacion, you cannot deny his influence on modern rap”.