Ghostface Killah is set to release NFTs based around previously unpublished lyrics the founding Wu-Tang Clan rapper wrote over 20 years ago.
The latest high profile artist to jump in on the buzzy tech craze, Ghost tells Rolling Stone he was looking back through notebooks of old lyrics — some of them over 20 years old — as he was getting ready for the 25th anniversary of his debut solo album Ironman. He and his team decided those lyrics would be a good foot in the water to determine how the NFT marketplace would fit for him going forward. He hasn’t shunned the idea of releasing music directly as NFTs but says he’s looking at the lyric release as an experiment. It isn’t clear yet how many NFTs Ghost is releasing or when the drop will be, but all the lyric NFTs will be one-of-ones.
“We’ll see how it goes. If I want to do more of these longer-term, there’s a lot of options I can do,” he says. “Music, art, or in this case, some of my lyrics, there’s a lot we can do, so I have to do some experimenting and find out what works. But for this one, people are going to get a vintage rhyme from Ghostface.”
Ghostface Killah and the rest of Wu-Tang now have an association with the NFT market past the fate of the group’s seventh studio album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Wu-Tang infamously released only one copy of that album in 2015, which sold at auction to convicted felon pharma-bro Martin Shkreli for $2 million. A group of crypto enthusiasts bought the record for twice as much in July and plan on marking their deed of ownership over the record with an NFT. Ghostface says the album has had little trajectory on his decision to try his hand with the crypto tokens.
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“I’m just going to be straight up, I don’t give a fuck about that album,” Ghost says of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. “I don’t care who sold it or the owner now, I’ve got nothing to do with that shit, and that album didn’t affect my decision to do any of this. I’m just releasing a rap sheet of my own music.”
Ghost is releasing his NFTs through the S!NG Market, one of several NFT marketplaces launched more specifically around music. Ghost says he had several suitors for an initial NFT drop but went with S!NG because they gave him the best offer and he felt they were the most artist-friendly. Among the artists and music groups who’ve already established partnerships and NFT drops on S!NG include Aloe Blacc, Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland and management and record company Shelter Music Group, whose client list includes Fleetwood Mac and ZZ Top.
Raine Maida, lead singer for Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace and S!NG’s chief product officer, has advocated for NFTs as a means both of putting more value on music and connecting with fans in novel ways.
“Fans wanted to support an artist,” Maida says. “Just because DSPs happened doesn’t mean fans didn’t care about putting value on the music they love. Look at Bandcamp Fridays; they’ve done so well each week since they launched. “We’re still so early in with the market, and music fans still don’t really know what NFTs are, but they certainly have a better idea of them than a year ago.”