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Sotheby’s Is Auctioning a Limited Edition 25th Anniversary NFT of Jay-Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’

Jay-Z commissioned a one-of-one NFT digital animation from artist Derrick Adams to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Reasonable Doubt album. The piece will be aucioned online by Sotheby's.&nbsp…

Jay-Z commissioned a one-of-one NFT digital animation from artist Derrick Adams to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his landmark 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt album. The one-of-one digital artwork “comments on and recontextualizes the album’s iconic cover,” according to a release.

The piece, titled “Heir to the Throne” — the original title of the album — will be sold by auction house Sotheby’s as an NFT in a single-lot auction, with bidding open Friday (June 25) and going through July 2nd here. A portion of the auction’s proceeds will benefit the Shawn Carter Foundation.

This marks the first NFT for both Jigga and Adams and, the release notes, it is the only officially authorized event the rapper has approved to commemorate the album’s anniversary. Roc-A-Fella Records recently convinced a New York federal judge that Jay’s debut shouldn’t be sold as an NFT after the label sued its co-founder, Damon Dash, on June 18, alleging that he was trying to sell virtual ownership of the Reasonable Doubt copyrights.


A description of the single animated digital image notes that it features Adams’ “singular aesthetic style of bright colors, geometric forms, multi-layered textures, and flat surface dimensions. Adams has made a cinematic visual experience that channels not just the spirit and impact of the music, but also the aspirational impulses of a young musician at the dawn of his career. The work is inspired by the two men’s shared engagement with life in the urban streets, including the dreams and challenges associated with it. Emphasizing the symbolic relationship between success and a cigar, Adams makes the work come to life through animated glowing red embers and a stream of smoke that rises from the end of Jay’s iconic cigar,” which transforms into the number 25.

Bidding for the piece will start at $1,000, and it can be viewed at Sotheby’s York Avenue Galleries through July 1, and virtually via Sotheby’s gallery in the Voltaire Art District in Decentraland. Sotheby’s will accept cypto payment — Ether and Bitcoin — as payment for work.

“Over the years Jay has collected and supported my work and so this collaboration is particularly fulfilling,” said Adams in a statement. “With this NFT project, we jointly embrace the opportunity to further the conversation about how artists of different mediums contribute to a more inclusive society. Jay’s album Reasonable Doubt changed the game 25 years ago, and continues to influence so many of us.”