Jay-Z and Artist Derrick Adams Unveil NFT to Commemorate 25th Anniversary of ‘Reasonable Doubt’ Debut

Derrick Adams

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Jay-Z’s iconic debut album “Reasonable Doubt,” the rapper has commissioned multi-disciplinary artist Derrick Adams to create a one-of-one animated digital artwork that recontextualizes the album’s cover, which will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s as an NFT in a special single-lot auction. The collaboration marks the first NFT either has created and offered for sale

A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit The Shawn Carter Foundation, and support its mission of helping individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at postsecondary institutions.

The announcement comes just days after Jay-Z sued former Roc-A-Fella business partner Damon Dash, who had announced he was planning to unveil a “Reasonable Double” NFT, although he later said he was trying to sell his interest in the label, which originally released the album in 1996. Jay-Z’s official announcement states unambigously: “The auction is also the only official event authorized by Jay-Z to commemorate ‘Reasonable Doubt”s historic 25th anniversary.”

The announcement states that the NFT — titled “Heir to the Throne,” which was the original title of the album — is composed of a single animated digital image in which “Adams creates a fresh and contemporary visual representation of ‘Reasonable Doubt.’ Featuring his 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, and transforms into the number 25 in honor of the album’s anniversary.”

Based on the photo accompanying the release, the artwork is pretty dope.

Lazy loaded image
Derrick Adams

Bidding starts at $1,000 and is now open online through 2 July at 10am ET. The digital artwork is also now on view in Sotheby’s York Avenue Galleries from today (June 25) through 1 July and virtually via Sotheby’s gallery in the Voltaire Art District in Decentraland.

Derrick Adams commented:
“Over the years Jay has collected and supported my work, and so this collaboration is particularly fulfilling. 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. My portraits aim to capture the sensibility, optimism and beauty of urban life, and in Jay’s work I’ve found tremendous kinship.”