Rapper Ja Rule launches NFT platform—and is selling a painting from infamous Fyre Festival on it
It may sound like Ludacris, but rapper Ja Rule is the newest player on the NFT arts scene. Working with a team of software engineers, the Always on Time star is now the head of artists and repertoire for the digital art platform Flipkick, which launched today and focuses on selling physical works of art as NFTs.
While most NFTs, such as Beeple’s record breaking Everydays: The First 5,000 Days (2021), exist entirely digitally, many of the works offered on Flipkick are tangible objects that are authenticated through a “cryptographically secure connection” to an NFT. Once the piece has been sold at auction, the buyer can resell it or redeem the token for the physical artwork. Flipkick claims to be “the first to offer cryptographic authentication of physical works of art that are sold as and associated with NFTs”.
“When you’re my age, you’re used to collecting tangible things. But you have to keep your mind open to the new,” Ja Rule told The Art Newspaper in an interview. “I think we can be the Christie’s of the physical NFTs. We want to include celebrities and dope influencers. Banksy, if you are reading this, Rule would love to sell you baby!”
To open the platform, Ja Rule will sell a work he commissioned when he co-founded the infamous music festival that never existed, the Fyre Festival.
The 2017 painting by Tripp Derrick Barnes, featuring the festival logo, was once “confidently hung on the wall of Fyre Inc’s New York office,” as described on the Flipkick website: “Barnes’ painting once spoke of an endless one Ambition Now it speaks of the feverish dreams of a man whose reach exceeded his reach. “It has a reserve of 600,000 US dollars.
Ja Rule says he is currently keeping the painting at home in his “man cave,” but that it represents a time in his life that he would like to move on from. “I don’t need that energy anymore, so I want it out of my house,” he says. Yes Rule passed it on to the world with the sharp note: “Fuck this painting.”
I too was pushed, cheated, bamboozled, my hood blinked, misled !!!
– Ja Rule (@jarule) January 20, 2019
Known as a “one-off” music festival in the Bahamas, the Fyre Festival was promoted on social media platforms by a number of celebrities and other influencers, offering luxury catering and top-notch music acts with VIP packages for US $ 100,000. Promised dollars. But through a combination of gross mismanagement, bad luck and outright lies, the facade collapsed, culminating in a disaster that left potential partiers stranded on an island with no shelter and poor quality food and a string of lawsuits against organizers totaling more than 100 million US dollar provoked.
The other co-founder of the Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland, pleaded guilty to two wire fraud cases in 2018 and was sentenced to six months in prison. However, Ja Rule was exempted from any wrongdoing by a judge in 2019.
“I learned so much from the Fyre Festival,” says the rapper. “One of the most important realizations is that you can’t let anyone else put your glasses on. I left my vision to someone else and the deal didn’t go right. I’m sad that I had to learn these lessons in such cases, a public one and crazy kind, but you grow with these lessons. “
- But did Ja Rule swap one uncertain company based on hype and frenzied speculation for another when it entered the NFT game? “I am absolutely thinking about the dangers of speculating in this market,” he says. “But that’s why I really like Flipkick’s physical angles. You can resell this NFT. You can redeem it for the real thing. It’s like the best of both worlds.”
Also available at Flipkick are printed circuit board sculptures by Ben Katz, a painting by New York-based French artist Lady Jday, and woven sculptures by Canadian design workshop Studio Dan.
Ja Rule says he now intends to do an NFT of his “Pain is Love 2” album, which came out before he went to jail and was “overlooked,” he says. The rapper owns the remaining physical copies of the album and wants people to be able to “feel and touch” it.