A Tribe Called Quest says they never authorized an NFT from their catalog

A Tribe Called Quest DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad speaking at an Apple Store event. Photo credit: Minusbaby

A Tribe Called Quest DJ and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad pushed back reports that the hip-hop group auctioned off a recorded 1.5% stake in their first five albums as a non-fungible token (NFT), aiming both Royalty Exchange and Billboard in a fiery message.

The controversy surrounding the NFT auction appeared to begin on Tuesday, June 29, when Billboard published an article on an NFT Royalty Exchange auction for a recorded 1.5% stake in A Tribe Called Quest’s first five studio albums. According to Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s Facebook post, this article originally stated that A Tribe Called Quest arranged to sell the intellectual property during the 24-hour auction.

“At the time, Billboard knew those words weren’t true, but framed the story in a way that won clicks. They have now changed the article, ”wrote founder Lucy Pearl, 50. “Other ‘journalistic’ publications have taken the original news feed and published a misleading headline. “

Regarding the post-publication changes of the article mentioned by Ali Shaheed Muhammad, the work currently specifies that “the part to be auctioned belongs to a third party; A Tribe Called Quest was not involved in the deal. The play, however, does not seem to highlight Muhammad’s scruples.

Additionally, reports that A Tribe Called Quest had moved to part ways with the outfit are “not really true,” Muhammad’s 500-word message relays as no member of the hip-hop group nominated for the Grammy does partner with Royalty Exchange.

On the contrary, the ten-year-old platform – which started to support NFT auctions at the beginning of last month – hosted the listing on behalf of another rights holder, apparently explaining the auction’s low starting price ($ 35,000) and the aforementioned 24-hour duration. For reference, the IP sold for 40,191 Ethereum, which is the equivalent of $ 84,765 at the end of the sale – a figure that may also be low, given the songs on hand generated. $ 6,752 in the past 12 months, as listed.

When negotiating and ultimately signing a five-album deal with Jive Records (currently a subsidiary of SME) in 1989, Muhammad explained that he and Q-Tip were represented by individuals named Ron Skoler and Ed Chalpin, which the latter owned a company called PPX companies. A Tribe Called Quest had “absolutely no affiliation with any of these gentlemen other than them who represented us as a lawyer / ‘agent’ in negotiating the deal with Jive.”

PPX “added a clause to our deal stating that they get a percentage of our recording fund EVERY time we start recording a new album,” Muhammad explains, he and the other band members finding out about the record. “hidden clause” at the time they started recording the years 1991 The low-end theory. They then “challenged the clause,” Chalpin losing a lawsuit he brought against A Tribe Called Quest, according to the text.

The founder of PPX appealed because “he was rich and had deep pockets to plead.” But A Tribe Called Quest, because he had an album that was selling “slowly” and was “deeply in debt to our record company,” signed a contract to create another album for Jive, which in return “took makes the PPX problem go away. or so we thought.

“Apparently PPX has sold its share of a settlement it made with Jive Records to an individual who has entered into a partnership with Royalty Exchange. Be clear that it is the NFT that was created and auctioned.

“If we had known that this percentage of our art was available, we would have bought it directly from PPX Enterprises because it should never have been sold by Jive Records,” Muhammad concluded.

It should be noted in conclusion that Ed Chalpin passed away in 2019, and it is possible that another party became the owner of PPX. Separately, Royalty Exchange does not appear to have publicly disclosed the identity of the seller (or publicly commented on the controversy).

More generally, the episode is the latest in a string of recent disputes involving NFTs encompassing music intellectual property, as Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash remains involved in a high-stakes showdown in court. Despite (and perhaps because of) this high-profile disagreement, Jay-Z acknowledged the 25th anniversary of his debut album, Reasonable doubt, with an NFT auction of commemorative works of art at Sotheby’s. The play, titled Heir to the throne, recovered $ 138,600.

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