Podcast: Is Blockchain the Next Hip Hop? With Ja Rule and Alex Masmej

We posed an interesting question on Episode 2 of Roll Radio: Is blockchain the next hip hop? (Apple Podcast link)  

It’s an interesting analogy to make. Both cultures started in one location–hip hop in 1973 at DJ Cool Herc’s birthday party in the Bronx, and blockchain in 2008 with the birth of the bitcoin whitepaper–and both cultures eventually became decentralized, allowing anyone to use the “technology” (hip hop enabling anyone to pick up a microphone and start rapping, blockchain enabling anyone to build decentralized applications). 

We sat down multi-platinum musician and CEO Ja Rule and entrepreneur Alex Masmej to dive a little deeper into the topic. 

Alex is a young entrepreneur who’s made waves in crypto through the launch of his $ALEX token earlier this year. (Here’s 10 $ALEX exclusively for the first 10 people to click the link). He’s continued to push social tokens forward with his $ALEX crowdsale and new ways of thinking through social token governance.

For those that don’t know, Ja Rule had his major label debut on the iconic Def Jam label with Venni Vetti Vicci (1999) followed by Rule 3:36 (2000) and Pain is Love (2001) selling over 15MM records in the period.

Ja has gone on to sell over 30MM records to date. In the video above, Ja Rule discusses his journey from Hollis, Queens to joining the Cash Money Clique to going solo and signing with the iconic Def Jam label.

Def Jam continues to be an iconic label that redefined hip hop starting in the 1980s with groups like the Beastie Boys and Run DMC. Def Jam arguably led to the mass adoption of hip hop, with these groups going on to sell tens of millions of records (we also obviously talked top 5 rappers of all time as well, Alex and Ja’s picks below). 

Ja Rule and Alex’s top 5 rappers

It’s interesting to think about the “Def Jam” mass adoption moment in blockchain. How will true web3 mass adoption happen?

Ja rule thinks it will inevitably involve the monetization of artists and Alex tends to agree that culture becoming tokenized will be the catalyst.

One of the main things we’re learning at Roll is that there’s many entrepreneurs, platforms and users that are ready to embrace Web3 as we move through the apps/infrastructure cycle, and if these applications meet users where they are and abstract away most of the blockchain components the response can be significant. 

We’re learning that the concept of social money and creating platform-independent communities really hits home for artists and founders especially. We’re looking forward to having more guests like Ja and Alex on Roll radio in the near future.

Enjoy the episode!