An iconic photograph of the late rapper, The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Christopher Wallace, is being auctioned off as part of a series of Ethereum NFTs, bringing the rap legend back into the limelight, albeit in a different spectrum.
The coronation of ‘The King of New York’
The renowned photo, taken by Barron Claiborne in 1997, three days prior to the rapper’s untimely death in a drive-by shooting, has been immortalized as “The King Of New York”. This image, a symbol of greatness according to cultural journalist and author Vikki Tobak, showcases Wallace adorned with a tilted crown – an enduring symbol in hip-hop history.
The unique offering is not merely digital. Along with the NFT, a physical cutout from the original contact sheet, measuring 6 x 7 centimeters, is up for grabs.
Auctioned artistry: A digital twin
Launched on the Kairos platform, the auction will last for 30 days, with bids commencing at 50 ETH, equivalent to $93,500. This unique auction offers the winning bidder not just the NFT and physical photo but also a phone call with Claiborne, offering a chance to delve deeper into the narrative behind the iconic image.
Beyond the ‘King Of New York’ portrait, the series will also include a limited edition of NFTs featuring an animated digital version of the image, with nine editions available for 1 ETH apiece.
Royal collectibles: From crowns to MetroCards
Further broadening the spectrum of the digital cache are additional exclusive mementos. An NFT, a visual echo of the crown donned by the rapper in the photo, is being offered for 0.03 ETH as an open edition drop, implying unlimited availability for this specific NFT.
From July 26, Claiborne plans to offer a limited series of 100 digital versions of the original snapshot, coupled with a physical print, priced at 1 ETH each. Adding to this unique collection, a rare Notorious B.I.G. New York City MetroCard, autographed and formerly available at select subway stations, is set to be auctioned in August.
Proceeds for a cause
Notably, the crown donned by the rapper in the photograph was auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2020 for a whopping $595,000, a testament to the lasting impact of the rapper’s legacy.
While the auction revives memories and offers tangible mementos of the legendary rapper, it’s also being conducted for a good cause. A substantial 35% of the proceeds from the collection will go to the Keiyo Art association, which aims to make art experiences accessible to the public. Furthermore, 5% will be donated to Charity: Water, an organization working to provide clean water access to those in need.
The auction is more than just a sale of memorabilia; it is an enduring celebration of a hip-hop legend’s life and his enduring impact on the world.