Nas fans will have to wait a little longer for a chance to be a part of history.
The iconic hip-hop MC has partnered with blockchain-based music-investment company Royal to sell a limited amount of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that grant fans co-ownership of two of his songs – “Rare” and “Ultra Black.”
Those lucky enough to secure one of the extended limited digital assets (Royal’s version of an NFT) will gain a share of streaming royalty rights – something that has never been done before – and a few other perks.
Fans can purchase the digital tokens at “Gold,” “Platinum,” and “Diamond” levels, each offering specific perks and a set percentage in ownership. There are a total of 760 available for Ultra Black and 1,100 available for Rare.
The sale was announced on Jan. 6 and the drop date to purchase the Nas NFTs was initially set for Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST, respectively. But as it got closer to the time for sales to open up, demand was so high that the website crashed and the drop had to be postponed.
“The hype is too real, you guys broke our servers! We know the site went down and we’ll be back up at 1:30PM ET!” @ Royal tweeted at 1:01 p.m. after pandemonium ensued with users on social media.
Some users said they’d taken time off from work, stayed up overnight because they were in different time zones or been waiting online all day in hopes of nabbing a token. Many posted images of the error messages and asked if anyone else was having trouble logging in.
“Monumental time, it’s not surprising that the servers went down. I’ve been awake since last week waiting,” @dnmeofficial wrote.
“Plz I’m crying rn I’ve been on the site all day!” Twitter user @KyrahKreates wrote.
Others said Royal should have anticipated the traffic because it was Nas whose music was up for grabs. “You knew was the going to be the case… It’s NAS!!!” @mauricep78 tweeted.
“Did They really think we wouldn’t try to get those tokens cuz I’m lost they should have been more prepared,” @MpjGame agreed.
Wealth Squad instructor @iCurlyCae was more patient in her approach. “I’m just going to sit here and wait. No point in complaining. It’s worth the wait to me. But I’ll be sad if I can’t get one,” @iCurlyCae tweeted.
One Twitter user said Nas’ real fans would likely miss out. “In the end. None of @Nas’ real fans AKA black people will be able to purchase the NFTs,” @dondiwest tweeted. “The site will come up, they all will be sold and we may have a chance to purchase for 6 figures on OpenSea. I will be glad when black athletes and celebs build their own platforms!”
Others asked Royal to push the drop to a different day so it would be fair for everyone. “Y’all are going to have to push us to a different day,” @TKO_RS_One tweeted. “You can’t keep holding people hostage all day. not to sound like a d but that’s what it is.. we’ve BEEN WAITING FOR HOURS We have work and other things we have to do.”
Four-and-a-half hours later, Royal announced they would move the drop to Thursday, Jan. 20, and thanked everyone for their patience.
“UPDATE: New date for the @Nas drop — Thurs, Jan 20. Same times, same place.,” Royal tweeted. “Ultra Black at 1pm ET. Rare at 9pm ET. Thank you for your patience. The excitement is real. We appreciate you.”
Some people celebrated the news, while others complained it gave more people time to find out about the investment opportunity and decrease their own chances of getting a token. One Twitter user said she almost got fired waiting on the drop.
“Listen here ….My PURCHASE HAS TO GO THROUGH!! I need to be on top of that list,” @Norface wrote. “I’ve loved @Nas since I was a teenager !! & almost lost my job today by missing 2 zoom meetings cuz I had my fingers on all devices patiently waiting for that “Coming Soon” to disappear !!!!”
Co-founded by musician and producer Justin “3LAU” Blau, Royal is dedicated to “artists’ freedom.” On its website, it says, “Royal opens the door for artists to retain independence and creative control as fans fuel their careers.”
The company raised $55 million in a Series A funding round in Nov. 2021, Music Business Worldwide reported. Prior to that, Royal raised $16 million in August 2021. Nas is among the investors.
“I am always looking for new and unique ways to connect with the people so I am excited to partner with Royal on their new endeavor in order for the world to connect with my music in a new way,” said Nas, who is a longtime crypto investor.
During a live conversation on Twitter Spaces, Nas reiterated that sentiment, saying he invested in, and partnered with Royal because he believes it is the wave of the future for artists.
“Royal was where the world is going man. It’s the new world [and] it’s the right thing. It’s fun. It’s exciting,” Nas said. “My mental projection got me here. I saw it before it became what you see. … You know I’m looking at my career. I’m looking at my life in the place that I’m at. I want to take risks, try new ideas, you know.”
Blau said more than 130,000 people were online trying to purchase the Nas NFTs, adding that by choosing to make history with Royal, Nas validates what the company stands for.
“Having Nas be the first artist to sell royalty rights through Royal is an incredible affirmation of our mission,” Blau said. “It’s proof that artists across genres feel strongly about democratizing ownership of their music, and that they want to be connected to their listeners on a deeper level.”
PHOTO: American rapper and actor Nasir Jones, better known as Nas, poses for a portrait, on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Scott Gries/Invision/AP Images)