Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Q-Tip both confirmed that A Tribe Called Quest is not involved in the previously-announced NFT sale with Royalty Exchange.
Writing a lengthy post explaining the situation, Ali revealed that the group did not partner with Royalty Exchange nor were aware that a part of their royalties was being auctioned off. He explained that he and Tip signed a five-album recording contract with Jive Records and were represented by Ron Skoler and Ed Chalpin, the latter of whom was the owner of PPX Enterprises. Chalpin and PPX supposedly secretly added a clause in the contract stating that they will receive a percentage of the group’s recording fund for every album the artists created, and ATCQ did not know about this until 1990 when they were about to record The Low End Theory. The group disputed the clause, and Chalpin lost then appealed the lawsuit he filed.
“We were determined to not to be taken advantage of by PPX Enterprises. We wanted to fight on. Jive offered to help us with our lack of capital to litigate the appeal however they required us to sign a sixth album with them. Without any other means to get this (do not use slanderous adjectives) entity out of our lives, we signed for the 6th album, added Phife to the contract and Jive made the PPX issue disappear or so we thought,” Ali wrote. He continued by saying that he only learned that “PPX Enterprises wasn’t entirely out of our business” when Billboard broke the news on June 29, “Apparently PPX sold their share of a settlement they made with Jive Records to an individual whom entered into a partnership with Royalty Exchange. Be clear that is the NFT that was created and auctioned. Had we known this percentage of our art was out there we would have bought it directly from PPX Enterprises as it should have never been sold by Jive Records.”
“In the immortal words of Chris Lighty, “f^<ker¥.”
Anthony Martini, CEO of Royalty Exchange, gave this statement to Pitchfork:
“Royalty Exchange recently completed an auction for an income producing NFT for a portion of A Tribe Called Quest’s sound recording royalties. Some outlets initially presented this news as a partnership between Royalty Exchange and ATCQ instead of with a third party who owned a small interest in the group’s catalog. As a leader in the space, we know how complex the nuance behind music royalties can be, which is why we are pioneering new applications of blockchain to further encourage transparency in the music business.
We are advocates for the financial empowerment of the 99% and often our deals are not with the famous artist or producer, but with the lesser known rights holder whose contributions are just as important to hit songs. With our recent ATCQ sale we made it clear the rights holder was not a member of the group, but some reports still positioned it as such. Understandably, the group was surprised. As fans of A Tribe Called Quest and out of respect for all their contributions to music, we reached out to members of the group and had positive conversations clearing up any confusion. We hope to be able to work with them in the future.”
The NFT sale supposedly allowed owners to collect sound recording royalties from ATCQ’s first five studio albums. The starting price was listed at $35,000 USD with a 10 percent royalty upon resale, which would have been split evenly between Royalty Exchange and the initial seller. The auction winner was “Stephen F” who spent 40.191 ETH, or approximately $84,765 USD at the time.
https://t.co/DVymuVj5IC if you are hip hop publication and reported tribe is doing a NFT we aren’t and can you pls retract any story that says so? Thanks?????
— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) July 6, 2021
Elsewhere in music, J. Cole, Bas and Lil Tjay are set to release their collab “The Jackie” on July 9.