Last week, trademark attorney Josh Gerben tweeted that Kanye West and his company Mascotte Holdings filed several trademarks related to his YEEZUS name indicating Kanye’s interest in creating NFTs. The specific filings mention “non-fungible assets,” “metaverse experiences,” “an online marketplace for buyers of crypto and digital collectibles,” and “online retail store services featuring downloadable movies, videos, television, music, entertainment, digital art.” This looks like a very strong signal that Kanye West will soon be releasing some NFT-related products.
On February 1, 2022, Kanye posted a handwritten note on Instagram that included the sentence “Do not ask me to do a fucking NFT.’ However, at the end of the note Kanye had written “Ask me later.” Amidst all the fervor around NFTs over the last few months, there have been strongly worded opinions from people evangelizing NFTs and from people criticizing NFTs. While there have been many musicians and celebrities who jumped on the NFT bandwagon, Kanye had been taking a strong stance against NFTs. Now, he's changed his mind.
We can sensibly speculate on what Kanye NFTs could look like. One obvious use case is fashion. Kanye West is one of the few people in the world who has created a multi-billion dollar sneaker brand with Yeezy. As a leading designer of sneakers, apparel, and more, Kanye could begin creating NFT digital fashion products. These could be similar to how Nike-owned RTFKT has created virtual NFT sneakers that are also redeemable as physical sneakers. Could Kanye create physical-digital Yeezys with Adidas? His ambitions with digital fashion could go even further. Perhaps Kanye could start creating NFTs as fashion for digital avatars across different metaverse platforms. Maybe Kanye could start building his own digital art gallery or fashion show. Knowing Kanye's desire to build bold artistic experiences, there are plenty of possibilities for him to use NFTs.
As one of the most successful musicians of the last decade, Kanye could also be viewing NFTs through a musical lens. Many NFT startups have been created to help provide musicians with new revenue streams or provide fans with a deeper connection to their favorite musicians. Legendary rapper Nas has partnered with NFT Music platform Royal to sell NFTs that allow fans to access exclusive experiences and also a share of music royalties. Snoop Dogg has launched several NFTs over the last few months, broadening the set of touch points someone could have with the artist both online and offline. Sports teams and entertainment franchises are building out NFTs that serve as membership passes to exclusive fan clubs. Kanye could explore a combination of all the above NFT templates to satisfy fans of his music and art.
Kanye West has grand creative visions, which he has outlined repeatedly over the last decade. Back in 2016, before the word ‘NFT’ entered mainstream consciousness, Kanye publicly shared his plans to build several businesses and consumer entertainment experiences underneath his holding company Donda. If you think about NFTs as a creative canvas, they could be the perfect vehicle to help Kanye fulfill his vision as one of the world's biggest artistic minds. Kanye has previously compared himself to Steve Jobs, Picasso, and Walt Disney and we could be looking at the creation of a Web3 Kanyeverse.
We’re in a fast-moving world where technology and society change rapidly. Seeing Kanye West change his mind about NFTs is something that could happen to any major critic, whether it’s an influential celebrity or a major brand or even a government legislator. As a multi-hyphenated creative whose career spans across music, fashion, and art, Kanye is uniquely suited to create a 'Kanyeverse' through NFTs. We are one step closer to seeing Kanye West NFTs come alive.