Today marks the 25th anniversary of JAY-Z’s classic album Reasonable Doubt, which launched the most iconic career in rap history. To celebrate the June 25 release, Hov has commissioned critically admired multi-disciplinary artist Derrick Adams to create a one-of-one animated digital artwork that comments on and recontextualizes the album’s iconic cover, which will be sold by Sotheby’s as an NFT in a special single-lot auction.


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The two met several years ago and established an artistic dialogue between them, marking the first time either of them has created and offered an NFT for sale. The auction is also the only official event authorized by JAY-Z to commemorate Reasonable Doubt’s historic 25th anniversary.

The one-of-one NFT titled Heir to the Throne, which was supposed to be the title of Reasonable Doubt is composed of a single animated digital image in which Adams creates a fresh and contemporary visual representation. Featuring his singular aesthetic style of bright colors, geometric forms, multi-layered textures, and flat surface dimensions, Adams has made a cinematic visual experience that channels not just the spirit and impact of the music, but also the aspirational impulses of a young musician at the dawn of his career. The work is inspired by the two men’s shared engagement with life in the urban streets, including the dreams and challenges associated with it.

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“Over the years JAY has collected and supported my work, and so this collaboration is particularly fulfilling. With this NFT project, we jointly embrace the opportunity to further the conversation about how artists of different mediums contribute to a more inclusive society,” Derrick Adams said of the NFT partnership. “JAY’s album Reasonable Doubt changed the game 25 years ago, and continues to influence so many of us. It tells the story of someone from Brooklyn occupying the urban space — a place that is as central to my own work as it is to his. My portraits aim to capture the sensibility, optimism and beauty of urban life, and in JAY’s work I’ve found tremendous kinship.”

Derrick Adams with Heir to the Throne 1
Derrick Adams with Heir to the Throne 1

Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s Global Head of Science and Popular Culture, added: “It’s an extraordinary honor for Sotheby’s to present Heir to the Throne in celebration of the 25th anniversary of JAY-Z’s debut masterpiece, Reasonable Doubt. It’s fitting that JAY-Z’s pioneering lyrical brilliance is commemorated through the iconic vision of acclaimed artist Derrick Adams in a bold new medium. The release of Heir to the Throne marks the continued influence of Reasonable Doubt and its deep legacy of cultural importance.”

You can see the NFT below and bid for Heir to the Throne: An NFT in Celebration of JAY-Z’s Reasonable Doubt 25th Anniversary by Derrick Adams starts at $1,000 and is now open online through 2 July at 10am ET.

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