There is a crypto bubble in hip-hop
Graphic by Cath Virginia
Whether you’re bullish on cryptocurrency or think it’s bullshit, you can’t live a day in the world without hearing about the various digital currencies that appear on what seems like a daily basis. Crypto is everywhere and, if it depends on Jack Dorsey, it will create peace in the world.
Rappers, for their part, have been ditching cryptocurrencies since at least 2013. In conversation with Time, Donald Glover said bitcoin seemed “more real” than gold-backed currencies. In 2017, on “Down,” G-Eazy rapped that “loyal bitches get the crypto” while the less fortunate would just get Lyft codes. Although in other spaces cryptocurrency is seen as a massive leech on environmental resources that will primarily enable the wealthy to get rich, in hip-hop sentiment towards cryptocurrency is often brighter.
Soulja Boy complaints he was the first rapper to do a bitcoin song when he made the song “Bitcoin” in 2018. This year Nas called himself “Scarface cryptocurrency” on DJ Khaled’s “Sorry Not Sorry”, referring to an early investment in the Coinbase cryptocurrency market, which earned it a fortune after its IPO. Most recently, Big Sean bragged about giving your daughter a Robinhood wallet with $ 30,000 worth of Dogecoin, while rapping on Sada Baby’s “Little While”, as Dogecoin co-creator Jackson Palmer, decried cryptocurrency as hyper right-wing, hyper-capitalist technology.
Meanwhile, Sir Michael Rocks, rapper and half of The Cool Kids, has composed a song that addresses both the allure of investing and the darker, more depraved elements of the cryptocurrency world. .
“Everyone who mentions crypto in music, especially rap, has always taken the position, ‘Yeah, I’m a great genius trader. I just made a billion dollars on Bitcoin, man, ”Rocks said. In April, as part of its Mystery School Twitch stream, he made a song called “Selling at the Bottom” to share a more realistic alternative to the sunny outlook often portrayed on social media and in hip-hop. Over the past two years, he estimates he’s made hundreds of even-y riffing songs on trending topics, releasing two a week, but “Selling at the Bottom” was the most widely broadcast, along with the video. original exceeding 200,000 reads on Twitter. .
“What’s weird is that when I drop those memes songs, they always get a lot more love, spin, parts and views than if I dropped a ‘real song’,” Rocks said. . “Which is pretty funny. But that does make sense, ”he said, as the subject is aimed at a wider audience than his“ real ”music, which he considers more specialized.
“I just wanted to take the position on the other side of the crypto. Damn it. You take L. You get slapped. You lost.”
The Rocks video contrasts sharply with other brighter representations of cryptocurrency, such as a recent advertisement for Coin Cloud ATMs, in which legendary director Spike Lee positions cryptocurrency as an “inclusive” alternative to ” old money ”.
As someone who has been interested in cryptocurrency for several years, Rocks wanted to make a song to capture a more realistic portrayal of what it’s like to be a cryptocurrency trader complete with paranoia, the FOMO. and pretending to know when you don’t know what’s going on. “I am a liar, however. So if you ask me, I will play the game. If I am wrong on my short trade, I say I am trading long. If I am wrong about my long exchange, I say that I trade short, ”he recalls.
While Rocks is clearly an enthusiast of the cryptocurrency space, he doesn’t have the same rose-colored glasses that usually come with the territory. “Nine times out of ten people don’t make money, you make terrible trades and your position explodes, Elon Musk comes along SNL and screw up your whole wallet. This is how real crypto trading is, ”explained Rocks.
Rocks did “Selling at the Bottom” in less than an hour, he said, at a time when Bitcoin prices were crashing. Now the song is sort of an indicator of the Bitcoin movement – if you see “Selling At the Bottom” circling Twitter, you can assume the price is currently going down. For currencies affected by SNL appearances, it all makes sense.
A few years ago, Rocks said, most people thought cryptocurrency was only for “black market crime or shit,” if they even knew what it was. In 2019, on “Maybach Music VI,” Rick Ross hinted at the privacy aspect of digital currency, recalling, “Currency comes in crypto, you know they’re listening to our calls.”
While he doesn’t expect such a big response to his song, he has received comments from other traders that he has pinpointed capturing the uncertain reality behind the crypto world. -change. Others, apparently upset, told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. Some traders also contacted Rocks to ask him to do a song for their specific parts, which he declined.
“In crypto, a lot of people are shills, or petty con artists for the most part, people pumping out little shitcoins, just trying to remove their bags.”
In the past, some rappers have drawn the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission for promoting Illicit Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs. The SEC fined TI $ 75,000 last year for participating in a “fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme.” This year, Game was named in a class action lawsuit that claims he deceived investors over his participation in an ICO involving a bankrupt cannabis blockchain company that took place in 2017.
Rocks and fellow Cool Kid Chuck Inglish discussed how, if you get your clues from mainstream rappers, you’re probably late to the party, whether it’s fashion trends or now, crypto investments. change.
“There is something special about hip-hop. It’s like a barometer for whether you’re too late on something, and we used to benchmark it on fashion, clothing, and gear. We always went with the genre, “Okay, if the popular generic rapper X right now wears that piece of clothing or that line of clothes, then it’s done.”
Once you start hearing references from “really normal rappers,” Rocks said, “it’s too late. “
“You should have had your money much sooner, because once the mill is soft start talking about it, this is old news.
The future of cryptocurrency still looks uncertain. Meek Mill’s $ 50,000 Dogecoin investment in May, for example, is worth around $ 15,709 at the time of writing. But for a set of financial products whose prices can vary from Saturday Night Live appearances, it makes sense that a meme song from one of the Cool Kids would be part of the damn weather vane that tells you which direction the wind is blowing.
Follow Ashwin Rodrigues on Twitter.