At the unlikely intersection of Bitcoin meme art and boom bap hip hop, you’ll find wildly creative Rare Scrilla, a multi-talented creator at the forefront of NFTs.
He started making art in early childhood, eventually becoming an art major in college, but his love for music quickly took over — and music maintained that hold for the next 15 years as Scrilla ventured into DJing, producing, and running a record label. (Not to mention working with an incredible roster of artists including Smif N Wessum, Nipsey Hussle, Benny the Butcher, Reef the Lost Cauze, Rome Streetz, K-Beta, and hundreds more.)
A nomad in the underground, “mesmerized by the dark market,” Scrilla is known for breaking ground in a multitude of creative lanes. For starters: He organized the first live beat battle in 2001 in Washington D.C., The Battle of the Box; he’s gained a reputation for discovering and working with artists pre come-up (note the impressive artist roster); he began creating Bitcoin music in 2014 and minted the DJPEPE music token in 2016.
Always ahead of the game, Rare Scrilla took a liking to cryptocurrency years ago, before NFTs started gaining mainstream traction. His early entry into crypto art is backed by proof: Alongside his co-host Cynthia Gayton, Esq., he created the Art on the Blockchain Podcast in 2017 (they revealed that the two struggled to find guests their first year).
His early appreciation for and understanding of the power of cryptocurrency — and especially Bitcoin — began to permeate his work, both visually and audibly. This is first seen in his creation of Silk Road in 2014, and again in April of 2020 with Sound Money, a 25-minute “Bitcoin-pure” album produced in about the downfall of central banks, and then by the distribution of audio-reactive NFTs based on snippets of Sound Money for Rare Scrilla’s fans that caught on and supported the movement early.
A self-described “die-hard underground hip hop head,” the artist first tweeted about programmable music in February of 2020 (while Async was in early stages of development in the background), and was connected with CEO and Founder Conlan Rios in the fall through mutual friend Artnome.
Now in the midst of blockchain’s first programmable music movement, Rare Scrilla’s love for the space is illustrated by the release of Money Badger, an NFT completely produced and designed by the multi-talented artist.
A reference to the Honey Badger, one of the first notable Bitcoin memes (“honey badger don’t give a sh*t” — and neither does Bitcoin, as it consumes all the fiat and “eats through all the banks,” as described by the artist), Money Badger ties together the two worlds of Bitcoin and hip hop in a way only Rare Scrilla can.
The NFT itself is made up of 3 Stem Layer NFTs with 3 variants each:
- Three lyric variants provided by separate artists:
1) Born Unique and Kaimbr, a contemporary street rap track with a focus on proof of work, likely to be enjoyed most when the market is sideways.
2) Willie Waze, tells a story of a character discovering Bitcoin...and then the array of scams in the crypto world; he learns what to avoid as he grows in knowledge. The intention of this variant is to be played in a bear market or in response to a well-known crypto scam.
3) Kane Mayfield, is a braggadocious “get your money” track about being the king of Bitcoin UTXOs and the pure free market; the narrator is an “alpha crypto trader.” This variant would be best played when the landscape is “green and bullish.”
- Three beats variants: Bitcoin Blockchain as the first, a second that’s notably “cinematic,” and the third that leans toward soul.
- Three drum tracks: The first having a tight 1-2 beat, the second a little looser, and the third “so loose, it doesn’t hit on the 1-2 beat”
Each of the 9 Stem Layers has corresponding art, all created by Rare Scrilla, who went “old-school with the animation” to play on the Honey Badger’s lasting internet impact, having gone viral before virality was normal.
Of the project and its multi-layered structure, the artist says it was like a math problem…”not without its snags,” but the final outcome is one that highlights his creative ingenuity and genuine passion for art, music, and crypto. The piece points back to his core belief in the crypto community’s ethos: organic, supportive, and an artist-taking-care-of-artists mindset.
“Everything I do, it has to fit with the ethos,” says Rare Scrilla. And Money Badger, in theme and in execution, is no exception.
In having played a role in the crypto space for years (both in coin trading and in NFTs creation), Rare Scrilla has seen a significant shift as crypto consumes the media and calls to celebrities, marketers, and content creators. But Money Badger oints back to the core ethos — and just like its Honey Badger inspiration — it’s disruptive and perfectly true-to-self. After all, he says: “The creativity is what keeps me here. There’s much to be explored, nothing is set in stone, it’s still early. I like art — I like it all the way through.”
Follow Rare Scrilla and get updates for his Async Music auction.
Join the conversation in Async’s Twitter and Discord to learn more about programmable music and art.