If there's one thing I've learned through my journey in the world of NFTs, it's that at the end of the day, team is everything. Yes, art matters, and sure - having a cool game or staking mechanics, that's fun and interesting too - but the most successful NFT projects are lead by teams that have a certain magic that's sometimes hard to define.
Last year I was lucky enough to meet a battle rapper named Illmac (here's his You Tube channel) who opened my eyes to the world of battle rap. Through Illmac I met another battle rapper named Pass, and quickly gained a serious appreciation for the craft and creative endeavor that is battle rap.
Illmac is one of the most passionate and gifted people I've had the chance to meet in this life; honestly, his love for what he does is powerful. In a world where so many people see work as a transactional thing they need to balance with their own real life, it's inspiring to meet someone who has truly found something they're both good at, and really enjoy.
So I was very excited to learn that Illmac had plans to bring the battle rap world into the Metaverse, and not only that, but in a unique and different way that makes this project something very special - hence why I'm writing about it.
“Rap Off started as an idea to showcase the creativity of battle rap on a universal platform. Animation allows us to bend the rules of the physical world visually, while still staying true to the art form lyrically. Authenticity is important to Rap Off and building directly with our community allows us to protect that.” (Illmac)
As the project was getting off the ground Illmac introduced me to his co-founder, Beau, who is an absolute legend when it comes to creating viral content (check him out on Twitter). Getting to know Beau has been awesome - honestly, every time we talk I learn about some new interesting thing he's doing that to most people would be a really big deal, but to him really is just a normal part of his life. In short - he's another person, who, like Illmac, is living his dream and doing what he loves.
“I believe rap cartoons may be the most effective medium available for explaining complex topics to the world. Every project we do at Rhyme Combinator is a bridge for access to tech. Rap Off has that potential.” (Beau Lewis)
The icing on the cake is that my good friend Jess (@butterhoops) is on the team, and honestly, I could (and probably will some day) write a post just about him because he's another one of those one in a million kind of people. Jess brings deep knowledge of the NFT space along with a calm and methodical approach that leads to things being done at a quality level that I think is harder and harder to find these days.
Like the title says - this team has the magic, and that's also why the focus of this article is the team. Of course, at this point you probably want to know more about what this amazing team is doing, so let me break it down - here's all the juicy details on what I think will be making NFT history next week:
- Minting on Tues, April 26 @ rapoff.xyz
- One liner - Rap Off is the battle rap platform for the Metaverse
- From the mind of Illmac, cartoon creator and battle rap world champion in partnership with Beau Lewis, viral expert and founder of Rhyme Combinator
- Rap Off is building on the viral hit IP Illmac created with legendary animation artist Andres Salaff (Adventure Time, Big Mouth), with their release of Ketchup vs Mustard and Cat vs Dog
- The project combines rap cartoons with live battle rap events, offering owners of NFT rights to the IP and access to the events, also offering access to a world of talent and battle rap artists
- Despite the fact that Rap Off is pre-mint, they have already delivered (1) top tier art (2) multiple rap cartoons with blue chip quality - including Mustard hot 97 freestyle featuring Method Man (yes you read that right, Method Man) - and (3) the world’s first web3 battle rap event in LA
- Yesterday the project released Bored Ape vs Cryptopunk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec6d6K5idAw) a preview of what could ultimately become a battle rap discovery platform for NFTs and artists competing in the Metaverse for recognition
- Their first collection is “the Fridge”, a 5k utility pfp project, that will be followed by their second collection “the Alley”. Both collections feature characters from the first two Rap Off cartoons Ketchup vs Mustard & Dog vs Cat
When I told the team I was going to be writing a story about them I also asked if there was anything I could share that hasn't been shared before...and well, they were nice enough to make that happen. So to end this, and as a reward for everyone who read this far down, here's a first look at two of the honoraries, the first for none other than Method Man himself:
You can learn more about RapOff at RapOff.xyz and if you haven't yet watched the Bored Ape vs. Cryptopunk video, stop what you're doing and watch it now. This is one journey that I think we'll all be talking about for years to come.
Congrats to Illmac, Beau and the whole team - as we say in the NFT world, LFG 🚀