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Mint Season 3 episode 11 welcomes Our Zora’s Community Lead and Singer, Songwriter and Producer, LATASHÁ. She’s an NFT thought leader and a FORCE in crypto, having sold tens of thousands worth of music NFTs.
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 2:52 – Opening up for Kanye West
- 7:56 – Valuing Independence
- 9:59 – Defining NFTs as an Artist
- 13:16 – Diving into the Depths of Web 3.0
- 17:29 – Being an Early Adopter on Zora
- 19:09 – Working with Zora
- 22:36 – NFT NYC – The Performance
- 25:22 – Defining Values
- 28:51 – Finding Inspiration
- 32:49 – Artist Management in a Web 3.0 World
- 38:02 – Governance in Artist Management
- 40:03 – Valuing Artistry
- 48:51 – What’s Next?
- 50:41 – Outro
…and so much more.
Thank you to Season 3’s NFT sponsors!
1. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co/
2. POAP – https://poap.xyz/
3. Socialstack – https://socialstack.co/
Interested in becoming an NFT sponsor? Get in touch here!
Latasha, welcome to Mint. How are you doing?
Good. How are you, Adam?
I’m good. Thank you so much for being on. I’m so excited to have you on. You are legit a force on crypto Twitter, a force in person, but before we even get into why, give me a quick brief about yourself. Who are you? What were you doing before crypto and where are you now?
I’m Latasha. I am a singer songwriter, rapper, producer, artist, and Zora’s artist community lead. Before this, I don’t know what I was really doing, but I know that music was my heart work. I went to Wesleyan university where I studied African-American studies, psychology, and hip hop. I thought I was going to go into Broadway, ended up just rapping my face off in ciphers, and before I knew it, I was opening for like Kanye west, q-tip, big Sean and all these crazy people. And God just was like, I guess you’re going to be a rapper now, so I started moving in the direction of the mainstream rap forces and tried to get into the industry and do the label thing, but it never felt true and in sync with my true being and spirit. So, I quit and then I restarted in 2015, completely independently. I’m a Brooklyn girl, so, you know, I’m all about owning my masters because that’s what Jay Z taught us. And I was like, all right, I’m going to figure this independence out, and it was really tough. Didn’t have all the means to do it. Didn’t really have any support, family, or things like that to do this music thing solo. So, you know, went through all the trials, been homeless, been down and out and all of the things. And then in 2016, a woman bestowed me with a large sum of money to fully quit my nine to five life and do this solo dolo. So I was doing it and it was still tough, but decided to move to California, to just have some expansion in space. Then the pandemic hit, and I was like, oh Lord, no performing, no shows. What am I going to do? And my partner, Jahmel Reynolds, who goes by art by @artbyjah on Twitter, told me about NFTs and he was selling his 2d 3d art on NFTs. And I was like, oh snap, what is this? I was really skeptical about it. I didn’t believe it. I thought it was fake. I was like, where’s the scam? And did all my studies and research and found out there was like a real space growing out of this and a space that could really be healing for artists, especially musicians like myself. So, I got my first NFT minted on Zora in February, and that was the beginning of this new hero’s journey.
Opening up for Kanye West
What a journey! What a way to start, opening up for some of the greats, experiencing that side of the music industry. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Like how did you get to opening for Kanye and all these big figures?
To be honest, I always say it was like God magic. I mean, I always believe that my music and my art has like a spiritual tie and a lot of times things just happen to me. So I was a huge and still am a huge fan of Kanye west and created this project called the presentation, which was off of all old school, Kanye west beats. And like, I mean, old school, like things that people never knew, Kanye rapped on. And so that went viral on YouTube for a little bit, and people were like, yo, she’s fire like who’s this girl? And there weren’t really a lot of women artists like rappers at the time. Nikki Minaj was like the thing at the time. And so I remember just getting an email one day, like, “Hey, do you want to, you know, perform at the Brooklyn hip hop festival”? And I was like, hell yeah, and then Kanye was sharing the stage with me. And so was Kendrick and so she was Q-tip and all these crazy people. Then it just kept happening like that. I would just keep getting these crazy emails. Like, do you want to open for big Sean? Do you wanna open for Ghostface Killah? And I was like, yeah, because like, how am I going to say no? So that was like the beginning of my journey, and then I started realizing that you could get paid off of performing and do all these things. So I was like where the cash app?
I’d love to also talk about, cause you brought up being homeless for a minute because I find that hard to believe. Look how successful you are right now, and look how much of an industry leader you are with selling music as NFTs, and really pioneering that space, but also coming from a background of opening for some of the greatest of our time. Talk a little bit more about that.
Yeah, but I feel like a lot of times people think that just because you’re opening for these artists or you’re getting these opportunities that you’re getting fed, that’s not always the case. A lot of times artists are actually struggling big time that are on tour and that are doing these things. I was fully independent. I only had a few managers at the time and most of my managers were learning the industry as we went, you know? And so we were all kind of in the fire. And during that time was also the switch. We were going from, you know, CDs to Spotify and all of that stuff. That was like at the beginnings of Spotify ‘s growth so nobody knew what was what and how to make a buck. So, I went through the trials and industries, you know, I’ve had labels try to transform me and make me into like an artist that I didn’t want to be very hypersexual and things like that. I just knew that that wasn’t it and as many times as I’ve tried to fit myself into a box, it just never was the box for me. And you know, I went on tours and paid for my own tours and then would come back with no money. And so I’ve lost my home one time because of that. And it was like a whole summer just like couch surfing and figuring things out. But I was blessed for those moments because those moments, I really believe, allowed me to align to the moments that I’m in right now.
Damn, that’s deep. That really sets the tone for who you are and your character. Kind of like your drive and ambition, and this goes back like, now look at you, right? Like owning your shit. And before we even get into the NFT concert, that was at NFT NYC, because you said some really dope stuff on stage. Explain your genre to me. Explain like, for those who aren’t familiar with who you are and the music that you opened for Kendrick and for Kanye, how did you get to that point of finding your voice?
Wow. That’s such a heavy question. I mean, I think my voice is constantly evolving, but I know the essence and the thing that is consistent with my voice is just being honest and from the heart and connected to the spirit. I think that’s always what my voice will always be. It’s a passionate like real Brooklyn, New York girl voice that will always be there no matter what genre I’m in. Cause I like to twist and turn genres too. Hip hop of course is the core of everything. Cause I believe hip hop is the core of just black sound where we are right now, but I like to turn into a jazz singer sometimes. I like to turn into a pop star sometimes. I like to turn into a reggae dance hall queen sometimes, and just like to do all the things. But at the core, it’s about that story. It’s about that passion. It’s about wanting empowerment and transformation for myself and my peoples. And that’s what I think I vibrate in everything that I do. And I hope I continue to do that.
One thing that you really vibrate is like the essence of independent artistry, right? You’re really big on that. Cause you’ve had labels try to form you, and to try to dictate your image and who you are own you, et cetera. How did you get to like that mental state to be like, I don’t need these people? All I need is myself and the people who love me and support me to kind of bring me to where I want to be. How’d you make that switch? Because I feel like a lot of artists, they get sucked in by that initial check that kind of gets them in the door. How did you bypass that?
You know, I just always really didn’t understand how a label could tell you and dictate how much you’re worth by just like streaming numbers, by, you know, what YouTube number is. I just was like, that is not worth to me in the same way a performance equates to worth. Like I will do a show and people would be like, this changed my life. That means so much more to me than like a number on YouTube, et cetera, et cetera. But, I think when it really solidified for me was in 2015, 2016, when that woman came into my life and she heard one of my songs called black magic, and she was like, “girl, why are you not famous yet? Why are you not doing these things yet”? And I was just like, you know, I don’t know, just like doing it and seeing how it goes. And she bestowed me $10,000 off just the bat off, just like believing in my art and believing in what I was doing. I always tell people this story and I’m like, maybe that was my first NFT experience. But she just bestowed it to me, and that made me realize like, oh, people will support you if they really believe in it. You don’t really need a label to do it, and I already knew my brand. I already knew my market. I already knew who I wanted to reach out to. And it’s just like, now I just need to expand and, you know, make some more money to keep doing it. But that’s where it really affirmed for me.
Defining NFTs as an Artist
Because you’re already talking about this NFT thing. Really quick, for those who don’t know, what is an NFT? I hate asking the definition, cause my podcast is about NFTs, but I feel like there’s going to be artists listening to this trying to understand more of your story. So what do you think about NFTs? Because everybody has a different definition. How do you define it for your context as an independent artist?
Yeah, I call NFTs now fun time. No, I’m just kidding. NFTs are non fungible tokens, but in my mind, I like to think of it as a box where you could put anything inside of it. You could put music, you could put art, you could put a car, you could put literally anything into it. It’s a token that you could pretty much use to play. I also kind of consider it like an autographed form of whatever art. So my definition often is like this music video is autographed by me. This NFT is an autographed form of my music video or an autographed form of my music. Usually that’s when artists are like, oh, I get that, that makes a lot of sense. Because other ways kind of get complicated.
Yeah, that’s super simple. One thing you tweeted out recently is like NFTs have caused you to fall in love with music again. You tweeted that I think a few days ago. I don’t remember. So sometime recently. Why is that? What is it about their nature or their form? What is about blockchain, crypto, whatever it may be to you that has made you fall in love with music again because that’s really deep?
There are so many reasons why, but I think it’s seeing my value meet itself in real time. That is really something that I needed to fulfill within myself. I think a lot of people deal with money wounds as artists. Like we have wounds of like, not feeling supported or not feeling cared for. We have a lot of safety wounds within ourselves. When I got into NFTs, I felt like that started to really heal and quickly because I was like, I’ve been putting so much effort into this music. I’ve been putting so much effort into my music videos, how come, you know, nobody’s giving me what I deserve out of it. And when I got into NFTs, it was like, oh wow. I’m seeing my effort in real time, and I’m seeing the investment in real time. So many of the people that I got to partner with in my journey, like my partner Jahmel, my two best friends, Angel and T, they were riding with me before even NFTs. And I wouldn’t have a buck to pay for them to do a music video, and they just rode with me, and now I’m in NFTs and I’m like, yo, when this NFT sells, I could pay you guys now. And that’s like the beauty of this thing, right? Like it’s organic. It’s like an organic form of love for just support and abundance and all of these things. I just love it. And I mostly have been putting up like content that I already had existing on YouTube or, you know, Spotify, and now they’re on NFTs and they’re selling like crazy. I’ve sold over 50 NFTs at this point, and it just goes to show you, like, you think YouTube and you think, you know, Spotify is where, you know, you decide and define what an artist’s success is, but it’s not always the case. Like this is beyond that now.
Diving into the Depths of Web 3.0
Wow. So you’ve repurposed your initial content into the form of non fungible tokens, right? That reduces 50% of the stress of getting into the space because it’s one thing to have the content to use. It’s another thing to understand how to apply it in the setting. When you were getting started as an independent artist in this space, diving head first into web 3.0, what was it like getting started? Can you walk me through those initial days of like, What am I doing? What is crypto? Share with me that thought process?
Sure. I mean, the first month that I decided I was going to do this, I remember going through my old content and going through my hard drives and being like, okay, what’s a record that I don’t have out. That was one. I was like, I don’t want to release anything that’s on Spotify because I don’t know the nature of this beast yet. So it was one what wasn’t out, and what is something that people haven’t really seen? So I have, I mean, hard drives and hard drives of content from shows, performances, tours, all that kind of stuff. So I just selected some content that I had that I used to use for a show, and then I put it with a song that I would perform on that show, and then I just made this music video out of it. That was my first music video on Zora, and my first NFT on Zuora. I think that made me one of the first people to put a music video on blockchain as well, and so that was like a crazy moment. Like I honestly was just like, let’s put things together and just see what happens, and that thing sold in three minutes. Then as I kept diving into NFTs, I was like, let me try different things. So I don’t only have music up. I have poetry up. I have performance art up. I have just beats that are like no raps on it, my production is up. I would keep saying like, there’s really an important factor about being multidimensional within an NFT. I think this space calls for that, it calls to see all sides of artists, to see like the weird shit that I do, and like the cool drawings and little things that I’m creating on the side that nobody really gets to see. I think that’s what NFTs are calling for. It’s for that cryptic side of us. So that’s kind of how my first couple of months were, and then I started just pushing videos. I was like, all right, let’s do this music video thing.
You made it seem like you didn’t even think twice. You’re just like, I don’t give. Like, I’m going all in. I don’t care if I mess up, this is where it’s at. Everybody’s learning at the same time. There are no rules.
Yeah. I mean, the space is so brand new, right? Especially at that time, that was like at the beginning. I was like, nobody’s really here. What do I have to lose? I mean, I’ll probably pay some money on gas and that’s probably the hardest part. But, over time, I just realized that it was a space for me to be myself, and just pour out all of the parts of me. I have this one NFT that’s called third eye and it’s like, just me just rhyming, and just this art piece that I have that I created. I just made it in like an hour, and I was like, let me see what it does as an NFT. And it was just like, that’s how freeing it felt like, just do stuff, you know, and see what happens.
Wow. I feel for all the creators, all the artists that are listening and you keep asking, like, how do I get started, what’s my first step? Just use that as your advice. Just get started. Take a piece of paper, open up your memos, record something, take a picture, attach it and upload it, right? Just like breaking the ice.
I think also, I always tell homies, especially in my Zoratopia classes, for your first NFT, put something out that really speaks to who you fully are. That was like one thing that I feel like my first NFT embodied. It was like this performance art music video song, but those are all the parts of me. I’m a performer, I’m a musician, I like visuals. It all has to encompass all those parts of you. Because then it makes it easier as you go along and give the different pieces.
Being an Early Adopter on Zora
Speaking of Zora, how did you get to Zora? How’d you get to work full-time over there? I remember when that announcement came out, you joined Zora, you’re heading community, a lot of the culture side. How, like, what’s the story behind that? I know you were using the platform earlier, but take it away.
I am an OG Zora user. That’s what they called me. I was one of the first people to use the platform, and I fell in love with the platform to be really honest. I really believe in the ethos and the ideas of autonomy that they spoke on. And the white paper was like a seller. Like I was like, all right, all this thing that the white paper is saying is me pretty much. And so I would just like to always push my homies on Zora whether I was working there or not. Before I even worked there, I was like, you got to use Zora, like that’s the platform. And then I was hyped because there was no commission, like 15% commission, like other platforms that were not there. There was zero commission from Zora. I was hyped because I could put music videos on there and no other platform allowed large size files on it. And then three, I loved the aesthetic. I love this ethereal cryptic aesthetic that Zora was going for. And I was like, ah, this speaks to like all of my identity. So I fell in love and I just kept pushing it, and then in June, the CEO and CFO asked me if I wanted to join. And I was like, hell yeah. And I’m happy they did because they need artists in these spaces. We deserve to be at the tables, making these decisions for these platforms and protocols, you know and I’m really grateful that they did that because it changed the minds of a lot of other platforms and protocols that were released after.
Working with Zora
What does Latasha look like at Zora?
Oh my gosh. My day is insane. So I start my day around 9:00 AM. I’m checking my slack. I have like six to eight messages on slack from the team. Then I go to my fun Twitter, and I have at least 40 DMS from artists. 10 of them are new artists that are just starting this NFT thing and have no idea. I ship them off to Zoratopia, which is our biweekly hangout where you get to learn about NFTs. I onboard artists, I get them their wallets. I teach them the whole walk of this thing every other week on Wednesday. Then the other DMS will be like group chats talking about projects and ideas that they have coming up and how Zora could support them in real life events that I’m building. So we’re building stuff at art basel and different, you know, exhibits and things of that nature. And then I’m on Twitter tweeting all day. That’s my life. I live on Twitter. That’s my second home. I’m tweeting all day, getting people to just listen and talk. I also host Zora FM, which is like our Twitter spaces. So I interview artists and creatives and developers dropping on Zora. And then I’m building a platform with Zora on the other side of this thing. So my life is chaotic and beautiful, but every day is a new day and we’re building just a lot of different things all the time. I’m also the bug person. So everybody comes to me for the bugs, and then I go and scream about all the bugs.
You know what that reminds me of? You live a very dual life from your artistry, your creative side, but also working professionally in the space and building up your repertoire with a lot of legit people, right beyond the music. And it reminds me of artists who are trying to make it working in restaurants in hospitality, doing their day-to-day just to like pay rent and then doing artistry on the side. So you found a way to kind of mix your love for two, by being an early adopter. How can other artists do that?
I think it’s back to that idea of just stepping in the water and just like, you know, talking to people, connecting with folks. I mean, when I was talking to Jacob from Zora, I was talking his ear off about my ideas for Zora and same to D. Like just saying what you think things need in the space and what you need in the space. I think that’s the best way for folks to really get involved and get jobs and get connected. When I started working for Zora, I was like, okay, like, I’m Jay Z now. Like Jay Z got the business side of him, and he also be rapping. So that’s like how I kind of saw it. And the beauty also with working with Zora is like, I still get to be an artist. Like they want me to push my artistry and do the things that I’m doing. And I’m so grateful and blessed for that.
How do they kind of support you on the creative side beyond kind of managing the platform and the community? What does that look like?
I mean, I get to build in real life events that I get to perform at that too. So that’s a great, you know, win-win and I get to bring on my homies too, you know?
It is such a win-win, yeah.
I get to share experiences like that. I also got to do the NFT fan photo shoot, and get all the artists together, and hang out. But also that fulfills my creative needs too. Like I love taking photos and, you know, telling these stories, and pushing the history.
NFT NYC – The Performance
Speaking of events. Let’s talk about NFT NYC, more specifically, this NFT music collector named Brett Shear, AKA Blockchain Brett on Twitter. Go check him out. Shout out to Brett. A big collector for music NFTs and is very vocal about his love. He works at Palm tree crew, manages the blockchain fund for Kygo and the team over there, and he put together like this inaugural NFT concert where he basically invited all of the artists that he collects on stage to perform in front of a live audience. Super cool. I told him that was the start of something new, that it’s going to be a reoccurring thing, it’s only going to get bigger and bigger, bigger. I had the honor to watch you perform. I said this in the beginning, you’re a force. You’re a legit force. Your energy on stage, your passion. You can see that you stand for something, right? It goes back to one of my first questions, like finding your voice. How do you find that identity though? How does that come through technology? How does that come through music? Because, you know, you said earlier when you get into crypto, be yourself, but a lot of people have a hard time still finding their identity and who they are. You had that on stage. You were like jumping around, you were going crazy. I can’t explain it. You just have to see. Everybody that’s listening needs to watch you one day in person. How do you find that identity, and how does that translate into how you perform and your passion for technology?
I don’t know if I found the identity. I think my identity found me. You know what I mean? I think I’ve just always just been who I am, and just let that grow and bubble and boil as big as possible until the pot bursts. You know what I mean? And that day was such a beautiful and epic day. I felt like that week was insane. We had crazy issues at other events, and I was really grateful Brett put me on to that event because that event felt like love. And I felt like I could be my fullest self. I always feel like I could be my fullest self in places that are full of love. So yeah, I mean, as for identity, like I always say, I feel like identity is an evolving transformative thing that is always happening, always being, but at the core it’s about what I value, right? It’s like the things that I value is empowerment. The things that I value are transforming and shifting the paradigm. Those are the things that always are a part of me. And so I think that just exudes through everything that I do and exudes multiple times on stage, because I love the stage. The stage is my heart work, and that’s where I get to really show out.
You can really see that you really, really see that. And I remember we had like 5, 6, 7 performers, and when you got on stage, it was just like what’s going on? From your suit to your hair, to the music that you’re playing to you’re dancing around, to jumping into the crowd, and coming back to the crowd and like having this monologue of who you were and what you stand for and being, I think you said, quote for quote, the first black woman rapper on the blockchain, right? And making that part of your identity of being like an innovator quote unquote, right. It’s something that a lot of artists look forward to and I say that not because I’m assuming that, rather I talk to artists and they’re asking the questions, how can I use NFTs to own my audience, to own my craft, to build communities around myself, in what I believe in to align people, right? When people ask you that, how do you answer that? Like, what are those first steps to kind of getting there?
I think during the pandemic, I did so much healing work and so much like self-work and I used that time to plot out my values, plot out what I want to see. I did a lot of manifesting work. If you guys know me, I own like a million notebooks and in my notebooks, I just write down all the things I want to see, all the things I want to be, all the values that I hold onto and how I want to change the world. I know that’s cliche, but I really want to see things change. And so it’s the steps that I always give to peeps is like, write it down, write down everything that you want to create. All the things that you truly value and then see how your values connect to the things that you want to manifest in the world. If something isn’t fully tied, dig into that thing, understand why that thing is the thing you want. Like I need money, right? We talk about money all the time because we’re in crypto and we’re in ETH and everybody’s excited about making all this bread. Why do we want money? Like, what’s the importance of having money? Like how does that really tie into our deeper values? And for me, it was like the opportunity to give, the opportunity to share, the opportunity to, you know, feel safe and secure and not have the government be chasing me for some dough. Like these are like real things that I really wanted to clear up within myself. So I would write it down and I think writing down is like the best way to see things come to life. So that’s like my number one tool to like manifesting and understanding what your values are and what you want to bring.
So rather than kind of just like going ham, cause there’s one portion of like going ham and like doing it, and there’s another portion of like taking the steps and taking them to create like a mental model around it, and it kinda like follow through with that, right?
Yeah. I mean, going ham is very important. I feel like you need to go ham so you can see the chaos and be like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, right? I feel like the beginnings of my career were very much so go ham, go crazy, see what you like, what you don’t, and then take a step back. Then realize the parts that you want, the parts that you don’t want and kind of walk in that journey.
Who are some of the other NFT artists that kind of inspire you or you kind of look up to, or get motivation from do any come to mind?
Yeah, I have a ton. I adore, of course, Art by Jah, he is my partner. Like of course my big inspiration. Amir is a huge thought leader in the space and really inspires me. I love Momo pixels who is like this dope video gamer, producer, just everything. Faith, who is also not only an incredible thought leader, but community leader in the space, and I really always give faith mad props because I think she was the beginnings of me seeing the possibility of being a community lead as a black woman and what that equates to. Shout out to ATM who’s like this crazy illustrator, just off the chain creating a really dope PFP project coming up. Shout out to my fan T and angel. T is about to bring a really cool series that I haven’t seen done in NFTs yet, like a film series and angel also is going to bring film and photography. There’s so many. Verite, I got to always give Verite my love because Verite was one of the first women that I watched do the music NFT space and do it differently. Like she was the first time I saw somebody give a part of their masters to someone and experiment and try. She also was so loving to me and just supportive of my walk in this space. Black Dave, also Connie digital. So many.
You brought up Verite. She comes to mind as well. I remember coming across her work, not necessarily from her music per se, but discovering her music through crypto. I remember specifically during the clubhouse era, and I can’t believe I’m saying era is, it feels like 10 years ago. But like literally seven, eight months ago when Clubhouse was still popping and all these NFT communities were congregating there, she did a session with Justin Blau. It was her, I think Cooper Turley was there, and a couple others preparing for her drop, that masters dropped that you’re talking about. And that was also like the time where I was like, ok, we keep talking about this concept on podcasts. Like I had Justin and Cooper talking about the future of NFTs, like a year and some months ago, and then a few months later, like Justin came out with his big drop. Verite, came out with her drop, and we see more and more artists. Now though, we’re at a stage where catalog.works is bringing so much value. I think they’ve distributed over a million dollars so far directly to fans from collectors to artists which is insane. Just the number of streams that would have been required on Spotify to reach that is number one. Number two, we’re at a pivotal point in NFTs and music, right? We’re seeing a lot of people explore this route. We’re seeing a lot of people make a lot of money from this and kind of realizing what freedom and ownership is which is huge right? People are actually starting to understand that being independent might actually be really good. Being independent and building a team and treating it like a startup and building my team around you. One focuses on publishing PR. I focus on creating, et cetera, et cetera, and building from the core and out. People are starting to realize that, right?
Yeah. And that’s always been a lot of our dreams. To build our own teams and have the capacity to do it. I mean, I already had that. Like I had a visual team that was sitting there. I had management, I had different things, I just couldn’t pay him because I was like, I don’t have any funds coming in. But now with NFTs, this . Opportunity allows me to fully develop my own team that speaks to my true self, right? Like now I don’t have to deal with a label telling me how I need to be. Like, I could tell everybody this is who I am, and this is how I create my work, and how can we work together to expand that, right?
Artist Management in a Web 3.0 World
What does the future of artist and label relationship look like in the world of web 3.0?
Everybody always asks me this question about like, eh.
And if you don’t know, that’s okay. Let’s even like walk it through because it’s a future thing, right? Like I see it as a thing where artists stay independent, record labels buy their works to reap the upside and financial value, rather than like holding them by the neck. It could be either through the form of an NFT or through their social token that they might launch. How do you see it? Do you see a similar vision?
Yeah, totally. I do see a similar vision. I also see labels just taking up the marketing route possibly and just becoming more of the marketing rather than actually owning anything. I feel like if they are really about it, like they say they are, they would actually think about the things that artists actually need. Like, we don’t need anybody owning our work. We need companies to come in, support the marketing, support the connectivity. That’s what we really, really need. So if anything, I would love to see labels do more of that work, but your idea is incredible. Like if they decide like, okay, we’ll buy this work, and then we’ll help you with your publishing, we’ll help you with your marketing, we’ll help you with all those things for a short period of time. Let’s talk about that perpetuity issue that we’re dealing with in labels. We need to clear that and make it a short period of time then, yeah, I would be open to that idea definitely. But anything that’s going to take from the artists way too much, I’m against. I think that’s where overall we’re just moving out of that whole idea and paradigm. So I’m ready to shift that completely.
One thing that I see music labels kind of evolving into, and this might be far-fetched and it might be a hot take, but I think they’re going to be evolving into hedge funds. And the reason why they may maybe evolving into hedge funds is because more and more creators are tokenizing themselves and, or their assets, and putting themselves, their character, their identity, their level of ownership, on chain which makes it publicly accessible by anyone with ETH, whatever the currency is with an internet connection. And if record labels kind of want to keep up with their element of investing in artists, and kind of like seeing their money flip as the creator kind of doubles in fame, and wealth, and streams, and record sales, whatever the metric is, they might be optimizing for around things like which social token projects can we get in early. Is the artist tying in their creations and like the value being captured through their creations, to their tokens and their community holders. Whether it be through a token or an NFT, I kind of see that come into fruition. I don’t know why. I see these record labels acting as big banks essentially.
I mean, they already do.
And in essence, that’s what they do now. But how, I guess, like, I’m thinking out loud, how does it evolve with tokenized assets?
I mean, it’s back to that idea that you started touching upon, just them owning these tokens and then figuring out a consistent revenue stream for themselves and the artists as well right? Like, that’s just what it’s going to be. But I don’t know, in my world, I don’t want this ownership thing anymore from them, you know what I mean? It’s been years of this. Like we literally had to deconstruct everything that they’ve done from the twenties till now. Like we’re still on the same walks from the twenties. That’s so crazy. Like where he’s still using the same kind of contracts that were built in the early 1920s. Like we have to just demolish it all and rebuild.
So from your point of view then, collecting in web 3.0 versus signing an artist in web 2.0, how does that differ? Like when blockchain Brett buys an NFT piece, like an NFT song, for those who don’t understand, he owns that work essentially, right? Let’s say at some point there’s a decentralized Spotify and he lists that song, he’ll earn the royalties and whatever splits occur with the artist as well. But in web 2.0, the record label has a contract and owns the artist. So is it the element of owning the individual versus the work?
Yea , and that’s a huge difference. Like what I’m able to do on blockchain is not what I’m able to do on web 2.0, right? Them owning me as an artist means that every time I sell a t-shirt, they get a percentage of that. Every time I sell any part of myself, they get a percentage of that. So if I decided to do a commercial for let’s say Maybelline, they could get a percentage of that. That’s the problem. Instead, what’s happening here essentially, is okay, you get to own this music onto the blockchain and then you get to resell it and I get a royalty from every time you resell it, amazing. I like that idea more so than you telling me you own everything that I do, right? That’s the scary part of web 2.0. And that’s why artists go homeless and end up on couches and do the things because they ended up with no money after, you know what I mean? So that’s the bigger issue.
Governance in Artist Management
How do you think about governance? Right now it’s collecting. Right now it’s like buying assets and building communities around who owns what of your work. Do you ever imagine a point where you’ll start introducing governance around you as a creator, as an artist? Let’s say, I’m going to bring in blockchain Brett, because I just love his taste. We’re blockchain Brett and a few others collect your work. They love what you do. They’ve supported you for years now, but now they kind of want to vote on the name of your next album, for example, or they want to kind of determine who your next collab is, or have the optionality to have a voice in who your next collab is with. Do you ever imagine introducing that level of on chain governance? Can you walk me through that?
Absolutely. I’m definitely thinking about a Tash coin, Tash Dow, where folks could literally decide the next moves to an extent. I do not want, you know, too many of the next moves to be controlled by the people, but things that I need support in and are like open to opinions for, I would much rather it be from my fans than or somebody collecting than somebody who is not even a part of the work, you know what I mean? So yeah, I’m definitely open to that idea and I see it being like my own meta city, like an FWB kind of aspect. I love FWB and I think how they’ve built it is so smart. So like the more tokens you get, the more say you get into what the next project is going to be, or the next move is going to be, or the next tour is going to be. If you live in Tash LA, Tash coin LA, right? If you guys got more tokens than Chicago, I might push to LA first before I go to Chicago, and just like to see how it goes. But that’s like really cool things that we could end up doing in the future, and I’m really excited for that. I’m excited for it to just be the people, like that’s where I’m at. Like the people are making the decisions, not so much these higher scary ideas.
No, I hear you. I hear you. One thing, I also want to pick your brain on, because it seems like you’ve got a knack for it. You talk about this concept of valuing yourself. How do you do it in a way where, when you as an artist consider your work to be a masterpiece, you’re very vulnerable about the art that you’re publishing on chain, how do you do it in a way where you don’t undervalue yourself and you don’t overvalue yourself? And I guess as an add on question, if you want the community to value you, how do you even do that? So I guess the takeaway is like, how do you price a song from your own point of view?
I guess for me, how I’ve always priced is like what my brain says. So if my brain’s like, this is one ETH, I’m going to go for it for the most part. But that’s not the best answer probably for somebody who’s just starting out. For people that are just starting out, I usually tell them to think about how much money they put into the work. So if you’ve made a song and you’ve put like this amount of money into recording it, into producers, into et cetera, think about how much money you put into the work, and then how much do you want to see come back to you? That’s like a good gauge of it. So some artists are like, yo, I’ve had all my equipment, so I’ve just been doing this, you know, off the fly, you know, this song, I would have sold it to, you know, a company for $800, a thousand dollars. I’m like, cool, that’s a great start. Now multiply that by three or multiply that by five, and that’s like usually what I tell artists to try to do. But for me personally, I just go where my brain and my gut is telling me. And I’m like, all right, if it’s 1 ETH, we’re going to test this one ETH and it usually works for me. I’ve sold everything because of that.
There you go. You know, and I guess it also depends on who you are as an artist, and how much traction do you have. Have you made money in the past from the songs that you’ve created and how does that kind of equate to you doing this more experimental path on your journey as an artist, because that can be even deemed more valuable right? And also, I guess when I was talking to Justin Blau about it like a year and some months ago, he was talking about from the point of view of like, I have records out, I have millions of streams, I’ve made X amount of money from my work already. If I sell an NFT below this price, I’m like robbing myself. Because if a reseller were to actually try to flip it, that collector, and that audience has like a history of streams for them to kind of refer to and to see them out of money that I made from that. Like you have to strategically price it. But, I don’t think there’s like an official answer and official playbook to kind of do it. Everybody’s just throwing shit at the fan.
Yeah, I think it’s literally that. I think everybody’s just trying different things. NFTs are still very new too, right? So we can’t always expect the same amounts from a very traditional space to this new baby that’s growing. We don’t know how much values is in an NFT. I mean, we know that it’s a lot, but we don’t know how much is meeting us yet. So I think it’s all about just experimentation. I talk to V about that all the time. We’re just experimenting and trying new things and seeing what hits and what doesn’t. But I definitely have had records that were on, you know, sink that got on TV and Grown-ish and all these places. And then I put them on NFTs and I’ve definitely seen them equate in value which is so interesting to witness. Like I have glow up. Ironically, who I am is a great example, because when we shot the music video, we were like, this is a $20,000 music video, and then we made $20,000 as an NFT. So that just tells you something’s up. Something’s definitely happening.
You had another bid that went to like $4 million on Party Bid. Did I see that correctly?
Yeah, I have a secondary market that’s on sale right now for $4 million, 5 million now, because ETH went up. So we have a party bid for it. Cause I want everybody to come in. We can get this 4 million dollars popping. Yeah, that’s insane. Like this was a music video that we shot in the garage off of the whim. It was just like, let’s do some, you know, green-screen shit. And let me rap real quick and let me talk my shit. The song is amazing and powerful. It’s a beautiful record. I love that verse, it’s one of my favorite records that I got to collaborate with two artists on. Shout out to Witch Prophet and SUN SUN. So, to see it now be worth $4 million feels so fulfilling for the moment that I was in when I wrote that song. Because when I wrote that song, I was pissed with the world. This was before NFTs. I was like, all right, I’m done with all this music stuff. I don’t know, but I’m going t o put my heart into this. And so to feel like my heart is worth that to folks means a lot. It’s also a historical piece. It was one of the first music videos and the first to like, hit that number as well. So, I’m really excited to see it hit 5 million.
I have like a couple more questions I want to ask you before we wrap this up. Do you think web 3.0 favors the new artist or the existing artist?
I think web 3.0 favors the artist that cares about community. I don’t think it’s about new or old. I think it’s about the artist that connects with the community. Cause I’ve seen both sides. I’ve connected with Mick Jenkins and Aluna and all these dope artists who are usually web 2.0 artists, but because they care about the community, the community cares about them. And so they’re connecting that way, but the new artists that are coming in are feeling that same vibration too, so it’s about connecting with the community.
I only asked that because, let’s look at someone like Daniel Allen. Which was, I want to say, an overnight success in crypto, but it wasn’t. It was like four to five months of grinding and making friends and ingraining himself into the world of web 3.0. And then that kind of came to fruition, but people don’t see that. People just see a 48 hour sale of like $180K. And then we see someone like Tory Lanez doing an NFT album. We’re selling a million copies in less than a minute for a dollar an NFT. Which one? Like new versus existing, right?
That’s Tory Lanez was a different game, right? Like that’s like a whole different smart contract, all that stuff was very different. Not very in our space, like Tory Lanez wasn’t on Catalog. You know what I mean? Like Tory Lanez was on something completely different. If anything, that’s like what Nipsey did back in the day when Nipsey sold each record for a hundred dollars and wanted to see who’s going to cop it, you know what I mean? So what Tory Lanez did was like actually tap into the technology which is cool. I have a lot of issues with Tory Lanez obviously, but he tapped him with the technology, but he didn’t tap in with the community. So I can’t see him doing as well if he didn’t have a developer to create his smart contract and do all the developments without tapping into the community, you know? But Daniel tapped into the community, tapped into the people, wanting to know what was going on. You know, him, Alik, all of these artists are really engaging with people. And that’s what makes it really different and have more weight and value. I don’t know if Tory Lanez could do that every month, but I know Daniel probably can.
That’s such a good line. People who engage and build for the community. I don’t want to sound like a soap box right now, because everybody loves using the word community. We gotta find a new word for community. I don’t know. Another question I wanna ask you is like a more personal question. Biggest influence so far in music for yourself?
In music? I mean, I said music in itself. Like it’s not one. I have a conglomerate of mothers. So, it’s Queen Latifa, Missy Elliott, Lauren Hill, little Kim. That’s my conglomerate of mothers for lyricism. And then for the art and visual, et cetera, it’s I’m Tyler the Creator, Childish Gambino. Those are my guys. But kind of all ranges and Andre 3000. I love Andre 3000.
Obviously Kendrick is always on the list, but I feel like Kendrick, like I don’t know- I feel like we have some kind of north star vibe, you know? I’m watching him and I’m like, I see what you’re doing. I’m going to shoot that. But that’s my, that’s my guy. I love Kendrick. I think he’s incredible and excited for his new projects for real, for real.
What can we expect from you in the future? You hinted at a city, you hinted at like a new drop. Like what are we going to see? When are we going to see it? Give us some alpha here, come on.
It’s not going to be a city, it’s going to be an island. That’s what we’re calling it. So Tash island is coming soon, and just get your coins ready for that. We got some really dope music videos coming out for December. It’s going to be like heavy music video drops, all hip hop, going real hard on the hip hop tip in December. January, we’re going hard on this new project I got coming out called joy ride. That’s going to be a bit web 2.0 meets web 3.0. I’m going to really tap in on how to bring my community from web 2.0 to web 3.0 and see how the joy ride goes. And then I have a platform that I’m building for all artists to do music videos and bring their music videos onto NFTs through Zora. It’s going to be like a streaming platform for music videos. So that’s the alpha and do not steal that alpha.
Like a decentralized YouTube?
I can’t say anything else, but we have some cool things in the works with Zora, and then just all the projects that I’m working on and probably touring next year. Let’s cross our fingers. NFT tour next year. So it’s going to be really epic.
That’s pretty cool. Do you imagine selling tickets as NFTs?
Hell yeah, we’re going to have NFT tickets. That’s what this is all about, right? We’re tokenizing these tickets now. That’s the whole vibe. I want to make sure that, you know, you’re getting that whole experience, and I think that’s going to really be the bridge. You know, like when the tokens become the tickets, people are really going to start understanding what NFTs can do on a larger capacity.
Last question, before I let you go. Where can we find you? This has been a lot of fun. Where are you online?
I am Latasha. You can find me on Twitter at @CallMeLatasha, I live on Twitter, like I said. I’m also an Instagram at @CallMeLatasha, and then my website is callmelatasha.com, and you will be able to see my NFTs on my website now thanks to Zora’s embed feature now too. So that’s where you can find me.
Is your website like a WordPress site?
It’s a Squarespace site, and now you could put your NFTs directly on it from Zora. So that’s really cool.
That is pretty cool. I have to check that out. Latasha, this was a lot of fun. Thank you so much. When your platforms come out, when your drops come out, we’ll be supporting, we’ll be promoting, and I hope to have you again soon.
Talk to you guys soon, peace!