Mint Season 5 episode 8 welcomes Ice Cube, the legendary rapper, actor, and now web3 entrepreneur who shares how NFTs can be used to buy ownership into one’s favorite basketball teams on the BIG3.
In this episode, we discuss:
- 00:00 – Intro
- 03:48 – What is BIG3? What Does it Aim to Do?
- 08:53 – Curating Unique Experiences for Sports Team Owners
- 13:53 – Perks of Collecting a BIG3 NFT
- 20:09 – Why Ice Cube Took a Major Stake in Dogecoin
- 23:57 – The Intersection of Movies and NFTs
- 26:58 – The Intersection of Music and NFTs
- 31:27 – Outro
and so much more…
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
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Ice Cube Welcome to mint, my friend, thank you for being on how you doing?
Ice Cube: Pretty good, how are you doing?
Good man. You’re a legend, bro. It’s an honor. Seriously, it’s an honor to have you on the show. I’m super excited to have you talk about BIG3, talk about NFTs and web three in general, I think the best place to start. A lot of people already know who you are. So, there’s no need for an intro as I typically do, but I think a good place to start is how did you get your way into crypto? Like what’s your like entry story?
Ice Cube: Really, through NFTs.
Ice Cube: When I saw how cool NFTs were, and that people were, you know, basically creating a way for artists to, to interact directly with their fans, for their fans to be able to you know, buy a piece of art, and if you know, they sold it, then artists still participate in it, which is cool. You know, you want artists to get paid for their work. And so, it was interesting. So, I wanted to kind of figure out the right way to do my own NFT. Yeah, I started working with Trevor Jones. And we started to collaborate on you know, what it would look like?
Got it. I remember also seeing earlier, as I was doing some more research on you, it’s like you’re also issuing initially like music NFTs earlier in the day, if I’m not mistaken.
Ice Cube: Yeah, I mean, I’ve always looked at, as, you know, any different kind of way, I can figure out how to connect directly to the fans, without going through these middlemen. Whether it’s, you know, record company, or studio execs, you know, I think, you know, the NFT technology can be great for movies in the future. So, you know, I just think it’s a, it’s a way to disrupt the status quo and what’s going on. You know, some of us can be a part of some, but some of us can’t.
you know, you’ve seen the rise and fall of so much yet, you’ve personally managed to stay so relevant, and continuously reinvent yourself, whether it be through movies, or music, and whatnot, and you’ve always managed to kind of stay authentic to who you are, where you come from, how have you managed to remain so constant throughout the years of watching, like various industries change?
Ice Cube: Well, you know, I made a promise to myself that I would always be myself, no matter what. So, I’m never really concerned with the consequences of the business. Like, you know, I’m gonna do what I feel and let the chips fall where they may were some people I think, are worried about, you know, if they do one move on what could happen if they messed up, or if they made certain people mad, you know used to be a saying, like, you’ll never work in this town again. You know, I mean, that’s bullshit. You know, so if you got talent, you would work. And so, I just always the same, decided to do what I feel and not what other people want me to do, or what the society or system expect me to do.
What is BIG3? What Does it Aim to Do?
Yeah, I think knowing your story, knowing your history, in music, and like in the 90s, in the 80s, etc. It’s very you, right? From all the movies that have been created about you. And I guess like all the interviews that you’ve kind of had in the past, you really see that, especially with the things that you’re getting volved with now and kind of combining sports with crypto. And I guess that’s a good segue into what you’re doing at BIG3. So, I don’t want to butcher it. I’d love to hear your kind of introduction of what is BIG3, it’s obviously been around for what I’ve seen around since like, 2017 or so. So, for those who don’t know, can you. Yeah, can you give us a quick a quick intro? What is BIG3? What does it aim to do?
Ice Cube: Well, BIG3 is professional, you know, three on three basketball, you know, from, you know, when you first look and then when you really get into it, you realize victory is it own sport. But, you know, in a nutshell is taken, what people always looked at as an amateur, kind of pick-up game, sport and treat it extremely professional, to find the best players in the world to play, and to play it at a very high level with unique rules that make the game fun and faster, and just more interesting to watch. And so that’s what the BIG3 is. And, you know, it’s the perfect lead for this technology. You know, for web three, it’s the perfect lead to marry web two, and web three together. Matter of fact, what we’re doing, I don’t even know if you can call it a traditional NFT, you got to come up with a new name for what we’re doing, because it’s truly utility that, you know, you can have for lifetime with lead. And so people say we’re in a bear market, this is the perfect bear market, purchase, you know, what we’re doing, where we’re connecting the NFT technology and the blockchain G, and we’re marrying those with unique experiences, and, you know, rights and, you know, merch and, you know, surprises and, and, you know, it’s gonna grow and as being part of a major community, because we have some major players who have bought teams, or they bought all the biggest NFTs that teams have to offer. So, it’s really a unique situation that I don’t think we’ve seen yet in crypto.
Yeah, we have yet to see like being able to purchase ownership in sports teams, there’s various styles that have tried to attempt to buy NBA teams, but it’s, I feel like it’s taking like the new way and trying to apply it to the old way, when what you’re doing is like you’re kind of starting from scratch, you realize the inefficiencies in the old way, you’re like, Fuck it, we’re just going to start from the beginning, and do our own thing and kind of have our own take on it, which I guess I want to name some, some points and some stats to kind of better understand the BIG3, and I want you to stop me if I if I butcher anything. But there’s 12 teams in the league, right? teams aren’t tied to cities. Games are three on three, not five on five. And you’re basically using, go ahead.
Ice Cube: Half court.
Half court. Okay. And you’re using Ethereum to basically fractionalize ownership of these teams. Right? Did I get that right?
Ice Cube: Yes, we were, I mean, in a lot of ways, were using the NFT technology to create ownership, like experiences.
Ice Cube: so I mean, you know, it’s as close to being owner as you can get, without being billionaire days, trying to own a sports team, you have to start off with so much money, it’s impossible for the average person to even be a part of that, but we’re able to offer that, it’s known, it’s fresh enough, and it’s open enough to do this. And that’s really what it’s all about. It’s about creating some new for the fans to be a part of, and to be a part of this league. So, it’s where we’re trying to connect our fans to leave.
Curating Unique Experiences for Sports Team Owners
Yeah, so when you when you talk about like a unique experience like ownership base unique experiences for collectors, can you talk more about that?
Ice Cube: Mainly it’s really about access, practices. You know, press conferences, suites, great seating, access to our, you know, parties and our you know, everything owner would get, and do you know, we’re offering that to fans to get closer to the league. You know, we expect this to land in the hands of you know, super fans who really loved the league and want to be part of the league in long term. You know, this to me is a one of those kinds of, you know, get it get it and flip it kind of NFTs. This is for people who really are interested into this For, who really can see that the value of this, you know, wants to sell out could, you know, over the years, be pretty lucrative. So, you know, I just think it’s, it’s some, I wish I could have did it with Lakers and underwriters or, you know, people that I been following for, you know, 30 years now. You know, if I could have bought into something like this, when I first started to love those leaks, then you know, it will be pretty cool. And, you know, it’s kind of like what they do in Green Bay, you know, that the whole community owns the team, and brings them closer together. And we got some of the biggest people in the space has team owners, you know, for Gary Vee, to, you know, the guides, to Krause’s house, you’ve mentioned. And if you want to get closer to those communities, you know, you can purchase, go tear are their teams. So, it’s really a way just for communities to interact in a fun way. But also, the network, you know, when we get out of it as a league is to have enthusiasm around the league from these communities that are already enthusiastic. And so, it’s a win, win situation for us. And we think it’s a win, win situation for anybody who wants to get one of the NFTs.
Yeah, I was a part of the initial mint of Krause house, I bought like one of those initial NFTs because I love the vision of being able to participate in your favorite sports teams, whether they would be able to pull it off or not. I just feel like there’s so much bureaucracy, and so much BS that comes with actually buying more of those, like professional national leagues that we all kind of like no mainstream. And I really enjoy the concept of like this experimentation of take on sports, on ownership-based rights, and kind of seeing the evolution of your favorite players in the NBA and how you guys are scouting them for like this next stage in their career. Which is, which is super interesting. So, talk more about the NFT. So, each team, from what I understand, has about 1000 Total NF T’s split between two different tiers, right?
Ice Cube: Yeah, and we, you know, we’re thinking long and hard about how we can really improve the go tier, you know, you look at that fire tear, and it’s amazing, and we want to go tier to feel the same way. Because everybody’s not gonna be able to purchase that. And, you know, one of our thoughts is reducing the number. So, it’s, you know, it’s a little more precious, you know, I mean, to get a hold up. So, you know, we’re thinking of all kinds of different things. So those numbers won’t be the same when we remake. And we relaunch the gold tier, we just kind of been doing our homework, and figuring out what we need to do to make it you know, as close to attractive as the fire tier is. And so, you know, we listened to the people in the discord, and we want to make sure that we give them something that they really, you know, want to be a part of, you know, for now or the future.
Perks of Collecting a BIG3 NFT
Yeah. Yeah. Make a lot of sense. So, when you buy ownership into a team, the first thing that comes to mind from my point of view is like I’d love to make some form of decisions based on the team so it’s one thing to have like a level of fandom, it’s another thing to actually feel like you’re an owner, when you’re an owner, you have the same things you have somewhat of control over how things are done. So, what are some like ownership-based traits that come to mind as a co-owner of one of the teams in BIG3 so for example, like being able to make team decisions, choose a CEO or president, creating merchandise like what like what comes to mind?
Ice Cube: Well, you know, with ownership you have depending on what tier you are on, some rights to the IP. Definitely access to coaches and player captains. Access to referees, being able to talk to them and you know, voice your opinion or good explanation, being able to vote on, you know, uniforms, you know, who should they pick, and, you know, these things are things that come along with it, you know, ultimately, you know, we don’t want to do too many things that mess with the game on the court. Because we still want it to be decided by the captains, and players and coaches, you know, so we have to draw a line at a certain point. But, you know, when it comes to having a say, and what direction the team go, you definitely have a say, you know, and we’ll think of more things to add to that, you know, what’s cool is, what’s great about this technology is you can keep dropping in things to people and, you know, keep offering better experiences, you know, as we, you know, it’s a trip because when we started this league, nobody had ever seen professional player On Three, before, not even us. And so, we had to mold and shape the game, and be able to pivot real fast to make sure we were giving the people exactly what they want. And we’ll do the same thing with these NFTs. Nobody’s ever done this before.
So, we have to be able to mold and pivot into things that we know will keep the people who purchase these owners happy and that’s, you know, what we’re dedicated to do because that’s what makes them more valuable is that people are happy with them and, you know, that’s the key to be able to give people something that, you know, is valuable, and is worth it. And it’s cool, if they want to, you know, do the experiences they self, it’s about as close as anybody who’s ever gonna get into ownership on one of these teams, on a professional level. So, we want everybody to keep that in perspective to you know, the minority owners in the NBA don’t get shit, you know, you might not even get a seat at the game, you put your money, shut up and tell people you know, your fan, I mean, that you’re owner. You know, that’s kind of basically how it goes in some of these minority ownership roles and these franchises basically, you know, put your money in and shut up. We definitely not going to approach it that way. Because we need the community to be active, and to be advocates for the league. And to go out and say this is great shit since the NBA and so that’s our goal.
So, I have a few questions for you. Crypto is inherently like still really, really early. And I’m sure you’re aware of them and when you introduce like these primitives of NFTs, the mainstream doesn’t really understand what NFTs are just yet and sports basketball is such like a mainstream thing. Right? How do we get more people? I guess, like, into NFTs because I think sports is a great vehicle to do that. Right? I think it’s an interesting kind of like pivot in, but I guess how we introduce this concept beyond just like the crypto native crowd who enjoy collecting and buying NFTs and more into the mainstream crowd that loves sports, for the sake of sports for either investing sports betting etc.
Ice Cube: Education you know, and drops like the ones we’re doing, you know, a lot of traditional sports people, you know, put the antennas up, NFT is still something that people need to be educated on. You know, what is mean was does it do? how’s it work and same with cryptocurrency, you know, a lot of people hear the word but don’t really understand how it works, and how they can be a part of it, or they are intimidated. So, it’s really about you know, showing people what it is, you know, still the educational phase. You know, we know but I’ve been through this, you know, with hip hop, you know, it’s like all of a sudden people had and when I first started on only certain people into it and so, you know, you educate people, you show people how cool it is, and people always want to be a part of that.
Why Ice Cube Took a Major Stake in Dogecoin
Yeah, you know, I think you did something that’s really smart, I guess from a brand point of view. And potentially, we’ll see how it plays out from an investment point of view. But you took a major stake in Dogecoin. Can you talk more about that? Like, why the need to do that? What was the vision behind you that doing that? I guess, do you imagine using Dogecoin as a form of payment in the stadium’s as well, like, walk me through this entire, like thought process of doing so?
Ice Cube: Well, I mean, we understand is one of the most active communities out there and, you know, we feel like Dogecoin could actually really catch on widespread and we see other industries, you know, starting to adapt it, and embrace it. You know, having a guy like Bill Lee, as owner, who’s, you know, saw invested into Dogecoin, it just, you know, we see that it is the future, and it’s something that, you know, we hope we can use in stadiums, and we can use, you know, more in our business, is something that we believe is going to really catch on, and be here for the long haul.
How does it tie in to the BIG3? Like, what’s the aligning visions?
Ice Cube: Well, I mean, we hope to use the act of community to blow up the league and got it know that they have, you know, now, you know, they have the alias. And, you know, we feel like when the seasons start to competition between these communities that are heated up, and it’s gonna, you know, with that competition, with that activity out there, with all the trash talking, going back and forth, it will bring a lot of attention to the league. And then, you know, all boats will rise on that. And that’s kind of how we see it. That’s the benefit, the unseen benefit that the BIG3 gets, when you connect with these major communities. That if you get the noise, that these communities produce, talking about the BIG3, your blown and going to league.
Yeah, makes a lot of sense. I want to talk to you more about, like, what if the NBA or the NFL start implementing a system like this in the future? Like, do you imagine that ever happening?
Ice Cube: I can’t see it, you know, but, you know, he’s very smart people running those leagues, and they may come up with something that satisfies people and now works. Pretty sure they’re looking at it. We’re always happy to be first are one of the first to, to break down those old barriers and it was on walls. No, we have the most diversity in the world, with the makeup of our board of directors, you know, commission owners, female coaches who win championships. And so, I just think, you know, the follower leader, we just happen to be the leader on this.
The Intersection of Movies and NFTs
Yeah. I want to transition out of sports for just a minute because you have such a diverse career. I want to try hitting on music and movies. So recently, you just signed a new multi picture production TV and film deal, right? For you to kind of produce more entertainment on that side. How do you imagine the future of NFTs and movies kind of colliding?
Ice Cube: Man, you know, in a perfect world, I would love to see NFT project around a movie where, you know, let people know what kind of movie you want to make and people say, hey, I want to see that, I want to own a piece of that. You know, and I want to be a part of that. And so, it’s happening with music. And I’m pretty sure that it’s probably happening with music. You know, I mean, we’re moving somewhere. But that’d be a great day for artists, directors, writers, actors, to be able to go straight to the people and say, do you want this movie? And if you do, let’s, you know, here’s how much it’s gonna cost. Let’s raise this money and do it. You know, that would definitely kick the studios in the nuts. Because they’re the gatekeepers, you know, they’re not Yeah. They don’t just do with smart, or they don’t just do what they should or do with the they, you know, so a lot of propaganda and what they are doing, so they won’t push the propaganda, push those old narratives about people, stereotypes, all that shit, is part of the agenda as well. So, to be able to bypass these people and get great movies made to me is, will be a dream come true.
So, can we expect that with this new deal that you just signed from you? Like, do you do see like a collab on your end with NFTs?
Ice Cube: I mean, you know, we’ve been talking to a few people. I don’t know if that’s the route, we’re gonna go with this deal. But you know, it’s not exclusive. So can do other stuff. But we’ve been talking to, you know, gala games, on doing some cool like that. I know, we’re gonna do some with them Company music. So, you know, we were talking about how to do it, and do it right. Because that’s the key is to not just to be able to launch it, but to be able to deliver and, and know that I’m big on delivery. I’m not a person who, who will run his mouth and then not be able to deliver at the end. So, we got to make sure we can do it all.
The Intersection of Music and NFTs
Yeah. So, with doing it all that also kind of introduces my next question with music. Obviously, you’re a legend on the music side of things from NWA and so much more. How do you imagine the intersection between music and NFTs and even more? So, we’re seeing an amazing movement online with independent artists kind of getting their freedom breaking through the gates that kind of like this ethos in crypto has of hating? What are your thoughts around that entire movement? And a few years from now, where do you see the intersection of music and NFTs on the major mainstream?
Ice Cube: I think it’s a great way, once again, for artists to connect directly with the fans, it’s a great way to, for fans to own a piece of this music and not just listen but promoted as well, you know, because, you know, they have a stake and outcome. Not a success at a record. So, it’s a great it’s a new day, you know, it’s a new frontier, when it comes to being able to not only, you know, make that collaboration, but to be able to push promoted, you know? Tight overtaken you know, sell it somebody Yeah. You know, and to have exclusive music. I remember when Wu Tang did that album for the one guy, you know, I mean, like, that’s a concept that is interesting, you know, I mean that you can make music for certain amount of people and if you want to hear it, you got to buy the NFT. Think it’s an interesting concept.
Yeah. So last question I have for you before I let you go, is let’s talk about like more in the future. Okay. So, with everything going on in web three, how do you feel about this, like new world that’s emerging in which people and projects are coming up fast seeing success fast? Are we still breeding longevity anymore? And I feel like this question is perfectly positioned for you because you’ve been so innovative, and you bet you’ve been able to kind of mix and match yourself across many, many different industries. So, what are your thoughts around that?
Ice Cube: Yeah. Oh, think you should always plan for longevity and what it is, is you have to, if you plan for longevity, to me, you’ll make sure the quality is high. And that’s how you get longevity is to have high quality and not just quantity. So, when you think like that, you make sure that you pay attention to the details of any project you’re working on, to make sure that you become the cream of the crop or the best at it. So, people will always keep coming back to you. So, I just think that’s how you should approach everything. Like, you know, if I do this, right, you know, we can do this for 10,20 30 years, 40 years, whatever. Yeah, as long as we want to.
Make sense. So, I guess the last thing I’ll say, before I let you go is the draft for 2022 starts on Wednesday, right? May 25, right in LA in person.
Ice Cube: Well, you know, we’re gonna do a virtual draft. A lot of people are gonna be here in person, we’re gonna be over at the Microsoft lounge here in LA. Lots of cool people in the building, but a lot of people are gonna be, you know, checking in with us on the virtual to, you know, whether they get picked tonight. You know, we still as a league You know, a lot of people have relaxed on COVID. But we haven’t, you know, we still got to make sure that we stay as healthy as possible. Don’t take no unnecessary chances. Because we’ve got a whole league and the whole summer to get through.
I love it, man. I’m excited for you. I’m excited for the league. Before I let you go, Where can we find more about the league and everything that’s coming up.
Ice Cube: Get the BIG3 app, go to BIG3.com That’s how you can really keep up with what we’re doing. You can join our Discord, BIG3 ownership. And, you know, just keep checking us out. You know, follow me on Twitter, follow the BIG3 on Twitter and Instagram. And you can see what the league is doing man, it is fun to have and going on with a lot of class and come be a part of it.
Amazing Ice Cube. Thank you so much for being on, till next time.
Ice Cube: All right, Adam, take it easy.