A Tribe Called Quest Say NFT Of Royalties Sold Without Their Blessing

Aristos Marcopoulos

A Tribe Called Quest Say NFT Of Royalties Sold Without Their Blessing

Aristos Marcopoulos

Industry rule #4080 strikes again. Last week, Royalty Exchange, an online platform for selling royalty assets, announced that it would auction off 1.5% of the sound recording royalties for the first five studio albums from rap legends a Tribe Called Quest. The idea, according to a press release, was that the buyer of those royalties would “earn money every time the songs in question are streamed, played on the radio, sold physically, sampled, or appear in TV/film/commercial placements. Once again, the seller will get a cut each time the asset is sold down the line, making it a rare win-win for both parties involved.” It looks like it wasn’t really a win-win, though.

In a new statement on Facebook, Tribe member Ali Shaheed Muhammad has blasted the sale of this royalty, claiming that the Tribe members had nothing to do with the decision and that it all stems from a messed-up deal that they made early in their career. Muhammad takes issue with a since-edited Billboard article about the sale. The group specifically took issue with the idea that they had “partnered” with the Royalty Exchange. Instead, they say the 1.5% comes from Ron Skoler and Ed Chalpin, two lawyer/agents who represented the group in their initial deal with Jive Records.

According to Muhammad, a clause in the group’s contract said that PPX Enterprises, Chalpin’s company, would get a percentage of Tribe’s money going forward, and Tribe didn’t learn about this until they started recording The Low End Theory, their second album. That percentage is what has now become an NFT: “Apparently PPX sold their share of a settlement they made with Jive Records to an individual whom entered into a partnership with Royalty Exchange. Be clear that is the NFT that was created and auctioned.”

In that statement, the group says that this percentage “should have never been sold by Jive Records” and that they would’ve bought it back from the label themselves if they knew it was out there. Here’s the full text of Muhammad’s statement:

Not Frigging True

On June 29, 2021 Billboard wrote an article that stated “Royalty Exchange has partnered with A Tribe Called Quest to auction off 1.5% share of the sound recording royalties from the hip-hop group’s first five studio albums.”

At the time Billboard knew those words were not true but worded the story in a way to gain clicks 🤦🏾‍♂️ They have now changed the article.

Other “journalistic” publications took the original newsfeed and ran with the misleading headline.

No member of A Tribe Called Quest has entered into any partnership with Royalty Exchange. PERIOD!

Not For Tales:

There’s so much of the journey I don’t talk about as I strive to live each day in the now. I let the art speak for the yesterday’s and prayers speak for any missteps and guides for the tomorrow.

I will take a walk in the past today so the fans know what they are buying.

In 1989 a dream unfolds. Two teenagers sign a 5 album recording contract with Jive Records.

Q-Tip and I were represented by Ron Skoler and Ed Chalpin. Ed owned PPX Enterprises, google that ish. We had absolutely no affiliation with either of these gentlemen other than them representing us as our lawyer/“agent” in negotiating the deal with Jive.

PPX aka Ed Chalpin added a clause to our agreement stating they get paid a percentage of our recording fund EVERY time we commenced to record a new album. We did not discover this hidden clause until we commenced to record The Low End Theory. We disputed this clause. Neither Ed or Ron ever told us about this bullshit language in the agreement. It was unwarranted and where I come from “crooked.” Ed sued us and he lost. He appealed the case. He was rich and had deep pockets to litigate. We however were not rich. We were kids with a dream, an album slowly selling and deeply in debt to our record company.

We were determined to not to be taken advantage of by PPX Enterprises. We wanted to fight on. Jive offered to help us with our lack of capital to litigate the appeal however they required us to sign a sixth album with them. Without any other means to get this (do not use slanderous adjectives) entity out of our lives, we signed for the 6th album, added Phife to the contract and Jive made the PPX issue disappear or so we thought.

It wasn’t until reading this incomplete article by Billboard on June 29, 2021 that I learned PPX Enterprises wasn’t entirely out of our business. Apparently PPX sold their share of a settlement they made with Jive Records to an individual whom entered into a partnership with Royalty Exchange. Be clear that is the NFT that was created and auctioned.

Had we known this percentage of our art was out there we would have bought it directly from PPX Enterprises as it should have never been sold by Jive Records.

In the immortal words of Chris Lighty, “fuckery”
#4080 @billboard @complex @okayplayer #jazzisdead

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