DAOs are a tool to organize and mobilize communities around a common goal and are being initiated across a range of industries. An entrepreneur with deep ties to hip hop is launching a DAO to strengthen and elevate the community at the core of his culture.
In the early 1990s, Anthony Marshall co-founded the groundbreaking MC showcase The Lyricist Lounge with his best friend Danny Castro. The Lounge was an open mic for up-and-coming hip hop artists who eventually became legends. A curious explorer and futuristic Marshall brings this essential franchise to the web3.
You founded The Lyricist Lounge thirty years ago. What was the catalyst and what were some of your favorite moments?
We had a mentor, Charles Thompson, who was interested in getting young people into the music industry. There was a small rehearsal place on Orchard Street on New York’s Lower East Side. He said that if we wanted to invite a few of our friends, he would invite some of them. music industry friends to mentor us, and basically we’ve been doing this for thirty years.
It was incredible to have Foxy Brown with us in 1992. He and a group of friends came to perform with us, she. At the time, we didn’t really know who he was. It wasn’t Foxy Brown yet. Her name was Inga from a band called Rotten Candy. Mos Def was the host at the time and introduced him to the stage. She killed him. At the end of the show, Mos jumped onto the stage and asked his name. She was that straight Brooklyn, she was fourteen and never played games. We also performed the first performance of Mos and Kweli together. With the help of Lord Jamar of Brand Nubians, we brought Dead Prez to New York for the first time.
Another really great moment was when we brought it in for the first time. Eminem went to New York in 1996. It was a great night. It hosted performances by Fat Joe, Big Pun, MOP, and a bunch of other folks. While performing, a group called The Outsiders suddenly started shouting, “Yo, give it up for the white boy”. This boy suddenly starts to destroy the scene. He shocked everyone at how stupid he was and after that we took him on tour with us.
During the tour, she had an incredible night performing with us at The House of Blues in Los Angeles, and it seems Busta Rhymes was among the audience who lost their minds watching her performance. Apparently, an Interscope intern was watching Buss lose his shit. The same person took a demo tape from Eminem’s team and brought it to Interscope.
As I understand it, Jimmy Lovine first heard of Eminem and the rest is history. We had incredible events and moments. We toured the Black Eyed Peas in 1998 before they exploded. The 1993 launch party for Bad Boy hosted by Big and Puff… it was yet another groundbreaking night. We have worked with literally the majority of Everyone’s favorite MCs. We still have a few more things to get but our history has been really great.
How did you find your way into Web3 and what triggered your curiosity?
It was an interesting internal conversation. It was as if a voice inside me was speaking to me. I was crazy about what was going on in the world regarding COVID and quarantine. I’ve built my entire career on live events and film production, and I kind of freaked out.
The next thoughts were, how can I get around this? How can I prevent what could potentially be the next pandemic? I researched and adopted a futuristic mindset. That inner voice asked me how I would apply this to my career as everything changed. That’s what pushed me to be more futuristic.
I was always early, but I was challenged because when you are too early, when the industry and markets are ready, sometimes you may not be around to reap the benefits. I wanted to be more “on time” rather than too soon. My inner voice made me think even further, like twenty years ahead so you can really understand what’s coming.
So you can prepare for it and so you can prepare your community for it. After an internal meeting to discuss a potential NFT release, I realized that this should be a broader conversation with the community. We began to invite more and more people to this call, and for a year and five months later We have the $BARS token and the Lyricist Lounge DAO.
What do you want to achieve with LLDAO this year? What does the next two years look like?
This year it’s about finishing our Rap Sheet (whitepaper) and releasing at least two collections. A collection of photography celebrating our three decades of history and our Backpackers NFT collection as a way to engage our community. Another key focus is to find a liquidity partner for our $BARS token so that we do everything right.
the next two years, treasure and understand which projects we want to publish. We want to restart Lyricist Lounge TV show and also release Lyricist Lounge Volume III album. In the future, we would love to open a Lyricist Lounge performing arts center surrounded by affordable housing for artists.
Who is the ideal community member for LLDAO? Why? Why?
Someone who puts people first. Someone who is really about the artist first. Someone who wants to be sure of all hip-hop community ok… from artists to executives to producers and anyone else helping to advance this culture. He’s not just in this business for money or alpha. Someone who wants to use the information in the alpha to do good for the community.
The other way didn’t work. We are coming out of a predatory era where people in the music industry are out to make big bucks as quickly as possible. Not being sure that the artist is good. Therefore, it is about attracting like minds so that we can achieve our goals together.
DAOs can be daunting to non-web3 native viewers. How will LLDAO solve the recruitment and access problem?
This is a challenge for all of us. Your first job as a web3 company is to hire as many people as possible. Your second job is to do the particular thing you’re doing, on a parallel path.
A DAO is a cooperative and it’s about a community of friends and family all working towards the same goals. That’s the vibration we want people to get into so they feel available and feel they can do it.
Web3 has the opportunity to redesign systems, processes and relationships. What will LLDAO do for hip hop culture?
My dream is for us to become a self-sustaining and self-sufficient ecosystem, which means I want to design LLDAO and our treasure so that hip hop culture as a whole no longer has to “deal” with a predatory system.
They can directly contact us for help or web3 so they can do it themselves. The idea is that we no longer need these companies that have benefited so much from us. The biggest dream is to have the ability to do things for ourselves. We have the talent and we are the market, so what do we need again?
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Metaverse Methodologist, Connector, and Builder