ABJO – Barely Situated

By Chad
January 28, 2022
Image: @abjonian

I’m writing less about the banger today and more about where I found it. Sound.xyz is an NFT platform and particularly slick execution of the music monetization model we’ve been talking up since our literal first issue.

Basically, you can pay for a stake in a song when it first drops. In this case, you don’t get a cut of the royalties. (Apparently promise of future profits in crypto projects is greatly frowned upon.) But you do get:

  1. a special edition MP3 NFT that says you were there first;
  2. to leave a comment, although it’ll get replaced if you ever resell your stake; and…
  3. friends with similar music taste you’ve paid to aquire, which, in the status economy, is of equal or greater value, I guess?
All in all, 0.1eth (~$250) sounds a little steep for shit you can basically do on Soundcloud for free, but there’s a reason the Ghost of Christmas Future scared Scrooge straight, no? Besides, I think the real draw is supporting cool artists, and without a doubt it’s an excellent platform for creators. There are scheduled ‘listening parties’ for each new drop, and every song released so far has sold out within hours. 

ABJO, a San Diego rapper, raised 5eth (~$12k) off ‘Barely Situated’, a song ‘he came up with literally days ago’ and dropped yesterday. It’s not really my taste — a mellow jazz rap banger flowing with frantic wordplay and dizzying non sequiturs by a self-described ‘cannabis enthusiast’, which shows. The vocals are bedded a little too deep, but for the most part, the production is pretty crisp for purposeful lo-fi. 

My KC boys should peep, because this guy could murder a Dreezy beat. Or, at least, slide in his DMs, because the first ‘season’ of drops on Sound.xyz is invite only, and it’s not clear how these artists got the call.

I listened to all the most recent songs in the feed, and there’s not a lot of connective tissue, aside from the noisy aesthetic of their vintage-style album art. There’s a range of genres (mostly skewing hip hop and electronic) and locations (mostly skewing major U.S. cities) and while there are a few recognizable names (Pussy Riot, Allan Kingdom, some Diplo production) most have only a few thousand followers, fitting the whole ‘listen to the future’ shtick Sound.xyz’s got going on. 

My best guess is these artists are active in the crypto sphere, or earlier adopters of music NFTs. I wasn’t blown away by any of it musically, but I’d donate an anal gland to get listed on here in a heartbeat. If Sound.xyz’s brief history is anything to go off, it’s a simple way to net $6-12k off a single song, regardless of quality. And it’s a strong argument for minting a few songs from your vault now, in hopes our future tastemaking overlords smile upon you next.


Cas Stone is a story told in essays, posts, ads, audio, visuals, podcasts, novels, someday, naturally, stories.

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