Eminem and Snoop Dogg performed their new single (which features two Bored Ape Yacht Club avatars, each owned by Slim Shady and the Doggfather) in a Yuga Labs Metaverse during this year’s MTV’s Video Music Awards. And what a lot of excitement it has created! The duo performed their new song “From the D to the LBC” in a metaverse game environment made by Yuga Labs, creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The event aired during the MTV Video Music Awards, making the performance the first NFT-related metaverse performance and footage to be aired on live TV.

Commentary on the event has gone ape-wild. The exciting part is a first attempt to merge the live and Metaverse live experiences. Anyone who has seen the without graphics footage would see the “reality” of physical performance capture (off stage) with avatars appearing in the Metaverse footage being shown onscreen in the auditorium. Many commentators though are talking about this as the next stage in live performance – as one commentator I saw suggested, why watch The Rolling Stones as they are now if you can see them performing in the Metaverse “looking good, looking fresh”. Maybe a little early for that but it certainly is an area with a lot of creators, rights owners and brands keeping a close eye.

On the other hand, lots of questions also. Does it leave room for the indie creator or are we seeing the commercial colonization of the Metaverse by corporate attachment? Or does the Metaverse become something akin to a giant billboard?

And of course the graphics quality has come under a lot of scrutiny. Yuga Labs’ metaverse, the Otherside, is still a work in process, “phase one” of a development process that will eventually allow Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT holders to play as their ape avatars in an interoperable metaverse environment. Yuga Labs describes the Otherside as a “gamified, interoperable metaverse [that] blends mechanics from massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and web3-enabled virtual worlds.” In the performance, Eminem and Snoop Dogg start off in the flesh, sitting on a sofa, with Snoop holding what appears to be a large joint. The duo are then transported into an animated environment which was viewed onscreen in the venue. And the graphics quality here has been pretty heavily criticized online for what fans described as being poor and outdated.

Part of what makes this project so interesting though is how the individual owners of NFTs are enabled in terms of granting licence to use an image or images they own rights to in ways we have not seen before. Following their MTV Video Music Awards performance, Snoop Dogg and Eminem sold memorabilia under the name Ape Editions, in other words they found a new way to take advantage of the IP rights associated with owning their avatars. For sure, more of this to follow.

Eminem and Snoop Dogg shared a version of their recent collaboration ‘From The D 2 The LBC’ that saw them mix in-person performance with digital technology. The appearance was organised in partnership with Yuga Labs – an NFT and cryptocurrency company best known for the Bored Apes project – and was inspired by “the world of the Otherside metaverse”.