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Date Minted:  May 31, 2021 (on Ethereum)

Artist Description: RAREPEPE Card "DJPEPE" Series 4, Card 29 Rarity: 1/169. Issued in 2016, this NFT that lives on the bitcoin blockchain is the first-ever NFT with sound attached. Redeem this vault on via its seedphraee (accessible after claim) to access the audio feature. Issued by DJPEPE (@djpepe_ on Twitter) in 2016. DJPEPE is the alter Ego of DJ J-Srilla aka RARE SCRILLA aka Scrilla Ventura, the prolific blockchain-artist and RAREPEPE OG. Gem Mint Vintage NFT. View contents of NFT by expanding Properties Below and at Emblem.Finance 👇 View this NFT on Emblem.Finance XCP Explorer: 1yXMLYaiB2GLhR9XSnUGVN56FDXHE4bzz

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

“"You couldn't live with your own failure. And where did that bring you? Back to me” —Thanos, Avengers: Endgame (2019).

And it’s this quote I think of every time I see a RarePepe card, every time the crypto art world again produces or coalesces around its original icon, the almighty Green Frog and the cavalcade of weird, wacky ways he’s been immortalized throughout the last 6-7 years. RarePepes, originally minted onto a version of the the Bitcoin blockchain ( some still are), preceded almost every major development in crypto art culture, whether that means the minting of Cryptopunks in 2017, or DADA’s release of their Creeps & Weirdos collection that same year, two events which we can probably point to as progenitors of the PFP meta and artist royalty conversation respectively. And yet, RarePepe was there first. The piece we have before us today, the inimitable DJPEPE, was originally minted into the Bitcoin ecosystem in 2016, part of that initial wave of RarePepe mints, though the copy in the Museum’s collection is a wrapped version of the token on the Ethereum blockchain. The RarePepe world was one full of firsts, and DJPEPE, created by RarePepe OG and IRL DJ, DJ Scrilla, is “the first-ever NFT with sound-attached,” according to Scrilla’s Artist Description. And indeed, the history of DJPEPE, as is the case with many piece of its ilk, is as important as the actual aesthetics of the thing, with the former demonstrating why the pieces with staying power have what staying power they do, and the latter being more about eliciting a laugh than aspiring to some abstract kind of aesthetic beauty. The ethos of the RarePepe, the meme-adjacent qualities it represents, the irreverence and self-obsession, the comedic overtones, all vital in ultimately shaping the trajectory of crypto art, and shaping the sensibilities of some of crypto art’s greatest contributors as well. DJPEPE is a hallowed expression of the RarePepe soul, and when looking into it, we should keep in mind that the soul in question wears a cheeky smile. To miss that is to miss the whole point of the thing. 

So, yeah, this shit is hilarious, huh? There’s something so beautiful about the way RarePepe culture has taken the aesthetic archetype of a tabletop card game (Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, Yugioh), something which my love of as a child revealed my dorkiness, and made it, well, cool. That kind of shared, nostalgic, nerd-dom is part of the heart that beats through RarePepes as a whole, and DJPEPE too. It’s there in the picture on the card’s upper third, the black-and-white DJ booth, complete with triple turntables, upon which DJPEPE, his skin bright green and his eyes same-sidedly flounder-like, makes beats. The hat turned to the right, the silly red-lipped expression, and the description underneath it: In a place where a Magic the Gathering card might say something like “Race: Orc” or provide another fantastical descriptor, DJPEPE reads “100% Steal yer Girl 100%.” Below that, Scrilla has listed DJPEPE’s available moveset, for use in any future battle. Moves include “Ability to stay awake for days” “Worthless during the daytime” and “Strong hands.” But most importantly, as denoted by the big bold red letters, DJPEPE takes “NO REQUESTS.”

But the thing about DJPEPE is the thing about all RarePepes, which is that it’s less important for its own admittedly-hilarious merit, and more important for what it means to the time in which it was created, and to the culture in which it exists. Not only is this a quality shared with Trash Art —an individual contribution to overall Trash Art culture is almost always more important than any individual Trash Art piece— but there would eventually be a great crossover of artists who dabble in both spaces, something that seems unavoidable what with the sensibilities the two submovements share. The meme-centric nature of both spaces is paramount, the way the initial image —whether of Pepe the frog or of a trash can— is itself the canvas and the art tool, and its presence in a given piece elevates that piece into a certain specific echelon, endears it to its brethren, and expands the form. I certainly do not want to diminish the individually historic aspects of DJPEPE —”By owning a DJPEPE card, you were able to click on the digital card and ‘BONUS’ text would appear. It would take you to a private soundcloud page of exclusive tunes by Scrilla and some of his degenerate pals” reads a Medium article DJ Scrilla wrote about DJPEPE— and we should note that audio NFTs, though they really have not even still caught the cultural zeitgeist as visual NFTs have, will owe a great debt of gratitude to what DJ Scrilla invented within the RarePepe field. But the great strength of the RarePepe community is the great weakness of each individual Pepe, and that is that they will always be more important and relevant for what they are en masse than what they are individually. Still, DJPEPE ascends the Mt. Rushmore of Pepe cards by a wide variety of metrics, one of a few such cards that can claim that kind of ability.

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