Gregory Poe, also known as Illmac, short for Illmaculate, is an American battle rapper, scribble Jam champion, 2x WRC champion and one of battle rap’s well known legends. While he is known for his various rap battles (108 of which have been catalogued to be exact), he is now combining his love of battle rap and cartoon with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to bring a unique and creative artform to his supporters and the battle rap community
The History of Rap Off
In 2017, Illmac got the idea to create battle rap cartoons. While he admits that a lot of clever writing, skill, and manipulation of language goes into writing battle rap, Illmac admits that one thing hinders growth – people getting offended. His solution to this was to use cartoons because no condiment will get offended.
Bringing the idea to fruition wasn’t easy but Illmac had a lot of help from colleagues and supporters who helped him get the project started. At the Rap Off event, Illmac mentioned that he looked at many different animators, but found the perfect one when he discovered an animator who was also a fan and battle rap enthusiast.
The Rap Off Journey
While the vision for Rap Off was always there, the journey was far from easy. The original project took over a year to draw, and producing the animation independently was expensive. The Ketchup vs. Mustard rap battle was launched in 2018 and was massively successful. In fact, it exceeded 30 million views across multiple platforms. Since then, the Dog vs. Cat rap battle and the Mustard freestyle have been well-received by the community and have gone viral.
However, these were only rap battles. Illmac had a vision that involved an actual show with different characters and story arcs. He wanted to build this world and incorporate rap battles within the show. He went the traditional Hollywood route and secured a development deal with a major studio. While all of this looked great at first, differences of opinion and creative license led to the parties going their own ways.
Combining Battle Rap and NFTs
Illmac emphasized the importance of wanting the show to stay true to battle rap and the characters being voiced by battle rappers. He cited it as one of the main reasons the deal with the studio didn’t work out. That’s when he was approached and pitched making the characters NFT collectibles. While he was initially hesitant, he then embraced the idea, and said, “It’s not just making money. It’s putting battle rappers in the writer’s room.”
One of the main aspects that Illmac emphasized was that he didn’t want the project to be like other NFTs where the money was taken first, and the product was developed later. That’s why 2-3 cartoons were out ahead of time. This way, people could see the final product and determine whether they wanted to be a part of it. He also compared it to platforms like Patreon and Kickstarter – instead of simply providing funding, participants will own a piece of the Rap Off world and get other benefits like including their characters in the show.
Rap Off sets off the NFT battle with their headlining match Bored Ape vs CryptoPunk. Voiced by battle rappers, illmac & B-Dot
The Fridge is open
You can go to Rapoff.xyz and own a piece of the history. The generative art collection. The “Fridge” is the first drop of a 2-part limited edition 10,000 piece NFT collection. It features 5,000 digital collectibles showcasing 3 characters from our genesis cartoon: Ketchup, Mustard and Butter (free the homie).
By having battle rap enthusiasts funding the project, Illmac declared that the project would get to stay independent and remain true to the original vision. Additionally, funding the series this way adds a layer of transparency Illmac believes is essential.
Overall, Illmac and his team have gathered some of the top battle rappers and created engaging content that benefits both them and their fans. By creating the Rap Off series, he is transforming the NFT space while also funding a passion project. We can’t wait to see where this goes!
Some new characters will be announced soon and without giving too much of a spoiler…we know that Butter, who’s doing life in the box, was once upon a time a 3x Champion Of The Year
New Character unlocked.
Article Cover Art Credits to Bum Nitty