Picture This — Famed Hip Hop Photog Ernie Paniccioli Pulling the Trigger on his first NFT Drop — Whose Image Will it Be?

Jerry Ashton
3 min readSep 14, 2021
Cornell University Archives — Ernie Paniccioli

Ernie Paniccioli, named as the Let’s Rethink This Inaugural Impact Artist to celebrate his lifetime of achievements and his historic role in capturing the world of Hip Hop from its very birth — and birthplace — is fulfilling the promise he made on July 21 of this year.

He is dropping his first-ever NFT (Non-Fungible Token) to pay tribute to the artist he has selected as well as confirm this new medium as where “artists of all mediums need to get involved.” Why? “We need to put our work out on an auction channel like Open Sea and elsewhere to get experience as well as earn from our work in a way we might never have imagined,” Ernie declares.

“Economically, it expands the artist’s ability to survive…and for the first time ever benefit from residual revenue should their art be sold and resold again (each sale includes a stipulation that a percentage on each sale is paid to the artist even when sold by new purchasers).

Ever the humanitarian, Ernie expands the conversation to include how NFT’s and the revenues they generate can be used by artists to “give back to their community, to solve things. To rethink them. A donation of even a small share in the sale of a digitized piece is helpful, but it does something more important — it brings awareness of the problem.”

Which foremost Hip Hop artist pic will be auctioned?

Let’s understand the difficulty of this selection. Check out the Cornell University Library Digital Collection which is an archive of Brother Ernie’s work — nearly 20,000 photographs!

It describes the importance of this collection. “The digital collection features examples of his most important work, including in-depth coverage of artists such as LL Cool J, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Salt N Pepa, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, MC Lyte, KRS-One, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, De La Soul, X Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Ice Cube, Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, Guru, Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim, Jay-Z, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Big Pun, Lauren Hill, Lil’ Wayne, 50 Cent, Nas, and Tupac Shakur, to name only a few.”

Jerry Ashton

Navy Journalist veteran, co-creator of RIP Medical Debt and founder of Let’s Rethink This — here to take names and you-know-what.