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Published By : Seth “Digital Crates” Barmash in

Dot Hip Hop LLC offers the Hip Hop community a chance to claim and own their online presence by registering their own .HipHop domain name

Domain extensions (i.e. .org, .com, .biz) are often viewed as simple punctuation at the end of a website address. But they are more than just a label. They are a digital asset, a digital brand, and a valuable digital space. Dot Hip Hop, LLC, a domain name registry that manages the Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) extension .HipHop, is giving everyone in the Hip Hop community a chance to claim their place online and contribute to the culture, with access to .HipHop domains.

As the Hip Hop community celebrates 50 years of transforming global culture, it’s the perfect time to kick off a new online era. An era when the communities of Hip Hop regain control of their culture.

“Before meeting the domaining experts on our team, I had no clue that any one person or group could hold the right to operate a domain extension such as ‘.com’; something so quintessential to the entire internet’s functionality,” says Ajene Watson, Managing Director of Dot Hip Hop, LLC. “Then I came to learn that one of these domain extensions was .HipHop. It immediately became a matter of duty for me, because if there were ever a time and space for my culture to reclaim its birthright, it would be right now through the ownership of Hip Hop online and in the digital world.”

Dot Hip Hop is the combined brainchild of several experts in the domain name industry, along with a bonafide child of Hip Hop culture.

Monte Cahn, a seasoned master of the domain name business, identified a unique opportunity to secure the .HipHop domain extension. Monte then recruited the domain name registry legal and operations expert, Jeffrey Neuman. Neuman’s initial role was to manage the very difficult task of getting the transfer of the .HipHop domain extension to Cahn approved by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”)—the legal body responsible for the allocation of Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) extensions such as .HipHop.

Unexpected happenstance required Monte to identify an additional partner. In a twist of fate, just days after establishing Dot Hip Hop, LLC on August 11, 2021, Hip Hop’s recognized birthdate, Cahn was introduced to Ajene Watson, an investor, advisor, and CEO of DigitalAMN. Watson, whose current focus at DigitalAMN is on developing business strategies and platforms to assist everyday people establish and grow transferable wealth, was born on August 11, and grew up in the Bronx neighborhood credited with the birth of Hip Hop.

Under a unique set of circumstances, Cahn and Watson agreed to forge a relationship and within hours of meeting, joined forces to grow and deliver the .HipHop domain extension. Cahn educated Watson on the business potential of the domain naming space, and Watson provided Cahn with personal insight into the importance of putting Hip Hop culture first. With the aid of domain name marketing whiz, Scott Pruitt, Dot Hip Hop, LLC began its campaign to reach key members of both the domain naming and Hip Hop communities to participate in building one of the few, globally cultural domain extensions known to date.

The need for a solid, community-owned online home for Hip Hop is clear. Websites and email addresses matter, and are key business tools and Intellectual Property (“IP”) assets. For creators and businesses, having an active social media presence isn’t enough, as accounts get hacked, platforms control data monetization and social media platforms can get shut down or change policies. The only way creators can ensure they have full control of their content and data, and can monetize their audience is by owning their platform, a valuable part of their IP. Dot Hip Hop aims to build an entire online community and network of .HipHop spaces–all individually owned and operated but belonging and contributing to the larger cultural scene.

Other cultural groups have been recognized by domain names in recent years, such as .gay for LGBTQIA+ content. But Hip Hop, globally, is more than music, transcending nearly all socioeconomic and religious boundaries. It is unique as it’s all-encompassing, embracing music, culture, community, fashion, art, attitude, and more. And it’s big: Global revenue for media, fashion, music, and all the other sides of Hip Hop has added up to more than $19 Billion. It appeals to a diverse demographic worldwide, making up over 33% of streamed content and putting it in first place among musical and dance genres and very close in fashion. It has set the standard for fashion, dance, and pop culture at large.

Yet those at the forefront of creating and currently driving the culture haven’t had enough of an ownership stake or a say in its future.

“I believe, if a group is given the opportunity to control its foundation, it can maintain it,” states Monte Cahn, Dot Hip Hop Managing Director. “Registering domain names, in addition to providing a valuable digital asset through content, has the potential to spark participation, ownership, and a sense of pride in belonging to the Hip Hop community.”

Dot Hip Hop aims to turn the .HipHop extension into a uniting force for the community, where the community writes its own destiny. Furthering this mission of empowerment, the Dot Hip Hop team is developing plans to forward education workshops teaching the community how to research, analyze, buy, and sell domain names (i.e. digital real estate). It’s also creating digital tools that help creators regain control of their data and IP and easily connect their .HipHop addresses to digital wallets and other aspects of blockchain and Web3. And lastly, .HipHop is working with initiatives and organizations that support Hip Hop culture, to drive a portion of its revenue back into the communities of Hip Hop. From housing to scholarships for higher education, to caring for elder founders that contributed greatly to the “pillars” of Hip Hop, Dot Hip Hop, LLC is committed to financially supporting viable solutions for socioeconomic advancement throughout the communities of Hip Hop.

“At a business level, .HipHop is about selling domain registrations; that’s how money is made!” explains Watson. “At a human level, however, it’s about the betterment of society. We believe that by offering ownership of Hip Hop through equity and education on digital real estate, and by reclaiming control of Hip Hop’s online identity and community endeavors worldwide, Hip Hop will re-find its purpose as an extended voice of the 60’s movement, which ultimately wasn’t aimed simply at freedoms for Black Americans, but for the greater observance of love, peace, unity and prosperity amongst all people. Look at how far the culture of Hip Hop has come, only to realize we were kinda lost. But now with .HipHop, maybe…, just maybe, we’re finally found.”

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