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Mixtape by Mike Shinoda
Released December 1, 2021 (Presale)
December 2, 2021 (Public Sale)
December 3, 2021 (Main Version)
Recorded 2020-2021
Length 6:45
Label Kenji Kobayashi Productions
Producer Mike Shinoda
Mike Shinoda chronology

Cognition (2021) Ziggurats (2021)

"Ziggurats" (stylized as "ZIGGURATS") is an "generative mixtape + art" release by Mike Shinoda that was released publicly on Friday, December 3, 2021.


The website for "Ziggurats" (ziggurats.xyz) says, "ZIGGURATS is the first generative NFT mixtape. It is a collection of 5000 unique audio + visual NFTs on the Tezos chain, generated from new art and music by Mike Shinoda. Visually and musically, no two items are the same, but some are more rare. The initial price of each NFT will be 15 Tezos (XTZ)."

It adds, "In ancient Mesopotamia, the Ziggurat was a tall, layered, structure. It was believed that the Gods lived in the temple at the top. Great care, effort, and creativity went into the creation of its complex structure. Likewise, this project is built upon layers of effort and devotion, some elements many years in the making."

The website says about "generative art": "This is when the artist intentionally includes randomness as part of the creative process. It creates a sort of lottery or sale, where neither the collector nor the artist knows the exact end result. Make the match even more exciting! With NFTs, most artists will ensure each minted piece is totally unique."

On November 11, 2021, after teasing an upcoming release over the previous few weeks, Mike said in his Discord channel (and later via email to fans), "I thought I'd give you an update on the music project I've been working on. I keep writing and deleting things to say about it, because it's different enough that the usual descriptions might be misleading. I've described it to some people as a "song that's not a song." But it's also an EP that's not an EP, an NFT that's not an NFT, and an art project that's more than just a picture.

When I started seeing projects like CryptoPunks and Bored Apes, I liked the idea of a program taking elements and mixing-and-matching to create different outputs. Creating collectible pieces - each one unique. But I wanted to do it with music.

Thankfully, I've created a lot of material this past few years. I started sifting through all of the beats and sketches I've made, looking for connections between them. Similar tempos, similar keys, cool parts. All the best bits got poured into one long session. The track ended up feeling like some of the 90s hip hop I grew up on, so I decided to start writing some verses.

The outcome is a six and a half minute musical project, made of layers. The vocals are the same on each output, but the music and cover art are unique. For those that want to own one, they will be available as a Tezos NFT. For those who just want to listen, a unique version will be available on streaming services."

Mike in an interview with AltWire[1] said, "It's [Ziggurats] is a music project, first and foremost. If you only want to listen to it on your streaming service, you can on December 3rd. But if you want to experience the magic of owning the NFT, here’s what it is: Ziggurats is a collection of 5000 mini-mixtapes, each almost 7 minutes long, each one with unique music and unique cover art. The vocals are the same on all, but the music and the artwork is built from layers, made by me, assembled in unique combinations so that no two are alike. And some are more rare than others—in fact, I handmade 5 special versions with art that isn’t made from layers at all, they are five completely unique images. Those are the most rare.

When you “mint” one (meaning you buy it on release day from Ziggurats.xyz) you will receive something that feels like an unopened baseball card. Nobody will know which image and track they’ve got until everything is sold out. Then, all at once, the NFTs will reveal and you’ll get to see what yours looks like.

I know there are a lot of fans who are curious about NFTs but haven’t tried it yet. So I designed this release to be an easy “first NFT.” There are multiple blockchains, this release is on the Tezos. To get one, you’ll need a crypto wallet like Temple or Kukai, and you’ll need about 16 Tez, which is about $100 US dollars. I suggest being ready on the website the moment they go live, because they might sell out quickly. All the info will be on my socials, Ziggurats.xyz, and on discord.gg/mikeshinoda leading up to the launch."

On Twitter, he explained "I chose Tezos because it’s a green blockchain, and I could keep the costs low for fans."[2]


On November 16, 2021, Mike tweeted a teaser video of the first 15 seconds of Ziggurats.[3] On November 19, he tweeted, "New music and art on the way: ZIGGURATS is coming December 3rd to streaming services and Tezos blockchain."[4] And on the 20th, a second teaser video was posted.[5]

Mike on November 23 announced the following along with a release date schedule, "ZIGGURATS is a music+art release, available as NFT & on streaming. The NFTs are in "profile pic" style. When you mint one, you get a randomly generated character as your "album cover." Here are some closeups of some of the possibilities."[6]

The release schedule for "Ziggurats" is as follows, as announced by Mike:

12/1 (this Wed.) - NFT presale at 10am PST, limit 1 per wallet (15 Tez)

12/2 (Thurs) - NFT public sale at 10am PST, limit 3 per wallet

12/3 - Mixtape goes live on all streaming platforms

Over 700 editions were sold during the presale, with a whitelist of 1347 wallets made from people who got a previous NFT by Mike, plus family and friends. Public sale went sold out within 25 minutes.

On November 30, 2021, Mike previewed the first one and a half minutes of the release on Twitch.[7]

After the release on December 2, Mike tweeted: "I'm thrilled to see all the beautiful #ZIGGURATS out in the world an in people's Twitter profiles. Thank you. A couple notes below, about variety, identity, and community. To see and hear all the variety in the pieces, the best place to go is https://ziggurats.xyz/#/gallery. There, you can shop for one that speaks to you and fits in your price range. Or, if you're not interested in buying, you can just browse to collection and enjoy the art. One thing I hadn't mentioned before is: while making the art, I loved mixing and matching bodies and faces to create different identities. They can read as male, female, non-binary...whatever you think they look like, that's what they are... this way, I hoped to allow different people to buy something that spoke to them in a way that other collections hadn't. I also decided to make the skin colors non-human, so that human race didn't apply. All of those things said, I hope you got something you connected with, and I hope you enjoy the project. Make sure to use it as your profile pictures! #ZIGGURATS is already out on streaming services in some parts of the world, will be available worldwide tomorrow. Best, -m"[8]

The drop for Ziggurats happened in three phases. There was a December 1st "whitelist" release, a general public debut on December 2nd, and a streaming service debut on December 3rd. For those unfamiliar with whitelists: it’s a presale limited to a specific group of people. In this case: existing holders of an MS Tezos NFT. This whitelist was already generated from previous MS NFT drops, and occurred on December 1st. The public drop of Ziggurats was a massive success and sold out within minutes. For those who were not successful in obtaining Ziggurats when Shinoda first dropped it on December 2nd, many Ziggurats NFTs are now being listed on Objkt. At least one of the 'rare' copies was listed quickly afterwards.

Late in the evening on December 3, Mike annotated all four tracks on Genius, as he has done with previous releases for One More Light, Post Traumatic, and more.[9]


Like all of Mike Shinoda's NFTs, "Ziggurats" is released strictly for personal use. The terms read:

"Only limited personal non-commercial use and resale rights in the NFT are granted and you have no right to license, commercially exploit, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform, or publicly display the NFT or the music or the artwork therein. All copyright and other rights are reserved and not granted."[10]

Mike further elaborated on a Twitter thread:

"Sure! It’s OK to use your ziggurat audio as a social media post and/or profile picture. Just no “commercial use,” which basically means NFT owners don’t have the right to sell products using the art and music—I make that decision. (more below)

One thing I’ve really come to realize is that each project needs the space to define their own usage rules. The makeup of each projects varies, so the way people can use/share it has to be allowed to vary.

Anyone who says “buying an NFT should (always) mean I buy the commercial rights” needs to realize that *takes* from the artist, which is kinda the opposite of what the movement is about. I don’t support that as a default rule—but it’s fine if that’s what the artist wants to do.

I retain commercial rights on my work. And if there’s a large commercial project that wants to use a specific ziggurat (for example, maybe the ziggurat owner is part of a film or tv show), they would have to license it through me. So what happens next? (cont.)

If I licensed it, that NFT’s audio could become (some amount) more popular, so maybe the NFT itself might become more valuable. It could also make the whole collection somewhat more valuable as well.

Anyway, just food for thought. I won’t be responding below, but you’re free to have your discussions if you like."[11]


Main Version

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 Genius Bar Mike Shinoda 2:21
2 Richard Bachman Shinoda 1:23
3 Cheat Codes Shinoda 0:41
4 Ctrl C Ctrl V Shinoda 2:17


  • 5000 different versions exist, each with the same vocals and duration but unique instrumental and artwork.


External Links