“So we can all touch the world.” Champ Medici felt web3 was meaningful enough to drop a promising sports career. Now an influential collector, community builder, and investor, he tells Culture3 why he wants to build a legacy in web3 that inspires everyone to touch the world. Léa Emery writes the story.
In 2018, Cordell Broadus was at a crossroads. After turning his back on a potentially lucrative career in the NFL, the man better known in web3 as Champ Medici, Snoop Dogg’s son, cleared a route of his own — finding the crossroads of technology, real estate, and entrepreneurship. He found a place to fully integrate his interdisciplinary passions on the blockchain, where fashion, film, and music “cross-pollinate at the highest level.”
For Champ, web3 is a place where an ethos around access and opportunity converges with his artistic and entrepreneurial passions. In fact, seeing how traditional banks could perpetuate prejudice helped him realise the power of web3 to equalise opportunity. “Sometimes when my mom wants to pull out some money, everything is suspicious,” he explains.
“She’s a Black woman. All the things that come with that, like 'why do you want this large amount of money?'... They didn’t really want to help me. I felt like I couldn’t do anything. Seeing how this side (crypto) works, everything is in your control. You don’t have to wait. They’re not closed on Sundays. They don’t have attitudes when you ask questions.”
“Now I’m a genius? I just did the research.”
— Champ Medici
A keen learner with a curious mind, his journey into crypto started with research. “I did a little bit here, a little bit there, and got more familiar with it, because I started to notice it’s just like the stock market. I didn’t know about the stock market, but that same year I was learning about it. So when I was introduced to cryptocurrency by Nipsey a year later, it was like, ‘oh, this is stocks’ – but it’s much faster. It’s decentralised. It’s on the blockchain. It’s the future of digital currency.”
His understanding of the space has helped him become one of its biggest advocates — and architects. Despite beginning to break through in his sports career with UCLA, he was determined to find his own way and quit American football in 2016. Instead, he explains that he wanted to pursue a career that “felt like me." And the former four-star recruit found a natural home in web3, first as a student, and then an onboarder and navigator for his friends and family.
“When all that started to become more mainstream, everybody was like, ‘Go talk to Cordell ; he’s been telling us about it for years',” he says, adding “I was talking to myself (about web3) for two years, until NFTs became famous. Now I’m a genius? I just did the research. It’s all on YouTube. It’s all in front of you. You can go read these articles. You can go on Ethereum.org and figure out what all that means. I’m a student first, so it was always fun for me to learn new knowledge.”
The discovery and self-education required to succeed in web3 was an energising opportunity for a man who was never comfortable in the structured, teacher-led classroom setting. “I didn’t really like learning schoolwork, but I was always into finance, tech, film, fashion. I was always learning.”
“You have to see what it is before it becomes what it’s going to be.”
— Champ Medici
Aware of his position as the son of his famous father, it’s clear he’s willing to work hard to stand on his own merits and earn his place at the table. “I’m here to get to the next level. The next door. This right here is a key to get to the next room, because me being Snoop Dogg’s son is going to get me in the room, but who I am is going to keep me in the room.”
Champ has certainly led his own path in the space, beyond deserving credit for bringing Snoop into the space. He's also helped build their partnership with Clay Mates on Cardano as well as helping the likes of Jeff Bezos and Tommy Hilfiger engage in crypto. His pitch? "I tell everybody it’s your own risk if you’re going to jump into it, but it’s also a risk if you don’t. Look at Disney when they started in the '50s and they first went public. How many people didn’t invest that wish they did later down the line, because now there’s amusement parks and movies. Now it’s all that. But you have to see what it is before it becomes what it’s going to be."
Yet he's also inspired by the blossoming entrepreneurship, grit, and recognition of fellow creatives creating their own path for themselves and their communities. It's something that he recognises from the early days of hip-hop. “The reason why I say (NFTs) feel like hip-hop is because every time I’m at these conferences, or I’m at these NFT weeks, whenever I’m on the streets, people come up to me like it’s a mixtape,” he explains.
“‘Look at my NFT. This is what I do. My name is this, I go by this’” and I’m like, ‘Yo, this is rap shit. You’re coming up to me with your rap name, you’re coming up to me with your product, your style is on point.’ I wasn’t even born until ’97 so I don’t know what hip-hop was like when it first started.
“I was always learning.”
— Champ Medici
"But when I look at the footage, and I see people in New York, see Biggie on the corner freestyling, and my dad in Long Beach freestyling with Nate Dogg and Warren G, I’m like ‘Yo this is the same shit we’re doing with NFTs’. I’m linking up with artists, graphic designers, and creative people to come up with a concept that can keep people entertained and engaged. That’s the same as making music.”
And it’s that boundless passion for creativity, for recognising and rewarding talent, that makes web3 such an ideal fit for Champ. He sees its potential as a space for everyone, and, perhaps more importantly, is willing to help people get there, from friends and family to other enthusiasts and adopters.
“Whenever I’m at conferences, I’m not in the VIP area. I make sure I’m in the crowd, I make sure I’m on the street, and places where you can touch me and ask me questions. Yeah, I’m creative and I have a platform, but it’s not really about me, it’s about we.”
Although the space can seem intimidating from the outside, he’s adamant there’s something for everyone — you just have to be willing to take the leap. “Get in the environment so you can start to really tap into your senses and see what makes sense. Every business CEO and every brand is jumping and going this way.” Almost with a sense of disappointment, he adds, “why aren’t the people?”
Matching actions to his words, Champ is keen to back the builders working to make web3 mainstream through his fund Welcome to the Block. Partnered with Gushcloud, a technology-driven talent and media company, he explains that “we essentially want to get behind people who look like ourselves, finding new builders and new creators in this space.”
Already a sizable investor in web3, with Yuga Labs, MoonPay, and Sound.xyz amongst the companies in his portfolio, Champ is looking to support “Anybody that I feel is a game-changer.” He is also keen to elevate under-represented leaders in web3. “If I can find a startup, or find a very intuitive innovator – a Black woman, an Asian woman, a Black man, or an Asian man – then that’s where we’re going to go with it because I’m tired of being the only Black man in the room.”
It’s clear that Champ is ready to elevate innovators and creatives, helping them find a path as meaningful as his. As someone who walked away from neatly wrapped career paths to find his own way, he understands the nourishment that creatives need. “I was like ‘there’s gotta be another way’, because that doesn’t talk to my soul. Yeah, I can catch touchdowns and do rap songs, but that doesn’t touch me.”
In web3, with his continually expanding vision across culture, fashion, and technology, it is clear that Champ has found an arena that talks to his soul. His holistic vision has not only fostered his family and collaborators’ understanding of web3, but it also keeps him looking to the future.
For Champ, success, entrepreneurship, and unchecked creativity are not just about today’s success — Welcome to the Block is also about building and fostering a legacy. “It’s about family generational wealth so we can pass this shit down to my kids' kid’s kids. So they know Snoop Dogg was a hell of a businessman and a rapper, not just a rapper. Why can’t I be a doctor? Why can’t I be a lawyer? It’s because this is how society views us. Trying to take this journey is so we can get a different line of representation, and young kids that aren’t as fortunate as me can start early to get to this point.
"I got lucky starting at seventeen, eighteen years old and having finances around me and not having to worry about a lot of things that other Black teenagers have to worry about, which is why I feel like I was able to get to this point. I know life is real. I want to show others you can start younger than me. If you believe in something, do that shit now. If your parents don’t believe it, show them through other people, and it’ll all make sense later down the line.”
And that vision is why he is so unwavering in his dedication and commitment to the space — ready to help elevate whoever is willing to jump in with him. “By me doing this, it encourages the next person who looks like me, or someone who doesn’t look like me, to do something like this so we can all touch the world, and everybody can come to this space.”
“It encourages the next person to do something like this so we can all touch the world.”
— Champ Medici
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