Taking diehard fandom to new levels, some “private American collector” just recently dropped some serious coin on Wu-Tang Clan's one-of-a-kind album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Auctioned off by Paddle8, the album's final selling price currently remains a mystery, however, what is known is that the offer exceeds the $5 million one that was proposed earlier this year.
Produced by RZA and Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh in Marrakech, Morocco, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin includes unreleased music recorded by various Wu-Tang members over a six-year period. The 31-track double LP is packaged in a hand-carved nickel silver box designed by British-Moroccan artist Yahya, along with a leather-bound book filled with the album's lyrics as well as each song's respective meaning, a gold-leafed certificate of authenticity and a pair of PMC MB2-XBD speakers worth over $55,000.
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin has been masked in secrecy since RZA announced its existence in 2014, which is confirmed by the album's strict copyright that restricts the owner from sharing the music for another 88 years. When the year 2103 comes around, “It will still be [the owner's] choice at that [point] to release it or not release it,” Cilvaringz previously stated.
While we may never know what Once Upon a Time in Shaolin's contents are, at least we can see the exclusive album make a cameo in Skrillex's Nabil Elderkin-directed video for "Fuck That" below.
[UPDATE] Bloomberg recently revealed that the buyer of the multi-million dollar album is in fact Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive infamous for hiking the price of a critical anti-parasitic drug called Daraprim by 5,000%. While initial reports claimed the sale price was $5 million, the latest estimate comes in at $2 million.
In addition to winning the bid for the album, Shkreli was also given the opportunity to have lunch with RZA. “We didn’t have a ton in common,” he says. “I can’t say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him.”
RZA later made a statement to Bloomberg saying that some of the proceeds from the sale will go to charity: “The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”
Given the revelation of the coveted album's unworthy owner - a fact we're positive Wu-Tang aren't happy about - one can hope that the crew will leak Once Upon a Time in Shaolin so that real fans can actually enjoy it too.