Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (partially found rare Wu-Tang Clan album; 2014)
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a rap album made by the Wu-Tang Clan, famous for their debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers.) The album had two different sides, Shaolin School and Allah School. It was marketed to be the last Wu-Tang sounding album to ever be made and featured every living member of the Wu-Tang Clan during the time. It was recorded in secret for six years, with only one copy of the album pressed, with it being contractually barred from commercial distribution for eighty-eight years (in reference to the Wu-Tang Clan's association with the number 8 and variants thereof); the reason behind this decision was to make it feel more like art from the Renaissance era.
When RZA, the band's lead singer, was asked to talk about what the album was about, he refused to comment. He intended for it to be played all around the country at many different events, but it was instead sold at an auction for $2 million to infamous entrepreneur Martin Shkreli. Despite this, many snippets exist online, albeit it being near impossible to decipher which belongs to what songs.
The album was played for 13 minutes at MoMA PS1 for 154 people on March 2, 2015; however, there were no recordings made of this event, security confiscated attendee's cell phones before the event began. After the event, the album was stored at Royal Mansour Hotel and all backup copies were destroyed. Later on, it was sold at Paddle8 for 2 million dollars to Martin Shkreli, making it the most expensive album ever sold. A significant amount of the money was given to charity.
Martin Shkreli was forced to sign a contract stating he could not commercially exploit the album. He was free to host parties and other events with the song playing or upload it at no charge online or sell physically, until 2103. The only time Shkreli has played the CD at an event was when he played the intro of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin after Donald Trump's win of the 2016 United States presidential campaign.
After Shkreli was found guilty of fraud, he forfeited the album, among other properties, to the United States Justice Department. It is not known what will happen to the album now that it is in the hands of the government. However, it seems that at least two members want the album to be returned to the group. On April 17, 2018, Method Man and Ghostface Killah appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert demanding that US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, give over the album, later jokingly posting on social media that they were teaming up with former FBI Director James Comey (who also appeared as a guest that evening) to get it back.
- A Forbes YouTube video Retrieved 22 Jan '18
- A Forbes article talking about the album Retrieved 22 Jan '18
- A review about the album Retrieved 22 Jan '18
- Another Forbes article talking about the album Retrieved 22 Jan '18
- A news article detailing the sale of the album Retrieved 22 Jan '18
- Article reporting that the album was seized by the US government Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- Article discussing Method Man and Ghostface Killah's appearance on The Late Show Retrieved 21 Apr '18