A brief recap: alongside releasing ‘A Better Tomorrow’ in 2014, Staten Island’s finest had also been working on a second album, ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’.
The one-of-a-kind album, described as “a retrospective soundscape that threads 31 songs, skits, and stories into a 128-minute-long aural screenplay”, comes with its own nickel-plated box and a pair of $55,000 speakers.
It was recently speculated that noted Wu-Tang fan Quentin Tarantino had bought the sole copy. This would have made a lot of sense. But yesterday it was revealed that the new owner is none other than Martin Shkreli, pharmaceutical exec and all-round awful human being.
Earlier this year Shkreli became infamous for hiking the price of AIDS medication Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a pill, a rise of over %5,000. Unsurprisingly, there was plenty of outrage over Shkreli’s decision (and apparent lack of remorse, suggesting any criticism was like asking a basketball player to stop scoring so many points).
Shkreli successfully bid for the Wu-Tang album after attending a private listening session hosted by online art marketplace Paddle8, where he was told by the company’s co-founder Alexander Gilkes that owning it would give him the chance to meet celebrities eager to hear the record. There’s got to be easier ways to make friends, right?
To make matters even worse, Shkreli might not even be bothered to listen to ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’, “unless Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that.”
The deal was apparently agreed upon back in May, before the Daraprim controversy. RZA has now said that a significant portion of the proceeds will go to charity. In case Shkreli was inclined to try and make some of his money back, the album’s 88-year ‘non-commercialisation clause’ prevents him from mass-producing it for sale.
But guess what? There’s a ridiculous clause in the deal that states that the seller can plan one “heist or caper” within the 88-year period to steal back the album from Shkreli, stripping him of the ownership rights with no legal repercussions… although this can only be carried out by “currently active members of the Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray”. Hmm. Could be the greatest team-up since ‘Coffee And Cigarettes’.