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Thread: Once Upon A Time In Shaolin

  1. #16
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    Method recants & Raekwon gets caught in the mix

    There's a vid if you follow the link for both of these.

    Method Man Goes Off On Hip-Hop Media, 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin' And Cilvaringz
    HuffPost Live | By Chris Branch
    Posted: 03/11/2015 6:27 pm EDT Updated: 03/11/2015 6:59 pm EDT

    Method Man is fed up. In a HuffPost Live interview Wednesday, the rapper expressed great frustration with the hip-hop media, excoriating the publications he's harbored some resentment toward for nearly two decades.

    During a conversation about his upcoming movie, "The Cobbler," Meth took his issue with rap media all the way back to the Notorious B.I.G.-Tupac beef, which left both rappers slain and two coastal legions of artists beefing with each other over several years. He particularly pointed out Vibe magazine's role in the conflict because of this 1996 cover. Here's what Meth told host Ricky Camilleri on the matter Wednesday:

    With that East-West crap, Vibe has to take a lot of ... they should've got a bullet. They should've got a bullet instead of Pac or B.I.G. When they put that cover up with B.I.G. and Puff on there, when B.I.G. took that picture, he didn't take that picture thinking East vs. West. He took a picture thinking, "I'm going to be on the cover of Vibe." What came after is what solidified East-West beef for all the dumb mother****ers around that don't know how to think for themselves. Maybe they just don't like West Coast people, maybe they just don't like East Coast people, but that fueled the fire. ... Pac even said himself, "You guys injected yourselves into a beef that was just between me and Bad Boy [Records]." Had nothing to do with nobody else. He said it himself.
    Those frustrations returned this week, as XXL drew Method Man's ire with an article concerning Wu-Tang's mystery-shrouded new album, "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin." The album, produced and masterminded by Wu affiliate Cilvaringz, will only have one physical copy and will be sold to the highest bidder, in the vein of a famous painting. The biggest confusion concerning the album's release, even within the Wu-Tang Clan, concerns the clause that upon buying it, the owner cannot sell it commercially for 88 years.

    Meth was unaware of that stipulation during his XXL interview, and he said the interviewer, Miranda Johnson, gave him "half information" regarding the 88-year clause. In turn, Meth was quoted as saying, "**** that album."

    The information that she gave me was that no one would be able to hear this album for 88 years. I'm like, "Really? What? I don't know what's going on." If RZA had been on point keeping us in the loop on the album, that probably would never have happened. ... She took advantage of that by giving half information. So be it. I live by the quote. I said it. It's there. But what happened to the other eight minutes of the interview about "The Cobbler," and other things I was doing, as far as the business? That portion of the interview went up no later than two hours after I said it.
    Shortly after his quote made the internet rounds, Meth said RZA texted him to clarify the clause, and now all is well between the two. (If you're still confused about the album's unique release, here's RZA's explanation).

    Meth's last target on HuffPost Live was Cilvaringz, who he called a "B-level" Wu-Tang member. Meth said when he recorded his verses for "Shaolin," he felt there was nothing special about the record and that each member who rapped on the album was paid individually for the features. Meth doesn't have a problem with that part, or the album's contents in general; he's peeved at the "gimmicks" along the way, including the 88-year clause.

    Can’t stand Cilvaringz, by the way. ... Basically, I got tired of the questions about the album and not being in the know about what’s going on with the day-to-day things of this. It’s never us coming with the gimmicks. It’s always on the outside, a "B" Wu guy or somebody like that coming with some crap that’s just so gimmicky. It makes you scratch your head and say, ‘Why Wu-Tang?’ when it’s not Wu-Tang. It’s just one individual thinking he knows what’s best and just doing weird stuff, man. I think it’s just crazy weird. Yes, I’m discrediting Cilvaringz, but I’m not discrediting the product. I’m just discrediting him and the way he made his move. I dug it at first, but when they start doing the whole 88-year thing and not explaining it to people, because there are a lot more dumb people than smart people. To a lot of people, it’s saying 88 years, you’re not going to be able to hear this album.
    Considering all the above, Meth says he's done talking to hip-hop media.

    "I’m hanging it up," he said. "I’m not going to name names, but they know who they are. And don’t come and ask me for nothing. Not a quote, nothing."

    Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon speaks out against making fans wait 88 years to hear new album – watch Wu Tang Clan Tickets
    Just one copy of 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin' exists and is expected to make millions at auction

    Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon has responded to criticism of the group's new album from fellow members of the group, and distanced himself from the unorthodox release plan.


    Just one copy of Wu-Tang Clan's mysterious new album, 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin', exists and will be sold to the highest bidder at auction. The music cannot be released by its buyer for public consumption for 88 years. Clan member Method Man recently branded the plan "****ing stupid".

    Speaking to NME in an interview you can watch above, Raekwon agreed with Method Man and said that fans need to hear the album while the people who made it are still alive.

    "****, 88 years is a long ****ing time," Raekwon says. "That’s a long time for people to be able to hear it. That means we won’t be around. What the **** do you want me to say? I don’t know what to say. I think at some point people do need to be able to hear it but you got to remember the concept of it was whatever it was, whoever buys it, it’s yours. You hang it up in your house and you do what you do."

    Wu-Tang Clan play two UK gigs in June 2015 – at London's O2 Academy Brixton and Glasgow's O2 Academy.

    Meanwhile, Raekwon's new solo album, 'FILA', is released on April 27.

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #17
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    Boy some people protest no matter what as if they were automatically entitled to everything in the world. Typical.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  3. #18
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    Masta Killa (Cilvaringz)

    This is starting to feel more and more manipulative now as each Clan member chimes in to get more buzz going.

    Masta Killa Addresses Possible 88-Year Commercial Hold On Wu-Tang Clan's "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin"
    by Danielle Harling
    posted Friday March 13, 2015 at 12:30PM PDT | 16 comments


    Masta Killa Addresses Possible 88-Year Commercial Hold On Wu-Tang Clan's "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin"

    Masta Killa says music as an art has been devalued, speaks on his contributions to "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin."

    Following news that Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin album may not be released for 88 years, members of the Staten Island, New York-based group have come forward to offer their thoughts on the lengthy, commercial hold on the project.

    Method Man referred to the hold as “stupid,” and during a newly-released interview with AllHipHop.com, Masta Killa defended the idea.

    While speaking on the commercial hold, Masta Killa spoke on the value in exclusivity as well as music being devalued as an art in today’s society.

    “I think the only way to establish value in something is for it to be exclusive,” Masta Kill said. “That’s the whole point that I gathered for that particular piece of art. Music is also art, but it’s been devalued because of how it’s looked at now in the industry. Unless you’re positioned a certain way, you’re art’s value – for everything that you pour into to make what you make – is not the real value. The compensation artists now receive for their art is basically nothing. So the only way to establish that value is to be exclusive with something. If I’m not going to be exclusive with it, then what’s going to make this piece of art any different than any other album that you can go buy?”

    During his interview, the New York City wordsmith also spoke on his contributions to Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. According to Masta Killa, he contributed verses to four tracks for the album.

    "I was sent four tracks,” he said. “For each track, I was given a direction. ‘I need two 8s. On this one I need one 16. On this one I need four 4 bars. I need this done by a certain amount of time.’ That’s how I got the instruction for that project. At that time, I didn’t know this was what it would become. That’s what was asked of me, so that’s what I did. I haven’t heard anything since that time.”

    At the top of this month, RZA and producer Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzourgarh announced that Once Upon A Time In Shaolin may possibly be released to the public after 88 years, during an interview with SCLUZAY.

    “Anyone who knows the Wu-Tang Clan knows that we often apply numerology, mathematics and symbolism to the things we do,” RZA said while speaking on the significance of the number 88. “There were 8 original members of the Clan when we made ‘Protect Ya Neck’ and ‘M.E.T.H.O.D Man.’ The individual numbers of this year also add up to the number 8. The broker of this work carries the number 8 in its name. The number 8 on its side is a symbol of infinity, as it was used on our album ‘Wu-Tang Forever’. You can call it mathematical coincidence, but it’s always had great symbolic significance for us.”
    Cilvaringz Responds To Method Man's "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin" Criticism
    by Jay Balfour
    posted Saturday March 14, 2015 at 07:00AM PDT | 16 comments


    Cilvaringz Responds To Method Man's "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin" Criticism

    "I’m surprised he went off on me like that publicly, that’s not really his style," Cilvaringz says.

    Just days after Method Man called out the Hip Hop media and producer Cilvaringz in an interview with Huffington Post, the Wu-Tang Clan affiliated producer has issued a statement in response.

    Earlier this week Method Man sounded off on a XXL journalist following a controversial interview with the site and called out the Hip Hop media more generally for what he hinted are exploitative practices. During the HuffPo interview Meth also threw Cilvaringz under the bus for his part in the Once Upon a Time In Shaolin album roll-out, saying, "It's never us coming with the gimmicks, it's always on the outside, a 'B' Wu guy or somebody like that coming with some crap that's just so gimmicky."

    Issuing a statement to HipHopDX in response, Cilvaringz says he was surprised by Method Man's choice of words.

    "I got nothing but love and respect for Meth," he said. "Dude’s been nothing but cool to me. He’s always been one of the realest dudes I met, so I’m surprised he went off on me like that publicly, that’s not really his style. Then again, he seemed frustrated with a variety of things—he’s right about some things he addressed and I wish communication had been better recently. I take no offense though, hope me and him can get to talk sooner or later."
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #19
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    going once....going twice....

    ...not going at all.

    ERR, NOBODY HAS BOUGHT THAT $5 MILLION WU-TANG CLAN ALBUM YET
    HOLY ****
    By Joe Zadeh



    According to the online auctioneers responsible for the sale, the Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin album, the opulent $5 million objet d’art, of which there is only one copy, has failed to find itself a buyer.

    In a world where ruthless 12 year old Taiwanese kids are punching holes through art left, right, and center, one would think that a fairly un-punchable cultural artifact made from solid hand-carved nickel-silver would be of interest to big shot collectors with their cloaks made of pug and ermine, but no, this Wu-Tang album remains an orphan.

    It’s been a bit of a mess since the auction started in March, causing controversy among the members themselves, with Method Man criticizing it in an interview with XXL, and whenever Ghostface Killah was prompted for comment he basically shrugged at its existence. Fans were also incensed at the idea of a band they’d worshipped their entire lives creating an album that could only be afforded by a one percenter with a Charles Hollander chess set and a hillside villa in St Lucia. It's failure to sell is now just another piece of old furniture on the anti-climactic bonfire of disappointment.

    So what’s next for the most expensive album in the history of humanity? Well, according to Flavorwire, the auctioneer, Paddle8, “continues to work with the seller to vet a number of offers from serious potential collectors.” Which, when Google translated from highfalutin auctioneer-speak, reads as: “Yeah this doesn’t usually happen. Not even with that really ****ing awful Banksy one we had where he’d put a Ziggy Stardust stripe over the Queen’s face. And **** me, that was terrible. Did you see it? Ghastly. Someone actually bought that! You should have seen the guy though, he was wearing a pug and ermine cloak. Anyway, ****, I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what’s next for this album thing. Maybe this was a bad idea?”

    A number of ambitious crowd funding projects led by plucky and underemployed superfans to raise the cash have failed, as has a kickstarter with the aim of buying and destroying the album. Maybe if all those kickstarters came together to form a fan led conglomerate who would rip it, put it online like those fans did with Aphex Twin’s Caustic Window, and then sacrificially burn the object at a rudimentary temple constructed in the streets to discourage future musicians from making such albums, then this tragic story will finally have its conclusion.

    You can follow Joe Zadeh on Twitter.

    Written by: Joe Zadeh
    Aug 26 2015
    Gene Ching
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  5. #20
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    the rabbit hole

    A long rumination over what may well be a failed experiment. What to do now with this project?
    Going Down the Rabbit Hole of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
    NOVEMBER 10, 2015 8:14 PM0 COMMENTS
    By CHRISTO ELIOT

    “Elevate myself to a higher point of energy
    My supreme talent is to restore balance”

    — Masta Killa

    The Moroccan city of Marrakesh is one of those cities — like Bangkok and Kiev — that blends ancient world architecture and style with 21st century sensibilities. The low-profile, red sandstone making up many of the city’s buildings hide riads with modern technologies and fashions. It was founded officially in 1062, by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, a chieftain and cousin of a Almoravid dynasty king at the time. In the millennium since then, Marrakesh has become potentially the most important city in Morocco. Tourists flock from all across the globe to visit this North African metropolis, and many French celebrities own homes in the city. Most of the tourism is from people taking an interest in the city’s religious history, beautiful gardens, glittering palaces and ancient mosques. But the city also finds itself in the northern foothills of the Atlas Mountains, gateway to the enormous Sahara desert, providing stunning vistas for anyone exploring the city’s spice or textile markets.

    Weave your way through the narrow, winding passageways of the city markets to find wider avenues filled with old taxicabs and mopeds trailing streams of black exhaust behind them. If you follow one in the right direction long enough, you will come across The Royal Mansour: a luxury hotel built by the King of Morocco for over a billion dollars with bedrooms running guests well over $2,500 for a night. The entrance is guarded around the clock by a manned security hut and metal gate large enough for a submarine to pass through. Hotel guests are commonly heads of state, royalty or the otherwise “stanky” rich. And until recently, a vault in a riad at The Royal Mansour, tucked in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains, was also home to the only copy — digital or physical — of Wu-Tang Clan’s ultra-exclusive, two-disc, final album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, soon to be sold for millions of dollars.

    The Wu-Tang Clan is a hip-hop collective from the housing projects of Staten Island that started in the early ’90s. The founder of Wu-Tang, RZA, bought a 4-track in 1987 and began to produce beats in his spare time. After recording raps with eight of his relatives and friends for five years, the group was able to sell 7-inch vinyl presses of a 1992 single called “Protect Ya Neck” to record stores and radio stations in the area. The members of the Wu-Tang Clan are RZA, Ghostface Killah, GZA, Instpectah Deck, Masta Killa, Method Man, Ol’ Dirty *******, Raekwon, U-God and Cappdonna who was formally made a member of the clan three years after Ol’ Dirty ******* died of a heart attack in 2004.

    The group name came from a 1983 film directed by Hong Kong martial artist Gordon Lio called “Shaolin and Wu Tang.” The men took on the collective title Wu-Tang Clan and called their home of Staten Island “Shaolin.” The first song off their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang, opens with a sample from the dubbed version of the film:

    Shaolin shadowboxing, and the Wu-Tang sword style. If what you say is true, the Shaolin and the Wu Tang could be dangerous.

    The Wu-Tang were dangerous. Their notoriety in the hip-hop underground allowed the group to become a commercial sensation and the music of choice for NBA superstar, Kobe Bryant. Even though their rise to the top was rife with controversy like murder charges (acquitted), opening fire on a group of police officers (acquitted) and dealing marijuana, the group stayed tight and became one of the most influential hip-hop acts of all time.

    RZA has produced all six of Wu-Tang’s albums, and frequently collaborates with Kanye West. Other members of the group achieved clout and commercial success of their own. In fact, GZA’s first 35,000 lyrics contained more than 6,400 unique words. As a measure of comparison, Shakespeare used 5,170 unique words in the equivalent number of lines and only one rapper, Aesop Rock (who most people do not listen to), has more at almost 7,400. Wu-Tang has helped the careers of artists like Nas, Redman and Busta Rhymes, and shades of Wu-Tang can be heard in music across the entire hip-hop genre … possibly excluding Macklemore and this reinvented Bieber.

    More than just a rap group however, the Wu-Tang Clan considers themselves a group of artists and pioneers. Above the raw, gritty beats, each member’s rapping showed a thoughtfulness not immediately clear through the curse words and violent criminal anecdotes. Their lyrics also preach a love for Kung-Fu movies, metaphysics and chess, and their albums included skits as nontraditional breaks in a usually continuous stream of music. Their star-status in the early ’90s enabled the group to sign onto one record label while allowing the nine members of the group to sign contracts with different labels in order to diversify the group’s revenue streams. In the words of RZA, “We reinvented the way hip-hop was structured, and what I mean is […] Wu-Tang was a financial movement.” They were also among the first groups to monetize a hip-hop clothing line, which is now a prerequisite for celebrity in the industry.

    So why is there only one copy of the Wu-Tang’s final album, and why is it in Morocco? Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a concept for an album from the mind of Wu-Tang affiliate producer Cilvaringz, a Moroccan rapper and producer named Tarik Azzougarh. Cilvaringz (pronounced: Silvah Rings) is not a true member of the Wu-Tang Clan; he is closer to a pretty good high school freshman lacrosse player who might get to ride bench on the varsity team if they make playoffs. In this metaphor the varsity lacrosse team is the Wu-Tang Clan. The album is going to be the group’s final collective release, not unlike the playoffs, so Cilvaringz can be on the team. It is set to be the balancing act to the group’s 2014 release A Better Tomorrow, which has millions of plays across the Internet.

    The group has seen the music industry change since their debut in 1993. When a struggling musician started, he or she would sell his or her singles for hard-earned airtime on the radio or valuable shelf-space on someone’s record shelf. The musician was forced to work hard to make something he or she felt was worth putting on vinyl, hoping it would sell, thinking it was something of value. To the Wu-Tang, each time “Protect Ya Neck” played on the radio meant someone appreciated their music. The appreciation is what made their music art.

    In the words of RZA, “I don’t care if a child just finger paints and brings a painting home to his father. All he can do is write C-A-T with finger paint. The A is ugly, the T crooked, the C looks like a G. He hands this to his father, this first piece of art. His father takes that and he appreciates it.” With modern musical control like Spotify and iTunes, we don’t need the radio or to buy entire albums. With the Internet, we don’t even need to pay for music at all anymore. Now, we treat music less like art and more like a product we quickly consume and spit out like flavorless Juicy Fruit gum. As a result, the quality of our music has gone down, and it is the little guy in the music business who has suffered most.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  6. #21
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    Continued from previous post

    Once Upon a Time in Shaolin may only ever be heard by one person. It seems like this album is closer to Beck’s Song Reader, released only in sheet music form, than something more progressive like Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want success, In Rainbows. This album is not about art as something accessible, however; it is about art as something of value. It savors of the Renaissance, where paintings and murals and songs would be commissioned by wealthy patrons. A Duke or Lord may walk into Leonardo da Vinci’s studio and ask him for a beautiful painting or a painting that will make his wife weep with joy or impress his neighbors, but in the case of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the Wu-Tang have flipped this script around. They are saying to the buyer, “This is us. A 128-minute long sonic sculpture, embodying a return to Wu-Tang’s “Shaolin.” Who wants it, and what are you going to do with it?”

    What can they do with it? Why wouldn’t a Richard Branson or the son of a Saudi oil tycoon purchase the album and commercialize it? Cilvaringz and RZA worked put a clause in the purchase agreement where the album cannot be released for sale until 88 years after purchase as to not undermine its status as a work of art. Even though the album is on two easily copied CD’s, the owner cannot burn more and sell them. Owning Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is analogous to owning an original painting, and owning a painting does not mean you are entitled sell prints of it.

    The album itself is housed in a beautifully carved nickel silver case and housing box made by British and Moroccan artist named Yahya. It features intricate Moroccan designs and the iconic Wu-Tang logo. The 51-seconds of the album available for public consumption feature a raw and gritty sound similar to early Wu-Tang and an appearance from Cher. Select visitors to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City were able to hear the album in the spring of 2015, and more may be able to attend other museum listenings for a fee in the future. Or someone may buy it and release it for free as a statement about creative democracy. Or someone may buy the album and destroy it. We just know we can’t afford it.

    A lot of fans are devastated by the fact they may never get to hear their favorite rap group’s final record and have attacked Cilvaringz and RZA for spearheading what they view as an elitist project. But those fans are focusing on the trees and not seeing the forest. There are six Wu-Tang albums for everyone to hear and dozens, if not hundreds, more from Wu-Tang members and the extended Wu family. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin hopes to change the state of music, and return it to an era where it is the songs that are of value and not the touring, commercial licensing, film appearances and product endorsements. Wu-Tang wants to turn music back into an art form from a business by making a very bad business decision: selling only one copy of a highly anticipated release.

    Even after understanding (or trying to understand) Wu-Tang’s motivation behind this album, does it matter? Does it matter a hip-hop album you’ve never heard and may never hear is going to be sold to some one-percenter? We probably won’t know until after the album is sold and it becomes clear what the buyer’s plans for it are. Even then, we may not know until many years down the road and we can look back retrospectively and see its full impact. At its core, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is about producing something of value, and that is the motivation for art and almost anything else we do in our lives.

    When I started writing for The Sun I had hopes of it leading to me being introduced to a pool of pretty girls I didn’t know about. I obviously know now that was pretty foolish, but I always tried to put words on the page to make people laugh, think or otherwise get away from the thoughts that may be troubling them. If someone offered me five million dollars for a signed collection of my columns, I would know I had created something of value. Even if only a dozen people read my column (seems high), I know through the occasional text messages and comments mentioning a joke or insight I have received over the past four years. All of us produce something of value. It may not be of artistic value or creative value, but if you have ever made someone smile or taught somebody something, you have added value to their life. A lot of the time it may not come with recognition like a “thank you” or friendly text or seven-figure check, but it does not mean there is no value to what you’ve done.

    That said, I think RZA’s diagnosis of the music business could be said of journalism as well. In an effort to help bring value back to journalism, I will be auctioning off my column anthology, all 64,000 words and signed by me. I know I don’t have the sway Wu-Tang does in the creative community, so bidding for this one-of-a-kind collector’s item will start at a much more reasonable $10,000. Please contact celiot@cornellsun.com with any serious inquiries. It has been a pleasure writing for whomever is still reading this.

    Christo Eliot is a graduate student in the College of Engineering. He can be reached at celiot@cornellsun.com. Christo’s Largely Unmoderated Creative Space appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.
    I wonder if this will ever sell now.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  7. #22
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    Ultimately i dont think it will sell, mainly because the way music as an art form is so devalued, fans are use to getting their music a certain way, as jay z found out with his failed TIDAL experiment, exclusivity is dead.

  8. #23
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    Sold!

    But to whom?

    NOV 24, 2015 @ 12:10 PM 25,204 VIEWS
    Wu-Tang Clan Secret Album Sold By Paddle8, But To Whom?
    Zack O'Malley Greenburg
    FORBES STAFF

    The saga continues: Wu-Tang Clan’s secret album, whose existence was first revealed by FORBES nearly two years ago, has been sold by online auction house Paddle8. The identity of the buyer, however, remains unknown.

    It’s the latest twist in the strange story of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. The double-album was produced by Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh with RZA and recorded with the rest of the legendary hip-hop collective over a period of about six years, the bulk of the work occurring in Marrakech, Morocco.

    Yet the group chose an unusual launch strategy, deciding to release only one copy of the record. The goal: to return the value of music, which has been lowered by the advent of streaming and piracy, to the level of other types of fine art.

    “For art to change the way people think, it has to come from an extreme place,” said RZA. “No monumental change ever started with a compromise or a small shift. It starts extreme.”


    The Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ has been sold, but the buyer’s identity remains in a lock-box, much like the album itself. (Photo: Rashad Patterson).

    As such, Wu-Tang selected Paddle8–which has sold works by Jeff Koons, Julian Schnabel, Damien Hirst and others–to sell the album. Hirst is also a backer of the auction house, along with the likes of Founder Collective (Uber, Makerbot) and Mousse Partners (Warby Parker, Paperless Post).

    Paddle8 representatives confirmed the sale of Wu-Tang’s to FORBES during interviews for a magazine story on the auction house. When contacted for comment, Azzougarh referred FORBES to Paddle8; a company representative reached by email today would not offer any details on the album’s buyer or when it was sold.

    Part of the mystery of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin‘s sale may have to do with the elaborate restrictions around its release. At the time Paddle8 was announced as Wu-Tang’s chosen auction house, Azzougarh said legal language around the album would prevent a buyer from releasing it commercially for nearly a century.

    “After 88 years the copyright, which includes public and commercial rights, automatically transfers to the owner of the work,” he explained. “However, it will still be his or her choice at that [point] to release it or not release it.”

    Regardless of who the buyer is, it seems unlikely the album will be made available for public consumption anytime soon, and perhaps not within our lifetimes. Still, there is a way for Wu-Tang fans to get a taste of Once Upon A Time.

    Last year FORBES visited Azzougarh in Morocco, where the record was sitting under lock and key at the Royal Mansour Hotel. We filmed a mini-documentary on the album—and brought back a 51-second snippet for the world to hear.

    Azzougarh has also suggested that the group might permit a buyer to take the album on a tour of sorts, making it available for listening in carefully-secured ticketed exhibits at museums and art galleries.

    The Wu-Tang faithful can only hope.

    Additional reporting by Natalie Robehmed
    NOV 24, 2015 @ 06:48 PM
    New Details Emerge On Wu-Tang Clan Secret Album Sale
    Zack O'Malley Greenburg
    FORBES STAFF


    Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin has been sold–and details on its buyer are beginning to come to light. (Photo: Ilja Meefout).

    In two separate pieces this week, FORBES broke the news that the Wu-Tang Clan had sold its secret album to an unknown bidder. Today, new details are beginning to emerge.

    According to a release by Paddle8, the upstart auction house that sold the double-album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin has been sold to a “private American collector” for a price “in the millions.” The sale was agreed upon in May, but it took months to finalize contracts and legal protections for the unusual record.

    “The Wu-Tang Clan have always been driven by innovation, and this marks another moment in musical history,” said Wu-Tang cofounder RZA in the statement, adding that the group would donate a significant portion of the proceeds to charity. “From the beginning, we hoped that this concept would inspire debate and new ways of seeing creativity. Both of those goals have been achieved, and the ideas continue to evolve.”

    Though the precise amount of the sale has not been revealed, Paddle8 says it makes Once Upon A Time In Shaolin the most expensive single album ever sold, topping Jack White’s $300,000 purchase of a rare acetate recording of Elvis Presley’s first song.

    “We pioneered a new type of intellectual property regarding the sale of a work that is simultaneously physical and digital, creating previously unexplored legal protections for a unique work that cannot be reproduced,” added Paddle8 cofounder Alexander Gilkes. “This marks an exciting new model of distribution for the music world and we look forward to playing an ongoing role in this innovative model.”

    As the album’s producer, Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, explained when FORBES first revealed the album’s existence nearly two years ago: “The essence and core of our ideas is to inspire creation and originality and debate, and save the music album from dying.”

    Once Upon A Time In Shaolin will remain hidden from the public ear for the foreseeable future, but Wu-Tang fans can still get a taste of the album through the 51-second snippet FORBES obtained while interviewing Azzougarh in his hometown of Marrakech, Morocco–and through the mini-documentary we produced below.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  9. #24
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    aw, srsly?



    WHO BOUGHT THE MOST EXPENSIVE ALBUM EVER MADE?
    By Devin Leonard and Annmarie Hordern | December 9, 2015
    Photographs by Francesco Nazardo
    From Bloomberg Businessweek

    It was one of the greatest sales pitches the music industry has ever heard. In March 2014, Robert Diggs, better known as RZA, the producer and de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, the iconic rap group, announced that the Clan would create only one copy of its next album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and sell it to the highest bidder. “We’re about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of music,” RZA told Forbes. “We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like someone having the scepter of an Egyptian king.”

    Initially, the Clan wanted to forbid the buyer from publicly releasing the album for 88 years, but over time decided to grant the buyer total freedom as long as the album wasn’t sold commercially. That meant the owner could listen to the record in a soundproof room, drive a pickup truck over it, or release it for free on the Internet. If the owner desired, he could be the only one who ever heard it. In an era where people are happy to stream music rather than actually possess it, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin offered a chance to own something truly unique.

    The Wu-Tang Clan hired Paddle8, an online auction startup, to sell the album. The 31-track album would come in a hand-carved box, accompanied by a leather-bound book with 174 pages of parchment paper filled with lyrics and background on the songs. The music itself was expected to be spectacular. All the surviving members of the Wu-Tang Clan contributed to Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, along with some special guests. Aside from RZA and his co-producer, Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, nobody had heard the entire record. It was stored in a vault in the Royal Mansour Marrakech hotel in Morocco and any duplicates had been destroyed.

    Even before the bidding began, the Wu-Tang Clan claimed, they had received a $5 million offer. Fans speculated that the buyer might turn out to be the director Quentin Tarantino, a Hollywood associate of RZA, or venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, who has written about his love of rap. Some Wu-Tang fans objected to the group’s plan. Two of the group’s disgruntled admirers started a Kickstarter campaign to buy Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and keep it out of plutocratic hands. “Someone who has disposable millions, it’s just another shiny new toy for them,” says Russell Meyer, one of the organizers. “It’s most likely not going to be someone who appreciates the music.” The drive to keep the music out of the hands of the millionaires was spirited but ultimately too small. Fans pledged just $15,406.

    Then, on Nov. 24, Paddle8 announced that the Wu-Tang Clan had sold the album for a record figure “in the millions.” The price had been agreed to in May, but according to the press release, the parties “spent months finalizing contracts and devising legal protections for a distinctive work whose value depends on its singularity.” But the group wouldn’t reveal the buyer’s name. RZA said he wanted his privacy. “This was very much a mutual decision,” RZA insisted in an e-mail. There was only one wrinkle: The buyer didn’t care about his privacy; he wanted to go public.


    Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
    Source: Paddle8

    There’s probably only one group of rappers that could pull off such a stunt. The Clan arrived in 1993 with a debut album titled Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The group was comprised of nine guys from Staten Island and Brooklyn with enigmatic stage names such as Masta Killa, U-God, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, GZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, and Ol’ Dirty *******. They were some of the most inventive wordsmiths that hip-hop audiences had ever encountered, melding street lingo with martial arts allusions and the sayings of the Five Percent Nation, an obscure black movement.

    In a rap world that’s become obsessed with fame and money, the Clan holds a special place. Its members have never achieved the popularity of Eminem or Jay Z, but they are venerated by young rappers such as Drake and Kanye West for their originality. “They’ve been dope for over 20 years,” says Andrew DuBois, co-editor of The Anthology of Rap. “That’s half of hip-hop’s tenure. People all around the world care about the Wu-Tang Clan.”

    The architect of Wu-Tang’s early success was RZA, whom the members referred to as the abbot. It was RZA who created the group’s weird aural backdrops using rhythm tracks from old Memphis soul songs interspersed with fragments of jazz master Thelonious Monk’s piano and moans of soul singers that he electronically altered to sound like ghostly exultations. RZA was also a master strategist, persuading all the members to give him full control for five years and allowing him to produce every album by the group and any of their solo records. “I said, ‘Give me five years and I will take us to No. 1,’ ” RZA wrote in The Tao of Wu, his 2009 memoir-cum-spiritual guidebook. “It was a long conversation, eye to eye, man to man. I said that no one could question my authority. It had to be a dictatorship.”

    RZA turned out to be just as skilled at business. He showed up every evening at 6 p.m. at the offices of Wu-Tang’s label, Loud Records, with a legal pad full of ideas, including which radio stations to target and where to send promotional street teams. Steve Rifkind, the label’s founder and an accomplished rap pitchman himself, says he approved nearly all of them. “He was definitely business-minded,” Rifkind says. “I think you’re born with that.”

    The Clan’s first album sold 2.4 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. The follow-up, a double album called Wu-Tang Forever, sold more than 2 million. In between, Raekwon, Ghostface, Method Man, and GZA released RZA-produced solo albums that are considered just as weighty by fans. The group started Wu Wear, one of the first hip-hop artist-branded clothing lines, and opened a Wu Nails shop on Staten Island run by RZA’s sister.


    The entire Wu-Tang Clan in late 2000. RZA is on the far right.
    Photographer: Jerome Albertini/Corbis

    After five years, RZA relinquished his control over the Wu-Tang Clan, and the group was never the same. Subsequent albums and solo projects weren’t as strong and didn’t sell as well. The Clan flooded the market with music under its banner, including albums by artists who weren’t official members but part of a so-called extended Wu-Tang family.

    One of those Wu affiliates was Cilvaringz, a Dutch rapper of Moroccan descent who impressed the group in 1997 when he climbed onto the stage at a show in Amsterdam and offered some impromptu verses. Months later he showed up at Wu Nails. Eventually he got a deal to put out a record under the Wu-Tang banner. “Anyone who would go halfway across the world, without a penny, to chase their dream was someone I felt needed to be taken seriously,” RZA says. It was great for Cilvaringz, but fans were overwhelmed. “There was a moment where there was so much Wu product in the world,” says Sasha Frere-Jones, a Los Angeles Times critic-at-large and a former New Yorker writer who has chronicled the group over the years.

    As the group’s hits dwindled, the Clan drifted apart. Ol’ Dirty *******, whose real name was Russell Jones, died in 2004 of a drug overdose in a New York recording studio. Method Man became an actor, appearing in films such as How High, and briefly co-starring in a Fox sitcom called Method & Red, about two rappers who end up living in a lily-white suburb. RZA also went to Hollywood, providing some music for Tarantino’s martial arts-themed Kill Bill films, and in 2012 he directed and starred with Russell Crowe in The Man With the Iron Fists.

    RZA managed to reassemble the Clan’s surviving members for the long-awaited album A Better Tomorrow, released last December. It drew positive reviews but sold only 60,000 copies in the U.S. The Wu-Tang Clan had tried market saturation. Now it went in the opposite direction with Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  10. #25
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    continued from previous post


    Cilvaringz, RZA, and Gilkes hold the book, box, and certification that come with the album.
    Source: Paddle8

    On a chilly evening in March, at the Museum of Modern Art’s PS 1 annex in New York, several dozen potential buyers and writers turned in their cell phones, tablets, laptops, and anything else with recording capability. Joined by 36 giddy fans who had won tickets on Hot 97, a local radio station, they were ushered into a dimly lit domed room for an event billed as the first and only time that a portion of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin would be heard in public. The ornate box that would hold the album was displayed on a pedestal, watched over by dark-suited security guards.

    The crowd listened to a 13-minute excerpt played at an eardrum-rattling volume and cheered when it was done. Shaolin sounded like the best Wu-Tang Clan album in years. Afterwards, RZA and Cilvaringz discussed the record with Frere-Jones. Clad in a black jacket, black pants, and a black ball cap, RZA, who is tall and slender, compared the Wu-Tang Clan to Mozart and the album to the Mona Lisa. Cilvaringz, who is shorter and wore a gray puffy jacket over a hoodie, sounded a similar theme when he talked about a trip the two men took a decade ago to Egypt. “RZA and I would ride horses into the desert completely alone and have the pyramids pretty much to ourselves,” Cilvaringz said. “Halfway climbing up the pyramids of Cheops, I said to RZA that one day we would do something special together that would last throughout the ages.”

    Music critic Frere-Jones, who loved what he had heard of the album, wanted to know who the bewitching female singer was on one of the tracks.

    “That was Cher,” Cilvaringz said.

    “Cher?”

    “Yeah, Cher. The Cher.” (Cher couldn’t be reached for comment.)

    Frere-Jones also quizzed the producers about how the rest of the Clan felt about not being as involved in the making of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin as they presumably had been with previous records. “I guess the best way to describe it is with an analogy,” RZA answered. “Everybody got on the boat, but they didn’t know where the boat was going. But look where it landed. You know what I mean? Hey, it’s not on Gilligan’s Island.”

    “Well, we don’t know which island it’s going to be on yet, right?” Frere-Jones said.

    “We don’t know,” RZA said.

    According to RZA, Shaolin attracted many suitors: “Private collectors, trophy hunters, millionaires, billionaires, unknown folks, publicly known folks, businesses, companies with commercial intent, young, old,” he says. “It varied.” Serious bidders got to hear the 13-minute highlights in private listening sessions arranged by Paddle8 in New York.

    One of them was a pharmaceutical company executive named Martin Shkreli. He’s 32 years old but seems much younger, with a tendency to fiddle with his hair and squirm in his seat like an adolescent. The son of Albanian immigrants, Shkreli grew up in what he describes as a tough part of Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay neighborhood. He skipped grades in school because he was so bright. Shkreli idolized scientists, but he was also a music fan. Primarily interested in rock as a teenager, he didn’t understand rap, but that changed when he read Shakespeare in high school. “You would get these rhyming couplets and soliloquies and stuff like that, but the couplets would really kind of jar you,” he says. “They would be really these big, soul-crushing moments that Shakespeare intended to stir your spirit. And in many ways, music does that.”

    Shkreli was taken by the Wu-Tang song C.R.E.A.M., which stands for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.” It includes the often-repeated phrase “Dolla dolla bill, y’all!” Shkreli turned out to be good at making dollars himself. He founded two hedge funds that shorted pharmaceutical stocks and then started his own drug company, Retrophin, earning a reputation on Wall Street as something of a boy genius. In September 2014, however, he says he was “asked to leave” by the company’s board. Retrophin later alleged after an internal investigation that he’d abused his position and misused assets. Shkreli says that he didn’t do anything without the company’s approval. Retrophin and its former CEO are now facing off in court. “I was pretty ****ed,” Shkreli says. “But I realized that it actually would be better for me, maybe not ego-wise, but financially. I could just sell my stock and build my own next company.”

    Now that Shkreli had more money, he started collecting music-related items. He once joked on Twitter about trying to buy Katy Perry’s guitar so he could get a date with her. He purchased Kurt Cobain’s Visa card in a Paddle8 auction and occasionally produces it to get a rise out of people when it’s time to pay a check.

    Shkreli heard about Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and thought it would be nice to own, too. He attended a private listening session at the Standard Hotel hosted by Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes. Shkreli, who describes himself as a bit of a recluse, recalls Gilkes telling him that if he bought the record, he would have the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and rappers who would want to hear it. “Then I really became convinced that I should be the buyer,” Shkreli says. (Paddle8 declined to comment, citing their policy of client confidentiality.) He also got to have lunch with RZA. “We didn’t have a ton in common,” Shkreli says. “I can’t say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him.”

    Having participated in bidding wars for companies and drugs, Shkreli says he had a feeling from the start that he’d made the highest offer for Shaolin. As it turned out, he was right. Shkreli won’t say how much he paid. But someone familiar with the deal says that the Wu-Tang Clan sold him the album for $2 million. Before he closed on the acquisition, Shkreli was permitted to listen to a few more snippets to make sure it was all there. Shkreli delegated the task to an employee. The same month, news broke that Shkreli’s new company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, had purchased an anti-parasitic drug called Daraprim and raised its price from $13.50 a pill to $750. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton denounced him. “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous,” Clinton tweeted. Her Republican opponent Donald Trump also attacked Shkreli. “He looks like a spoiled brat to me,” Trump said. The BBC wrote that Shkreli “may be the most hated man in America.”


    Source: Nielsen Music

    Shkreli seems mildly amused by the controversy. He says it’s his duty as Turing CEO to maximize profits for his investors. “What’s escaped the conversation is, hey, how about the fact that this is actually what I’ve been hired to do,” Shkreli says. “It’s like someone criticizing a basketball player for scoring too many points.” He adds that he’s tried to make Daraprim more easily available to hospitals. Meanwhile, he’s been pranking his critics. In October, he donated $2,700 to Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s rival, which the campaign donated to a Washington health-care facility. Shkreli then applied for an internship on the Vermont senator’s campaign. “I enjoy the back and forth,” he says.

    Shkreli seems more concerned about how the Wu-Tang Clan would react to the Daraprim dispute. “I was a little worried that they were going to walk out of the deal,” he says. “But by then we’d closed. The whole kind of thing since then has been just kind of ‘Well, do we want to announce it’s him? Do we not want to announce it’s him?’ I think they were trying to cover their butts a little bit.” Paddle8 says it doesn’t disclose client information.

    After learning that Bloomberg Businessweek was about to report that Shkreli had purchased the album, RZA e-mailed a statement: “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.”

    As for the Wu-Tang fans who are likely to feel queasy when they learn that he’s the owner of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, Shkreli just shrugs. “At the end of the day,” he says, “they didn’t buy the last album or the one before that, and all they had to pay was $10.”

    It’s a Friday afternoon at Turing’s Manhattan headquarters, and Shkreli and his employees are preparing for a Christmas party that evening. Three executives play a video game. A woman shows Shkreli the ****tail dress she plans to wear. Shkreli had arranged for the rap star Fetty Wap to perform for his employees. “Typically you would say, ‘As an average fan, I can’t get Fetty Wap to give me a personal concert,’ ” he says. “The reality is, sure you could. You know, at the right price these guys basically will do anything.”

    Shkreli wants more artists to make private albums for him. He figures they could use the money, and he will let them do whatever they want. “It’s almost like the instructions to the band are, ‘Do your best work, however much time it takes, and never compromise anything for me,’ ” he says. “ ‘I just want to hear what you’ve got.’ ”

    He hasn’t listened to Once Upon a Time in Shaolin yet. He’s saving that for a time when he’s feeling low and needs something to lift his spirits. “I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that,” Shkreli says. “But for now, I think I’m going to kind of save it for a rainy day.”
    Shkreli is like a Kung Fu villain. I can hear him doing a Kung Fu villain 'muhahahaha!' over this.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  11. #26
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    This is freaking hysterical

    This Wu-Tang art stunt just took it to a whole new level. Bill Groundhog Day Ghostbusting-Ass Murray FTW!!!

    DOES WU-TANG’S $2 MILLION ALBUM COME WITH A CLAUSE STATING THAT THEY (OR BILL MURRAY) CAN STEAL IT BACK?
    POSTED BY JOE PRICE ON DECEMBER 10, 2015 IN NEWS


    Image via Coffee and Cigarettes

    The story regarding Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin just keeps getting weirder. After it was reported yesterday that Martin Shkreli had purchased Wu-Tang’s highly controversial and highly sought-after album for $2 million, there has been speculation that the contract Shkreli signed comes with an absolutely incredible clause: according to apparent contract text posted to Twitter, every active member of the Wu-Tang Clan is entitled to steal back the album with no legal repercussions, and so is Bill Murray.

    The entire clause, as written in the alleged contract, can be read below. Even if it’s fake, this is the best movie idea ever.

    The buying party also agrees that at any time during the stipulated 88 year period, the seller may legally plan and attempt to execute one (1) heist or caper to steal back Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, which, if successful, would return all ownership rights to the seller. Said heist or caper can only be undertaken by currently active members of the Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray, with no legal repercussions.

    While the idea of such a bizarre heist is most likely a joke, there’s a lot of money to be made here either with a film adaptation, or a reality show in which the Wu-Tang Clan and Bill Murray snatch the album from Shkreli’s hands. Watch RZA, GZA, and Bill Murray’s fabulous scene from Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes below.

    Gene Ching
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  12. #27
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    Another internet hoax

    Too bad. I watched A Very Murray Christmas after hearing this, just to encourage Bill Murray.

    Martin Shkreli says he’s not afraid of Wu-Tang Clan (or Bill Murray) after buying band’s private album
    BY JASON SILVERSTEIN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 3:39 PM


    MICHAEL GRAAE/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Martin Shkreli bought the private Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million.
    “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli isn't afraid of the Wu-Tang techniques.

    A day after the controversial CEO was outed as the Wu-Tang Clan fan who dropped $2 million for the rap group’s one-of-a-kind album, a Twitter prankster claimed Shkrelil would have to fear an attack from the Wu-Tang — or from Bill Murray.

    “The seller may legally plan and attempt to execute one (1) heist or caper to steal back ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,' which, if successful, would return all ownership rights to the seller,” a supposed contract for the secret sale said.

    “Said heist or caper can only be undertaken by currently active members of the Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray, with no legal repercussions.”

    The supposed killer clause went viral before it turned out to be a hoax.

    Rob Wesley
    ‏@eastwes
    Forget the $2M, this is easily the most interesting part of the whole deal between Wu-Tang and Martin Shkreli.

    But Shkreli told the Daily News he’d be ready for Wu to bring the ruckus.

    “They would have to protect their necks,” he said Thursday, invoking one of the group’s most famous lyrics.

    “It is me who they would not want to be f---ing with,” he added, invoking another.

    As far as any actual details about the contract, Shkreli said he’s sworn to secrecy, but there’s “some pretty crazy stuff in there.”


    SMOKESCREEN INC.
    Wu-Tang Clan members GZA and RZA, seen with Bill Murray in the film "Coffee and Cigarettes." The three are apparently not actually allowed to steal from Martin Shkreli.
    Wu-Tang announced the sale of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” — an album with exactly one copy, in a silver box with a leather lyric book — in November, telling eager fans it wouldn’t be released publicly for at least 88 years.

    The lucky buyer remained anonymous until Shkreli owned up Wednesday.

    The Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, who earned national scorn this year for jacking the price of a life-saving AIDS pill, taunted Wu-Tang fans by live-streaming himself for hours Wednesday listening to other music.

    Shkreli told The News “Shaolin” is a double album featuring unreleased songs from belated Wu rapper Ol’ Dirty ******* — or at least, so he has heard. He said he hasn’t listened to it at all and won't release it.


    SCLUZAY/ WARREN WESLEY PATTERSON
    Only one copy of "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" exists.
    Meanwhile, he said he wants to start paying other bands to make private albums, specifically citing Radiohead and Glassjaw, the Long Island hardcore that hasn’t dropped an LP since 2002.

    “I’m still open to exploration to the what and who and how,” he said.

    As for Wu-Tang fans who want to swarm him like killer bees, he noted that the band’s last album, “A Better Tomorrow” in 2014, was a flop, debuting with only 21,000 sales.

    “If fans really cared about the Wu-Tang Clan, they would’ve bought their album,” he said.

    RZA, the de facto Wu leader, did not return requests for comment from The News. Paddle8, the site that oversaw the auction, said it could not discuss the deal.

    jsilverstein@nydailynews.com
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  13. #28
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    I don't post something like this very often, if ever; but that Martin Shkreli guy is a narcissistic sociopath of the lowest order, to put a it very mildly. I won't post the full extent of my low opinion of him.

    Edit to add:
    And it has nothing to do with his having bought the album.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 12-15-2015 at 09:41 AM.

  14. #29
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    I gotta admit...

    ...this has been one amusing story.

    RZA Has Already Cashed Shkreli's $2 Million Check and That's It
    DoniBloomfield
    January 6, 2016 — 3:00 AM PST

    Wu-Tang Clan's RZA on Martin Shkreli

    `He bought it, he can do what he wants,' RZA says in interview
    Record contract doesn't include rumored Bill Murray clause

    RZA, the rapper and de facto leader of the group Wu-Tang Clan, said he doesn’t begrudge indicted drug company executive Martin Shkreli for buying his $2 million album.
    “He bought it, he can do what he wants,” RZA said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s John Heilemann on the program “With All Due Respect.” “Art -- the beautiful thing about art, from my standpoint, is that it has no discrimination.” Despite some of the rapper’s criticisms of Shkreli, the sale is done. “What we’ve done is historical, and you can’t remove that.”


    Martin Shkreli exits federal court in New York, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. Photographer: Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg

    Shkreli was arrested last month on charges of securities fraud related to one of his former companies and several of his hedge funds. He is accused of lying to investors and misappropriating funds. He has denied wrongdoing. Bloomberg Businessweek reported last month that he had paid $2 million for the Wu-Tang album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” which exists only as a single copy.
    Baruch Weiss, Shkreli’s lawyer, declined to comment.
    RZA, whose real name is Robert Diggs, said he used a middleman to help make the sale.
    Album Auction
    “If you want me to make a beat, come to the RZA, I can handle that,” he said. “If you want me to auction off or sell a painting, that’s not my business, so I put it in the hands of professionals.”
    Before Shkreli’s arrest, the 32-year-old drug executive rose to notoriety by acquiring an old drug, Daraprim, and raising the price to $750 a pill from $13.50. He was criticized by lawmakers and patient groups and threatened with legal investigation about the company’s practices. Shkreli’s most recent company, KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc., fired him, has filed for bankruptcy and is fighting Nasdaq’s decision to kick it off its exchange.
    More: Shkreli, Drug Price Gouger, Denies Fraud and Posts Bail
    RZA told Bloomberg Businessweek in December that the group had agreed to the sale before Shkreli’s drug pricing practices had been revealed, and that it had “decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”
    RZA confirmed that the two met before the album was sold.
    “I met him, we had a brief lunch, and he did mention his love of hip-hop,” RZA said in the interview with Bloomberg. “I didn’t get a chance to read him. We talked briefly about where he comes from, briefly about what Wu-Tang means.”
    Distancing From Shkreli
    In a previous interview, Shkreli didn’t take kindly to Wu-Tang’s distancing themselves from him.
    “I bought the most expensive album in the history of mankind and f---ing RZA is talking s--t behind my back and online in plain sight,” Shkreli said in a Dec. 16 interview with the publication HipHopDX. “If I hand you $2 million, f---ing show me some respect.”
    RZA sounded unperturbed. “I thought about calling him, personally,” the rapper said.
    Shkreli’s arrest throws his continued ownership of the album into question. With the indictment, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers is seeking the forfeiture of “any property, real or personal” acquired with the proceeds of his alleged securities fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also has filed a related lawsuit. The legal actions raise the possibility that the federal government could eventually take control of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” and perhaps put it up for a second auction. At a press conference on the day of Shkreli’s arrest, Capers declined to comment on the record’s fate.
    Businessweek reported in December that at that time Shkreli hadn’t yet listened to the album.
    Museum Tour
    “If Mr. Shkreli feels philanthropic, he has the power to do something really cool, you know what I mean?” RZA said. “He could do something that would allow more people to hear the record.” He suggested releasing the album publicly, or letting it tour in museums.
    He dismissed one other idea that could free the album, based on a rumor that circulated briefly in the wake of Shkreli’s arrest -- that actor Bill Murray was contractually allowed to attempt a heist of the album.
    “Bill Murray’s not in the contract,” RZA said.
    The full interview will run on “With All Due Respect,” which airs on Bloomberg Television and BloombergPolitics.com, Wednesday at 5 p.m. New York time.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,512

    A true villain

    You can almost hear Shkreli going 'Mwahahahahahaha!"

    Martin Shkreli Considers Destroying or Leaving Wu-Tang Clan's 'Shaolin' in a Remote Place
    1/28/2016 by Lars Brandle


    Martin Shkreli photographed in New York on Aug. 10, 2011.
    ̌PAUL TAGGART/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

    Martin Shkreli's latest contemplation will do little to rehab his “most hated man in America” image. The price-gouging pharmaceutical executive has reportedly considered breaking or concealing the Wu-Tang Clan album for which he paid a multi-million dollar sum.

    Shkreli, the buyer of the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million, is the subject of a new profile at Vice. Its author, Allie Conti, notes: "Shkreli says he vacillates between wanting to destroy the record and dreaming of installing it in some remote place so that people have to make a spiritual quest to listen."

    Shkreli showed-off his expensive purchase for Vice, telling the title: "I'm not just the heel of the music world. I want to be the world's heel.” (a “heel is a pro-wrestling term for a bad guy")

    RZA on Martin Shkreli Buying Exclusive Wu-Tang Album: 'He Bought It, He Can Do What He Wants'

    Shkreli played the album in the background while Conti conducted the interview. “From what I heard,” she told Noisey, “it was definitely better than their last album, although I wouldn't say it's worth $2 million necessarily. I really hope Shkreli decides to release it to the public rather than destroy it, which is something he's mulling over right now.”

    Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager, became a global hate figure when his firm Turing Pharmaceuticals of New York raised the price of AIDS-fighting drug Daraprim from $13.50 a tablet to $750. He was arrested last December on securities fraud charges. Shkreli was released on $5 million bail from a federal court in Brooklyn and could face up to 20 years in prison.

    Wu-Tang Album Buyer Martin Shkreli Accused of 'Misappropriating' More Than $1 Million

    Meanwhile, Wu-Tang Clan is gearing-up for a three-date tour of Australia, starting Feb. 23 at Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne. Whether the hip-hop legends will play tracks from Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is the two-million dollar question.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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