Infamous ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli has been boasting of his apparently one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang album ever since he purchased it for $2 million for the “purpose of putting a serious value behind music”. Now the legitimacy of the album is in question following an investigation by two journalists.
In a recent article published by Bloomberg, Devin Leonard and Annmarie Hordern seem to have uncovered the truth behind the unique Wu-Tang album titled 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin'. Because the artist family involved with Wu-Tang is so large, the album is very loosely called a Wu-Tang album and it might end up just being an overly hyped project by RZA’s protégé Cilvaringz who produced the material.
Via a series of interviews with people involved with the project, including Wu-Tang affiliates Killa Sin, Shyheim Franklin, and representatives for U-God and Method Man, questions are raised whether the release is even an official Wu-Tang album at all.
U-God’s manager Domingo Neris said “it’s not an authorized Wu-Tang Clan album” and “it never was”. Method Man’s manger James Ellis said that Meth’s verses were recorded for a Cilvaringz album and he has no idea how the 31-track 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin' ever came to be.
Leonard and Hordern sum up their investigation: “The accounts of Killa Sin and the representatives of U-God and Method Man echo a tale circulating on hip-hop websites: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin began as an undertaking by Cilvaringz, who later persuaded RZA, the de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, to endorse the project and make the record more valuable.”
Shkreli, who is facing a jail term for being found guilty of federal fraud, is currently selling the sole copy of 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin' on eBay. The bidding has reached over $1 million and will close Friday night.
Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here