Artist News

That one-off Wu-Tang album might not be a Wu-Tang album at all

By | Published on Friday 15 September 2017

Wu-Tang Clan

So, here’s a thing to know before you bid on that one-off Wu-Tang Clan album on eBay: it might not actually be a Wu-Tang album at all.

As previously reported, the one and only copy of Wu Tang’s album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ was sold to ‘pharma bro’ turned jailbird Martin Shkreli for $2 million in 2015. He recently decided that he’d had enough of owning it, and put it up for sale in an auction that is due to end just after 3am tomorrow morning, UK time. Bidding is currently at a little over $1 million.

But Bloomberg has done some asking around, and reckons that while the album was created by some associates of Wu-Tang, it was not originally intended to be released as an album by the group, rather as a solo album by producer and long-time opening act at Wu-Tang live shows Cilvaringz.

At least, that’s what one contributor to the record, Killa Sin, says he believed he was contributing to at the time, while the manager of Wu-Tang member U-God, Domingo Neris, said that it is “not an authorized Wu-Tang Clan album [and] it never was”.

The manager of another Wu-Tang member, Method Man, James Ellis adds: “When we did the verses, it was for a Cilvaringz album. How it became a Wu-Tang album from there? We have no knowledge of that”.

Certainly when it was originally put up for sale, both Wu Tang’s RZA and Cilvaringz were named as co-producers and the record was very much positioned as a Wu-Tang release. Plus the group’s logo appears prominently in the CD’s lavish case.

Exactly when the record was deemed to be a Wu-Tang project is unclear. In a statement to Bloomberg, Cilvaringz simply said: “The album and its concept were an evolutionary process that spanned six years, too complex to explain in a soundbite. All participating Wu-Tang artists were paid in advance while RZA and I bore the financial risk of the project”.

If it turns out that ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ is more a collection of recordings featuring guest appearances by some members of Wu-Tang and their associates rather than an actual record by the group, well, that would be an amusing twist in the ongoing story of Shkreli – who is currently awaiting sentencing for fraud.

Asked for a statement, Shrekli said: “hahahahahahahahahahahaha”