Despite their clear directive to not fuck with them, people continue to f*ck with the Wu-tang Clan. The last person to publicly f*ck with them was despicable pharma bro Martin Shkreli, and as you may know, things didn’t turn out so well for him.
Shkreli gained notoriety for running a company that hiked up the price of life-saving medication, becoming a target for ire around the world and especially on the internet. He got rich before he was sent to prison for securities fraud, and one of the things she purchased with his wealth was a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang record. The legendary rap outfit created the “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” album to protest the devaluation of music in the digital age. Shkreli was forced to part ways with the album, quite literally, when it was seized by the government to help cover the $7.4 million he owed as part of his sentencing.
Now, the government has sold it, and the New York Times tracked down the buyers. PleasrDAO, a young collective known for buying high-profile, and high-priced, digital works like NFTs. Now they can add Once Upon a Time in Shaolin to the list of things they’ve acquired; it cost them $4 million.
“This album at its inception was a kind of protest against rent-seeking middlemen, people who are taking a cut away from the artist,” PleasrDAO’s James Johnson said in a video interview, sporting a Wu Tang t-shirt. “Crypto very much shares that same ethos.”
They purchased it anonymously but have come forward to claim their trophy, and have even announced plans to try and make the album more publicly available – if RZA and producer Cilvaringz will allow it. RZA hasn’t said anything, but Cilvanringz is okay with the purchase. “We wanted to honor the NFT concept without breaking our own rules,” he said in a statement. Johnson called the album “kind of the O.G. NFT.”
Whether or not PleasrDAO is able to convince the rappers to let them spread the album far and wide is yet to be seen, but Johnson is hopeful.
“We believe that we can do something with this piece,” Mr. Johnson said, “to enable it to be shared and ideally owned in part by fans and anyone in the world.”
Sounds good – just so long as it doesn’t cost $4 million.