Rare Wu-Tang Clan Album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ To Be Played In Public For 1st Time

A 30-minute excerpt of the LP will play at Australia’s Museum of Old and New Art.

By Nate Todd May 29, 2024 12:32 pm PDT

The Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, will be played for a public audience for the first time in June. A 30-minute excerpt of the LP will play at Australia’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania as part of its Namedropping exhibition June 15 – 24.

Co-produced by Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Wu-Tang associate Cilvaringz, Once Upon a Time In Shaolin was tracked in secret over the course of six years in Staten Island, New York and produced in Marrakech, Morocco.

It contains an eclectic group of contributors including the entire Wu-Tang Clan, Redman, Wu-Tang Killa Beez, Cher, FC Barcelona soccer players, and Game of Thrones actress Carice van Houten. A single two-CD copy was cut in 2014 and stored in a secured vault at the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech.

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Once Upon a Time in Shaolin went to the highest bidder in 2015, notorious CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals Martin Shkreli, who paid $2 million for the album making it the most expensive work of music ever sold.

When Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud in 2018, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was among the assets seized by a federal court. The U.S. Department of Justice then sold the record to digital art collective Pleasr, who loaned it to MONA for its Namedropping exhibit.

“Every once in a while, an object on this planet possesses mystical properties that transcend its material circumstances,” MONA’s director of curatorial affairs Jarrod Rawlins said in a statement. “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is more than just an album, so when I was thinking about status, and what a transcendent namedrop could be, I knew I had to get it into this exhibition.”

While a Once Upon a Time in Shaolin contract stipulates that the album cannot be commercially exploited until 2109, it can be played at listening parties like MONA’s. The album and it’s silver casing will also be on display at the museum..

[Hat Tip – Pitchfork]

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