In the near-50 year history of hip-hop, there hasn’t been an album with as much notoriety as Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-one Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. The album was released as a sole copy that somehow ended up in the hands of incarcerated Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli. As part of his judgment in his case, the feds confiscated the album along with the copy of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V that he apparently inherited with Weezy’s old Bugatti.
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A new buyer swept up the rare album last summer, according to the Department of Justice. BuzzFeed obtained new documents surrounding the album months after the art collective PleasrDAO obtained Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. A previous New York Times article reported that they paid a total of $4M for the album — double of what Shkreli dropped. However, the government claims that the price of the album is a “trade secret.” The new buyers also are subject to the same rules as Shkreli’s purchasing agreement.
Through a FOI Act lawsuit, the new documents obtained by Buzzfeed include over a dozen undisclosed photos of the album. However, the government reportedly redacted images of the CDs, the 175-page lyric book, and the tracklist.
The new owners of the album are allowed to display the presentation box with the Wu-Tang Clan logo if they choose. However, they’re prohibited from making copies of the album to distribute. Maybe we’ll be able to listen to the album in its entirety, one day.