Wu-Tang’s rarest album is getting public play soon, says its NFT group owner


Wu-Tang’s rarest album is getting public play soon, says its NFT group owner
By: Wes Davis Posted: May 29, 2024

Wu-Tang’s rarest album is getting public play soon, says its NFT group owner
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, pictured on its current owner’s website. | Image: PleasrDAO

Very few people have heard the only copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the Wu-Tang Clan album that disgraced pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli bought at auction in 2015. Starting next month, though, you’ll be able to hear a curated, 30-minute excerpt of the album, provided you can get to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania, between June 15th and June 24th, reports The Washington Post.

The MONA’s playback of Shaolin excerpts will be part of a months-long exhibit called “Namedropping” centered on rare and significant pop culture objects. Tasmanian residents can get into the museum for free, but tickets go for as much as AUS$38 for anyone else.

PleasrDAO, the NFT art collective that paid the US government $4 million for the album in 2021, said it will play the album somewhere else before then, hinting on X that it snuck clues into articles about the Tasmanian exhibit.

Wu-Tang’s seventh studio album has been through a lot. Despite fans’ attempts to raise millions of dollars to buy it, it ended up in the clutches of Shkreli, who is most famous for extortionist pricing of life-saving medication. Wu-Tang member RZA mused about stealing the album back, and the FBI denied rumors that it had confiscated it.

Before he was convicted for securities fraud, Shkreli listed the album on eBay but never seemed to have sold it, as the federal government took possession of it in 2018 before selling it to PleasrDAO. As for Shkreli, he was released from prison in 2022 and banned from the pharmaceutical industry — a ban recently upheld by a federal judge.

PleasrDAO has a website — thealbum.com — where you can register your phone number to get a text message in 79 years, ostensibly to be notified when the album is available. (One of the terms of the album’s sale is essentially an embargo on reproducing it until October 8th, 2103.) However, it seems more likely, based on the group’s linked privacy policy, that it’s collecting your info to share with affiliates or text you about its products and services.

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