By Scott T. Sterling
Late last month, hip-hop icons Wu-Tang Clan revealed that in addition to the group’s much-discussed 20th anniversary A Better Tomorrow album, they’d been secretly working on another full-length, The Wu – One Upon a Time in Shaolin. While the news of an additional double-album was exciting for Wu-Tang’s rabid fans, the group upped the ante by announcing that only a single copy of the album would be produced. After sending the album on a tour (including “museums, galleries, listening tents at music festivals”), it would be auctioned off to the highest bidder, and for a price tag he anticipated would be “in the millions.”
Now, Wu-Tang’s unofficial leader, RZA, has announced that the group has already been approached with sky-high offers for the album (which will come in a hand carved nickel-silver box designed by British-Moroccan artist Yahya), topping out at the stratospheric figure of $5 million.
“Offers came in at $2 million, somebody offered $5 million yesterday. I’ve been getting a lot of emails: some from people I know, some from people I don’t know, and they’re also emailing other members of my organization,” RZA told Billboard. “So far, $5 million is the biggest number. I don’t know how to measure it, but it gives us an idea that what we’re doing is being understood by some. And there are some good peers of mine also, who are very high-ranking in the film business and the music business, sending me a lot of good will. It’s been real positive.”
RZA went on to say that the concept came from the idea of creating the musical equivalent of a museum piece in an effort to further open people’s minds to the idea of music being a work of art.
“The main theme is music being accepted and respected as art and being treated as such,” he declared. “If something is rare, it’s rare. You cannot get another.”
RZA has also let it be known that if the buyer decided to release the album to the public, the Wu-Tang Clan would be fine with it.