The Wu-Tang Clan album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” may go down as one of the most puzzling chapters in the history of the legendary rap group.
Only one copy exists and the person who paid a reported $2 million to buy it, former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, was convicted of securities fraud in August and recently placed the one-of-a-kind album on eBay.
But the biggest question has been the album’s authenticity. Is there an album? And if so, is it an official Wu-Tang album?
Business Insider brought these questions up to Wu-Tang member Method Man on Thursday.
“Yeah, I think there is an actual album,” Method Man said, while promoting the show he’s currently on, HBO’s “The Deuce.” “As far as recording, that’s as far as my reach went. When I was informed how they were approaching selling the album, I kind of flipped out, because I was misinformed by the person who gave me the information. It’s hard for me to speak on it because I wasn’t in the loop.”
Since Shkreli bought the album it’s become a legend of its own.
Rumors of the concept coming to Wu-Tang leader RZA while atop the Great Pyramid of Khufu, and that Bill Murray (a friend of RZA’s) was contractually allowed to take the album off Shkreli’s hands in a heist, spread far and wide. And Shkreli flaunted it every chance he had, live-streaming tracks after Donald Trump was elected president, and getting into a public spat over the album with Wu member Ghostface Killah.
Recently the big debate is whether “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” is an official Wu-Tang album. Representatives for Method Man and fellow member U-God say it isn’t, and instead is the byproduct of tracks produced by Moroccan producer Tarik Azzougarh, also known as Cilvaringz.
Method Man, himself, doesn’t know.
“I wouldn’t know because I haven’t heard it,” he said. “I only know the tracks that I spit on. That is it.”
Looking back on the way the album was released, and the antics of Shkreli, Method Man thinks it was done all wrong.
“My personal opinion, I wouldn’t have done it that way,” he said. “I would have just gave it to the people at the end of the day. But you have people that have families to feed, things of that nature. And then to have someone [buy the album] that is pretty much disliked by a lot of people based off something that had nothing to do with hip-hop, that made it worse.”
Method Man said fans shouldn’t be bummed over not being able to hear the “Once Upon a Time” album because a new Wu album is coming out October 15, “Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues.” That’s definitely an official album, he said.
The rapper-actor didn’t seem that interested in talking about the Shkreli situation, but he was amused that one of the prospective jurors at Shkreli’s trial said in court, before being excused, that Shkreli “disrespected the Wu-Tang.”
“Yeah, you’ll be surprised how far that W stretches,” Method Man said.