One of the most puzzling stories of the past decade is Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. The one-of-one album was bought by Pharmabro Martin Shkreli who actually threatened to remove Ghostface Killah from the project entirety. Shkreli had acquired the project for roughly $2M but it was ultimately seized by the federal government and sold in order to satisfy a $7.4M forfeiture order.
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It re-sold, once again, this past summer to anonymous buyers for double that of what Shkreli coughed up. The album sold for $4M “in a complex deal with multiple parties, one of whom remains unidentified,” the Times reported at the time.
Now, the New York Times has officially unmasked the new owners of the album — PleasrDAO, a collective of NFT collectors and digital artists. PleasrDAO became the owners of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin on Sept. 10th and is currently storing the collectible album in a “vault” in New York City. Their intent with the album is far less sinister than Shkreli who once threatened to destroy the album entirely. PleasrDAO hopes to make the project more publicly available, though they will still need approval from RZA and Cilvaringz. The rules surrounding the album ordered the owners not to share the album to the general public until 88 years after its release.
Though the album was released prior to NFTs, there has been a blockchain created as an ownership deed of the album. “This album at its inception was a kind of protest against rent-seeking middlemen, people who are taking a cut away from the artist,” PleasrDAO’s Jamis Johnson told the New York Times. “The album itself is kind of the O.G. NFT.”
Maybe we’ll be able to listen ot the album in our lifetime. Hopefully.