In a new interview on Hot 97‘s Ebro in the Morning show, Wu-Tang Clan‘s RZA spoke out about the one-of-a-kind Once Upon A Time In Shaolin album, its original sale to the convicted felon, “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, and its recent sale to the crypto collective PleasrDAO.
The strange and twisted saga of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin dates back over half a decade to 2015 when Wu-Tang Clan announced it would sell the unreleased album at auction to the highest bidder. Months after the album sold for $2 million, it was revealed that the infamous Shkreli had made the purchase—not long after making headlines when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price on life-saving medication, Daraprim, by over 5000%.
That very same year, Shkreli was arrested on charges of securities fraud before being convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison in 2017. As part of his sentencing, the courts made Shkreli sell assets, which included the Once Upon A Time In Shaolin album. For nearly five years, the album remained in the hands of the U.S. Department of Justice before being sold earlier this year. Earlier this month it was revealed that a cryptocurrency collective, PleasrDAO, secured the album in a brokered deal with the government, and the organization has plans to allow fans to hear the album.
In his first public appearance since the news broke, RZA gave his thoughts on the entire situation, including the auction with Shkreli and the new owners of the elusive Wu-Tang gem.
On Shkreli, RZA noted, “It was in the wrong hands in reality. He made the deal before it was revealed of his character, his personality, and all of the insidious things he would go on to do. That wasn’t the guy I met, but he definitely unfolded into that guy.” He continued, “No disrespect to Martin Shkreli, because I don’t knock somebody who, you know—somebody buys something, they buy something, right? But, you know, it was in the wrong hands.”
RZA then went on to talk about his hopes for the album with regards to its new owner. He explained how Shkreli never fulfilled his plans to host the album in museum exhibits or listening parties, but hoped that PleasrDAO would make good on those promises.
RZA also posited that the representative for PleasrDAO, Jamis Johnson, “had more of a Wu vibe about him. Wu is a vibe, you know what I mean? I strive to say it’s a vibe of positivity, even with the aggression, even with the rah-rah, even with growing up on the crime side. It’s a family and it’s positiveness.”
Watch RZA talk about Martin Shkreli, PleasrDAO, and Once Upon A Time In Shaolin on Ebron in the Morning below.
RZA Interview with Ebron in the Morning