When Wu-Tang Clan announced that they’d be releasing a single copy of their upcoming album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, some wondered how it would be received. Well, it seems like they’re about to cash in.
“Offers came in at $2 million, somebody offered $5 million yesterday,” RZA told Billboard this week. “I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails: some from people I know, some from people I don’t know, and they’re also e-mailing other members of my organization.”
It’s not just that they’ll be pressing only one hard copy — or that its price may tip into the multi-millions — that makes this release unique. Last month, RZA revealed plans to put the album on display at museums for its initial release. Fans will be able to pay an entrance fee, likely between $30 and $50, to absorb the project in the same space they would any other exhibit.
“The idea that music is art has been something we advocated for years,” he told Forbes in March. “And yet it doesn’t receive the same treatment as art in the sense of the value of what it is, especially nowadays when it’s been devalued and diminished to almost the point that it has to be given away for free.”
The 31-track album will travel and be housed in a special handcrafted case, and initial reports say that all of the Staten Island group’s members will appear on it. The other project they’ve got in the works, A Better Tomorrow, is scheduled to drop this summer. As for Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, RZA said the album’s anticipation makes him feel like his art is understood.
“I don’t know how to measure it, but it gives us an idea that what we’re doing is being understood by some,” he added, reacting to the early offers. “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.”