“One leak of this thing nullifies the entire concept.”
Wu-Tang Clan have recorded a double album in secret to be released in a single copy housed in a mysterious silver container.
According to Forbes, who spoke to RZA about the project, The Wu – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin will be taken on tour to museums, galleries and festivals with punters paying for the opportunity to hear it. Visitors will go through heavy security to ensure that no devices are used to record the 128-minute, 31 song record.
“One leak of this thing nullifies the entire concept,” said the album’s main producer Tarik ‘Cilvaringz’ Azzougarh, a Morocco-based member of Wu-Tang’s extended family.
Once the album completes its tour, Wu-Tang will make it available for a price “in the millions.”
“We’re about to sell an album like nobody else sold it before,” said RZA. “We’re about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music. We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.”
Once Upon A Time In Shaolin – an entirely separate project from the group’s forthcoming 20th anniversary album, A Better Tomorrow – is being helmed by The Carmen Clandestine Experience, which bills itself as “the world’s first private music service”.
The record’s origins date back to 1997 when RZA met Cilvaringz, then an 18-year-old studying entertainment law and music management in Amsterdam, and brought him into the Wu-Tang fold.
After relocating to Marrakech, the young producer started working on a project that eventually became Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, with contributions from Wu-Tang members plus a few guests (reportedly including Redman, FC Barcelona players and ‘Bonnie Jo Mason’– a pseudonym of Cher’s. We’re as baffled as you are).
Back in 2012 Cilvaringz wrote a message on Wu-Tang’s fan forum to announce that the album was nearly complete, saying “everybody’s on it, multiple times. 25 tracks, 4 interludes.”
“It took a long time,” Cilvaringz told Forbes. “After five years, I’m sitting here and I’m like, ‘Am I really going to release this record and see it die after a week?’”
After that he and RZA came up with the idea of making just one copy, inspired by seeing Jay-Z buy up 100 copies of Nipsey Hussle’s $100 mixtape.
“I know it sounds crazy,” added Cilvaringz. “It might totally flop, and we might be completely ridiculed. But the essence and core of our ideas is to inspire creation and originality and debate, and save the music album from dying.”
Meanwhile RZA sees it as a way of establishing Wu’s legacy long into the future: “There will be a time when we can’t tour, and that’s just the natural evolution of man,” he said. “And yet this particular privatized album, I think—this idea we have—will be something that will go longer than all of us.”
Check out Forbes for the full story.