Government Releases Official Images of Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ Album

Wu-Tang Clan’s album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was sold last July by the US government, the price it sold for has not been made public.

The US government has shared new images of Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-one album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

You may remember back in 2015, the album which only was created as a single copy release was initially sold to pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli for $2 million. In 2018, Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud, he was then ordered to hand over $7.36 million in assets. The album was included in the assets that were seized by US marshals per BuzzFeed

The timeline then notes that in July 2021 the Justice Department announced an anonymous buyer had been found. A price wasn’t identified. According to The New York Times attorney Peter Scoolidge, a representative of the crypto collective PleasrDAO, said the buyers paid the US $4 million. The new buyers are able to display the album in its original box featuring the group’s embedded logo. No copies of the album are to be made. The buyers must abide by the same terms Shkreli previously agreed to in his purchase agreement. 

Photo Credit: BuzzFeed

54 new images of the album show that it’s held inside a “nickel silver box stored in a cedarwood box and covered in black cow leather with light beige velvet lining.” Additionally, it includes a 175-page leather-bound lyric book. Images of the two CDs, titles of the 20 songs, and the lyric book have been redacted by the government. The images and bill of sale were obtained through a Freedom of Information lawsuit. 

Wu-Tang Clan said one copy of the album was created as “a form of protest ​​of the way music had been devalued in the digital era.

Two months ago in an interview, RZA declared he regretted selling the album to Shkreli, he added he believed it was in the wrong hands once it was sold to him. Following the PleasrDAO purchase, he shared he’s optimistic about what’s to come. 

Take a look at the images of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin here.


Robyn Mowatt

Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind on Twitter at @robyn_mowatt.

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Robyn Mowatt

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