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RZA Speaks On The Wu-Tang Business Model And Secret Album

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

RZA spoke with Billboard recently to clear up some things on the recently unveiled plan to release a single copy Wu-Tang's secret album The Wu: Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, which will be toured across the globe through galleries and museums as an exhibit and then sold to the highest bidder once it finishes the runs. Clearly, a lot of us are in a bit of a fritz over the implications of such a limited release, which is clearly geared towards uniting the fine art and music worlds. Luckily, the Wu archetype was willing to speak to the method behind the project and how he foresees the venture playing out.  Below you can find some of the most compelling excerpts from that sit-down, but for the full script head over to Billboard. You can also watch trailers for his upcoming high-octane action flick features Brick Mansions and The Protector 2. 

On the most recent bid:

"To be honest with you, I've been getting a lot of emails: Some from people I know, some from people I don't know. Offers came in at $2 million, somebody offered $5 million yesterday, and they're also emailing other members of my organization. So far, $5 million is the biggest number. I don't know how to measure it, but it gives us an idea that what we're doing is being understood by some. 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."

On what the highest bidder actually gets:

"We're trying to put it under the same definition as a work of art, and when you buy art from a gallery it becomes your property, right? I'm not 100 percent educated on the deeper ramifications of art, but in theory, I would think that it's like when you bought a picture, it's your picture. I know there's other stipulations that's gonna pop up, but we understand this is a piece of art, so we should accept the terms of that."

Addressing the Wu business model:

"This can change the idea and the venue of music. This is still a flower that's unfolding -- there's still more layers that have to blossom -- and this is only part one. It's a three-tiered idea, and I think you'll appreciate each one, especially since you calculate what's going on in this business. [The music industry has considered] changing how you measure gold and platinum -- [the definition could be based on] what it generates. So I think this is gonna be a whole different model.

I understand that people need to get the music, but the unfortunate thing for me as a producer and an artist is that to make a Wu-Tang record costs a lot of money! It's nine guys, musicians, and studios still cost a thousand dollars or more a day. So here we've got something we spent years developing and we're saying, it ain't just music, it's a piece of art, it's a capture of time… my phone's about to cut off."