Fans Get Rare Chance to Hear Wu-Tang Clan’s One-of-a-Kind Album

By Stu Kelly / May 28, 2024

In an unprecedented move, fans of the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan are finally getting the opportunity to experience their elusive album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Shrouded in mystery and exclusivity, the album was initially recorded in secret and released as a single copy, making it one of the most sought-after pieces of modern history. The album will be on display at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) on the Australian island of Tasmania. From June 15 to 24, a select number of lucky fans will have the opportunity to listen to the album in its entirety, an experience previously reserved for only a handful of individuals.

Originally conceived as both a work of art and a statement on the value of music in the digital age, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was sold in 2015 to the controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli for $2 million USD. Following Shkreli’s arrest and conviction on unrelated charges, the album was seized by the U.S. government and later sold to an undisclosed buyer. Throughout these years, the public had little more than rumors and snippets to go on, as the album remained largely unheard.

This week, in a stunning turn of events, the album was announced to be available for public listening. The decision to unveil the album to the public was made by the current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous but expressed a desire to honor the original intent of the project—to appreciate music as a true art form.

“After years of speculation and anticipation, we are thrilled to finally share this unique piece of music history with the world,” said a representative for the owner. “We believe that Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is more than just an album – it’s a cultural artifact that deserves to be experienced by fans and music enthusiasts alike.”

The album will be presented as part of an immersive exhibition that explores the album’s creation, journey, and impact. Visitors will have the opportunity to listen to the album in its entirety, along with viewing exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the Wu-Tang Clan members, and insights into the conceptualization of this extraordinary project.

Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, who was deeply involved in the album’s creation, expressed his excitement about the album finally reaching the public. “This album was always meant to be a celebration of our art and our legacy,” RZA stated. “It’s amazing to see it come full circle and be shared in a way that honors its original vision.”

Fans and art aficionados eagerly anticipate this rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Wu-Tang Clan and experience Once Upon a Time in Shaolin as it was meant to be heard – as a timeless piece of musical artistry.

The album will feature as part of Mona’s “Namedropping” exhibition, which delves into the concept of rare objects that transcend their material existence and possess almost mystical properties. “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is more than just an album,” said Jarrod Rawlins, Mona’s director of curatorial affairs. “When I was thinking about status and what a transcendent namedrop could be, I knew I had to get it into this exhibition.”

The exhibition will run for a little over a week, and attendees will need to secure limited free tickets for these curated private listening sessions. The anticipation surrounding this event is immense, as it provides a rare chance to experience an album deliberately designed to challenge the modern music industry’s norms.

Tickets for the exhibition will go on sale starting June 1, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to music education programs in underserved communities, in keeping with Wu-Tang Clan’s commitment to giving back.

As the world prepares to hear the mythical album finally, one thing is sure: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is poised to make history once again, solidifying Wu-Tang Clan’s legacy as pioneers and visionaries in the world of music.

About the author

Stu Kelly