The Wu-Tang Clan’s 2014 announcement that they were producing only one copy of their new album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and selling it to the highest bidder seemed ridiculous from the get-go. Who had money to burn on such a luxury item? “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, that’s who.
It was recently announced that the album had officially been sold. Some fans speculated the buyer may have been famous Wu-Tang fan and RZA collaborator Quentin Tarantino, but Bloomberg Business reveals the real buyer was actually Shkreli, who recently made waves when his company Turing Pharmaceuticals bought an AIDS drug called Darapim and raised the price from $13.50 a pill to a staggering $750. Bloomberg reports that RZA and his collaborators became eager to hide Shkreli’s identity as their million-dollar buyer after that public kerfuffle.
“The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s [sic] business practices came to light,” RZA wrote to Bloomberg in an email. “We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”
But just as he refused to recant for his price-gouging (“this is actually what I’ve been hired to do. It’s like someone criticizing a basketball player for scoring too many points”), Shkreli doesn’t apologize spending a reported $2 million on a huge album from an artist he barely cares about. According to Bloomberg, he met with RZA in person before the sale and noted, “We didn’t have a ton in common.” In fact, he apparently hasn’t even listened to Once Upon a Time in Shaolin yet.
“I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that,” says Shkreli, who once joked about buying Katy Perry’s guitar so she would go on a date with him. “But for now, I think I’m going to kind of save it for a rainy day.”