Wu-Tang clan co-founder RZA has a certain obsession with the unique Once Upon On Time in Shaolin album of his group. In 2015 he sold it for $ 2 million to "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli. But now, the fate of the double LP housed in a filigree silver box is in the air as Shkreli has been jailed for securities fraud and a judge has ruled that he must lose $ 7.4 million of his assets – including [Shaolin – To the US Government
"I definitely read every article about it," RZA, who will film the film live The 36th Chamber of Shaolin touring this spring tells Rolling stone . "It's kinda crazy, the record has become a unit different from many albums, it's like the Mona Lisa it has its own folklore, and that's exactly what I wanted and [co-producer] Cilvaringz . "
But while the producers intended to create a fabulous work of art, they did not expect their legacy to take their current path. "It also has this little tabloid thing," says RZA, laughing. "Almost as if she had a naked woman on a cover, right? But I think it's very interesting … The last album I talked about, Jeff Sessions had it, I thought" Wow, that's crazy.
Earlier this month, Forbes reported that the Attorney General could control the future of the LP, though he later updated his story to reflect that his future was from the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District was decided by New York (with an addition indicating that Sessions is still indirectly head of the Department of Justice) and the album also became tabloid food when Shkreli – who had attempted to put a bad boy image online Projecting his real social pariah status – live streaming snippets of the rare album on Donald Trump's choice, he also tried to sell the album on eBay, which bid $ 1 million and eventually went unsold. (Shkrieli agreed [Shaolin [Shuolin [Shuolin [Shu & # 39; li] that he did not sell them for 88 years and played only for personal use.)
"It's like the Mona Lisa" RZA says about & # 39; Shaolin & # 39 ;. "It has its own folklore."
Now, Shkreli, who has rushed to seven years in prison for securities fraud to raise the price of a drug that could help people living with HIV and AIDS 56-fold. "I did not pursue his whole case," says RZA. "Look, no one likes the jail, I've been imprisoned a couple of times myself, I do not like it, do not advise it or give it to any man, and I'll do my best to get out of it, right?" But if he did the crime and he seems to have agreed that he committed the crime, then he has time to do it, that is part of our system, I would hope everything was done right, legal, right, and everyone came to a pure decision that was not motivated by anything but truth and justice, but if it's the lie that motivated people, then sometimes you get the backend. "
Regardless of Shkreli's fate, RZA hopes The Unique Record falls into the right hands. While he is glad that the plate has remained relevant as a work of art, he wants it to preserve its integrity. "I would hope that the clauses given to Mr. Shkreli will be respected because it was a legal, binding thing and I would only hope that whatever happens, all the things we thought protected what it was and what it stays intact, "he says. "The rules are important to me in life, I'm in the Writer's Guild of America, right? And I'm trying to follow the rule that they've laid down, the Code of Ethics, I'm supposed to be right When people break the rules we all agreed to, I think that's important to keep. "
RZA is so stubborn in terms of the rules, in part because he wishes he owned the album himself. When asked if he wanted to buy back the album from the government, he wobbles. "It was hard for me to sell this album," he says, "because I wanted it on my coffee table." He laughs. "When it was finally done and everything was sent, I thought: That would be great in the Wu-Villa. Whoever comes over here can see this artwork in my living room, I quarreled with the people who invested money to get the project off the ground, but they wanted [their investment] back, so it would have cost me more than that in reality, because of the deficit that has already been incurred. "Everyone is like," This is not for you, it's even more selfish than selling it. "They talked to me to let go of the thing.
"I actually tried to get it back," he continues, "but the paperwork and the contract prevent me from getting it back." When [Shkreli] it was on eBay, the first thing I did was my lawyer And I said, "Yo, let's go." And they said, "Well, check with your contract." And it's not, you can not do it. Is not that a bitch? "
When [Shkreli] it was on eBay, the first thing I did was to call my lawyer, and I said, "Yo, let's go."
Even if he I hope that his existence – and the fact that people are still talking about it – the conversation about the value of music is changing. "I got a lot of flak from the fans for the album," he says, "I've lost fans because they think I've done something which is not in the nature of Wu-Tang, I think they are wrong, but they will have their opinion, would not they? we tried to make music something that only the elite can have, and that is a far cry from reality. No, we just wanted to point out that you have a big conflict when you devalue something.
"I felt like we had lost the value of music," he continues. "We put everything before its value." We value our phones and headphones. "Kids pay $ 600 for headphones, but they do not pay a dollar for the music." Headphones are useless without the music. "Without the music, the iPod was useless. the phone was probably 50 percent used for music, it broke an industry, it's making a comeback now, because they found a way to monetize streaming, but that took years, I have to think about how many artists lost their way of life have been forced to leave the studio and just go on tour because the studio was not the place where they make their living making music about, OK, nobody really cares about that and we'll put a lot of emphasis on that We want to say: "This is what we think is worth it."