Wu-Tang Clan has a new album dropping this fall, but the story of their unreleased $2 million record is far from over. Martin Shkreli is currently selling the one-of-a-kind album on eBay, but it turns out that Once Upon A Time In Shaolin might not even be a legitimate Wu-Tang Clan project. Representatives of multiple Wu-Tang Clan members say in a Bloomberg story that when the rappers recorded their contributions, they were under the impression it would be used on a project by Moroccan producer Cilvaringz, real name Tarik Azzougarh.
“When we did the verses, it was for a Cilvaringz album,” Method Man manager James Ellis said. “How it became a Wu-Tang album from there? We have no knowledge of that.” U-God’s manager Domingo Neris also said, “It’s not an authorized Wu-Tang Clan album. It never was.”
Neris went on to say that the real story behind Once Upon A Time In Shaolin is that Cilvaringz compiled pre-existing verses from Wu-Tang Clan members, which were recorded for his own projects, and used them to create the album without the full group’s permission:
“We’re very detailed about the quality and how we put our best foot forward. We would never have authorized anyone to put together a project and call it a Wu-Tang Clan record without us ever looking at it, hearing it, or being in the same room together. That’s just the way these guys work.”
Cilvaringz’s account of the project doesn’t sound too far off from Neris’ version of events, and his wording also doesn’t seem to strongly assert that Once Upon A Time In Shaolin is an official Wu-Tang project: “The album and its concept were an evolutionary process that spanned six years, too complex to explain in a soundbite. All participating Wu-Tang artists were paid in advance while RZA and I bore the financial risk of the project.”
So now, it looks like Shkreli, who was convicted of fraud and is now going to jail because of Hillary Clinton’s hair, may actually be the one who had the wool pulled over his eyes, to the tune of $2 million.