Martin Shkreli, known for raising the prices on AIDs medication by 5,000% purchased the only version of the album for 2 million dollars. Now a judge has ordered Shkreli to serve seven years in prison and to sell Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. One potential buyer is one is RZA, who sold the album to Shkreli.
Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, produced by Wu affiliate Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh and championed by group ringleader Robert “RZA” Diggs, had been produced in Morocco with new verses from the group’s original members and was sitting in a safe, awaiting purchase.
Shkreli had listed the album for sale on eBay and RZA tried to pounce on the opportunity, the rapper told Rolling Stone. “The first thing I did was call my lawyer, and I was like, ‘Yo, let’s go,’” RZA said.
However, he was unable to pull the trigger due to contracts that were signed during the initial sale.
“They said, ‘All right, check with your contract.’ And it’s no, you can’t do it. Ain’t that a bitch?” he said of the conversation had with his lawyers about buying the record.
What will come of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is still an unknown. Earlier this month, Department of Justice ordered Shkreli, who was recently sentenced to seven years in prison, to forfeit the album to the United States government.
“I definitely read every article about it,” RZA, who will be live-scoring the movie The 36th Chamber of Shaolinon tour this spring, tells Rolling Stone. “It’s kind of crazy. The record has become an entity, very different from a lot of albums. It’s like the Mona Lisa. It’s got its own folklore, and that’s what me and [co-producer] Cilvaringz wanted.”
Shkreli, who rose to infamy for raising the price of a drug that could help people with HIV and AIDS by a factor of 56 times, is serving seven years in jail for securities fraud.
Shkreli’s lawyers are currently appealing the forfeiture order.