RZA says millions have been offered for one-off Wu-Tang Clan album

According to the rapper there has been a lot of interest in Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, of which there is only one copy

• Wu-Tang Clan producing one copy of new album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin

Wu-Tang Clan have already been offered as much as $5m (£3m) for their one-of-a-kind new album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

Announced last week, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is not just one of two new Wu-Tang records: the 128-minute double album will only be pressed once, in a unique edition that will tour festivals and galleries. According to RZA, there have already been numerous offers to purchase the music once it finishes its exhibition circuit.

"Offers came in at $2m (£1.2m), somebody offered $5m (£3m) yesterday," he recently told Billboard. "So far, $5m is the biggest number ... I've been getting a lot of emails [showing interest] – some from people I know, some from people I don't know, and they're also emailing other members of my organisation."

The only copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is reportedly enclosed in a handmade silver box and locked in a Moroccan vault. "Nobody else has a copy of this record, even the rest of the Clan," the album's producer, Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzougarh, explained in an interview with the Abu Dhabi National. "That secrecy is vital or the whole project is ruined." Cilvaringz also revealed that the Dubai-based promoter Wissam Khodur is a co-executive producer for the project, handling "financial management". "The reception has been amazing ... but this was all about trying to bring music back to the status of high art," he said.

According to Cilvaringz, the Wu-Tang Clan should be aiming a lot higher than just $5m. "Why can't Dr Dre or RZA have a similar value to a $50m painting by Andy Warhol? Artists such as Beethoven and Mozart are held in the same high esteem as Picasso and Michelangelo," he said. For RZA, the route to riches will be paved in ones: "If something is rare, it's rare," he said. "You cannot get another."

The Wu-Tang Clan have yet to announce a release date for Once Upon a Time in Shaolin or for its mass-produced counterpart, A Better Tomorrow. Their last full-length, 8 Diagrams, came out in 2007.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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