Cher has confirmed her appearance on Wu-Tang Clan's forthcoming one-of-a-kind album. The singer isis said to have recorded vocals on her own, rather than join the Wu-Tang rappers in the studio. "[Cher] recorded her parts separately, so I don't believe there was direct interaction," a spokesperson told Rolling Stone.
On Wednesday, Forbes released a short sample from Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, giving the public its first – and possibly its last – taste of the tightly guarded LP. Cher's voice can be heard at the end of the teaser; observant fans had already noted that an early Cher alias, Bonnie Jo Mason, is listed in the album's official credits.
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Wu-Tang Clan have said only one copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin exists, to be sold to the highest bidder after it tours galleries and universities around the world. Forbes reporter Zack O'Malley Greenburg was allowed to examine it at Marrakech's exclusive Royal Mansour hotel; it has now allegedly been moved to a secret location.
According to the album's producer, Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzougarh, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a conceptual record that evokes Wu-Tang's original, mid-90s sound. "This is the final time that you're going to be able to hear the guys as they were then," he added. Rappers' vocals were repeatedly rejected when they didn't seem ferocious enough. "It's difficult … to get brothers into that mode again – as if they just came off the street, as if they were still out there trying to make a living and surviving ... [But] the beats were aggressive, and [they] actually commanded the way they performed."
While Wu-Tang Clan may eventually sell the album through an official auction house, they have reportedly received private offers of as much as $5m £2.95m). Although fans launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy and share the LP's music, so far they have only raised about $15,000 (£8,800).
Meanwhile, Wu-Tang Clan are also working on another album, titled A Better Tomorrow. Band member RZA issued a 30-day ultimatum at the end of last month, claiming that if the group doesn't "come to terms" with Raekwon, who has yet to record his vocals, they could release the full-length album without him.