There’s been a lot of discussion about the top-secret Wu-Tang Clan double-album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, since the record was announced a year ago. The Staten Island hip-hop collective had announced that only one copy of this album would be made, and then auctioned off to the highest bidder. Since then, it has been revealed that all backup’s for the album have been destroyed, and that it will be sold through Paddle8, a private online auction house. Now, an even more intriguing factor has been brought up regarding this singular project, as Once Upon a Time in Shaolin producer Cilvaringz says the album is intended to see a wide public release… it just won’t happen for another 88 years.
Cilvaringz explained to Forbes yesterday that per agreement, after 88 years, the album’s commercial and public rights will transfer to the owner. After that, the owner can do whatever they want with their sole copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The RZA, the group’s de facto leader, gave a detailed explanation for why the group settled on such a long duration of time:
“Anyone who knows the Wu-Tang Clan knows that we often apply numerology, mathematics and symbolism to the things we do. There were 8 original members of the Clan when we made ‘Protect Ya Neck’ and ‘M.E.T.H.O.D Man.’ The individual numbers of this year also add up to the number 8. The broker of this work carries the number 8 in its name. The number 8 on its side is a symbol of infinity, as it was used on our album ‘Wu-Tang Forever.’ You can call it mathematical coincidence, but it’s always had great symbolic significance for us. For us it also addresses the issue of music’s longevity in a time of mass production and short attention spans. Nothing about this record revolves around short-term gains, but rather around the legacy of the music and the statement we’re making.”
The RZA also says the album has a sound that’s evocative of the group’s first LP, 1993’s Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, and also that it is 31 tracks long and was recorded partly in Staten Island. The album also has received some attention as it has unconventional guest appearances for a hip-hop release on it, such as Dutch actress Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones), Cher, and members of the soccer club FC Barcelona. Other more regulatory Wu-Tang collaborators, such as Redman and Blue Raspberry, have also been confirmed to have appearances on Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.
A listening session for samples from the album was held yesterday at MOMA PS1 in Queens, with RZA, Cilvarings, and Sasha Frere-Jones holding a conversation afterwards. It’s also been reported that the idea to bring the album on a listening tour before it was auctioned has been scrapped, as it was decided that this would discourage buyers. The group still says that this single-copy tactic is an attempt to return music back to fine-art status, which they feel it hasn’t experienced in centuries.
FDRMX Eyes: Rock band G.O.A.T. is comprised of five members, with Fane Jerry as the frontwoman. G.O.A.T. has released their music video entitled “Dead Thing.”