As a longtime fan of Wu-Tang Clan, this is a little bit like seeing the One Ring end up in the hands of Sauron. Bloomberg is reporting that the lone copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s secret new album has been purchased by Martin Shkreli, the hated “Pharma Bro” whose company Turing Pharmaceuticals decided to jack up the price of an important AIDS-related drug called Daraprim from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet.
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Bloomberg’s sources say Shkreli paid roughly $2 million to buy the secret Wu-Tang Clan album, which is titled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The album itself comes in a silver-and-nickel box that Forbes reported last year “was handcrafted over the course of three months by British-Moroccan artist Yahya, whose works have been commissioned by royal families and business leaders around the world.”
Shkreli has confirmed to Bloomberg that he did buy the album and he tells them that he was worried that the group would try to take it back from him after news blew up about him gouging AIDS patients for important treatments. By then, however, the sale had already closed and Shkreli now gets to keep the album and decide what to do with it.
Wu-Tang Clan member RZA explained to Bloomberg that his group had no idea that the man they were selling their secret album to would one day go on to become the despised Pharma Bro of Internet legend.
“The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s [sic] business practices came to light,” he told Bloomberg in an email. “We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”
As for Shkreli, you won’t be surprised to learn that he’s decided to be a jerk about owning the album and will keep its contents to himself. In fact, he hasn’t even listened to it yet and he says he’ll only do so under special circumstances — e.g., if Taylor Swift ever wanted to come over to his house and listen to it with him.
He also has no sympathy for Wu-Tang fans who want to hear the album’s contents.
“They didn’t buy the last album or the one before that, and all they had to pay was $10,” he tells Bloomberg.