Extremely Rare Wu-Tang Clan Album Will Play at Australian Museum Later This Year

Wu Tang Clan Performing In 2019

Photo: benhoudijk/Depositphotos

The hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan has the unique honor of having the most expensive album ever sold. There is only one CD of their studio album titled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin in existence, making it one of the rarest records in the world. But luckily for music connoisseurs and Wu-Tang Clan fans alike, Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) is set to show the album as part of an exhibit later this year, providing a once-in-a-lifetime listening opportunity.

The coveted album was recorded in Staten Island, New York, and was produced between 2006 and 2013. It features all nine surviving members of the group, as well as vocals from Cher and Game of Thrones actress, Carice van Houten. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin has 31 recorded tracks and comes in an ornate nickel box along with a certificate of authenticity and a leather-bound manuscript with lyrics. Until now, only a handful of people have heard some of the songs, as the album has a legal condition that states it cannot be released for 88 years.

Wu-Tang Clan, which consisted of ten members and started in Staten Island in the 1990s, is a revolutionary group known for their gritty New York City sound that helped shape east coast hip-hop. Their 1993 debut album, titled Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), is widely considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, and helped inspire many rappers and artists who came after them.

In addition to its musical value, the physical copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin itself also has an interesting history. The sole copy of the album was originally bought by former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli for $2 million in 2015, who streamed snippets of the songs online following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It was then seized by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2021 following Shkreli's conviction for securities fraud, after which it was sold to a group of NFT buyers for $4 million. This group, known as PleasrDAO, are the ones lending the album to Mona.

The museum will offer 30 minute listening sessions to a handful of lucky guests from June 15-24 as part of their Namedropping exhibit. The waitlist has already filled up, but it is worth checking back to see if there are any openings. To read more about the exhibit, check out Mona's website.

Wu-Tang Clan: Website | Instagram | Spotify
Mona: Website

h/t: [ARTnews]

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Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
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