Buyer of $2 Million Wu-Tang Clan Album Is One of the Year’s Biggest Villains

Wu-Tang Clan
Wu-Tang Clan Suzi Pratt/FilmMagic

Cash (still) Rules. When legendary rap group the Wu-Tang Clan announced that they were only going to sell one copy of their next album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, to the highest bidder, fans immediately got upset. But things got even worse once it was revealed that the buyer was one of this year’s most controversial figures.

Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive responsible for hiking up the price of AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750, was the buyer. Bloomberg Business reports that Shkreli bought the album for around $2 million. 

The purchase came about after Shkreli attended a private listening party at which a select number of people got to listen to short excerpts from the group’s new music.

“Then I really became convinced that I should be the buyer,” he said.

Martin Shkreli, chief investment officer of MSMB Capital Management, sits for a photograph in his office in New York in 2011.
Martin Shkreli, chief investment officer of MSMB Capital Management, sits for a photograph in his office in New York in 2011. Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Shkreli told Bloomberg Business that his favorite Wu-Tang song is 1993’s “C.R.E.A.M,” which stands for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.”

Soon after the deal for the album closed, Shkreli’s scandal surrounding the drug Daraprim broke.

“I was a little worried that they were going to walk out of the deal,” he said. “But by then we’d closed. The whole kind of thing since then has been just kind of ‘Well, do we want to announce it’s him? Do we not want to announce it’s him?’ I think they were trying to cover their butts a little bit.”

Wu-Tang rapper RZA released a statement on the matter to Bloomberg Business, saying, “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. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”

The businessman claims he still hasn’t listened to the album.

“I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that,” Shkreli said. “But for now, I think I’m going to kind of save it for a rainy day.”

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