U.S. Government Releases Photos of Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ Album
The lengthy back-and-forth surrounding the Wu-Tang Clan's 2015 album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, has been ongoing for years and now, images of the physical album have been released.
Buzzfeed obtained photos of the effort and documents that correspond with the sale of the album from the Department of Justice by way of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Wednesday (Jan. 5).
The pictures display the album, which rests in a nickel silver box that is stored in a cedarwood case, donning the Wu-Tang Clan logo—designed by British Moroccan artist Yahya Rouach—covered in black cow leather and light beige-colored velvet lining. The images additionally show a 175-page leather-bound lyric book that contains artwork and photographs, as well as a gold-leafed certificate of authenticity. There is also a leather folder that holds the purchase agreement. You can see the photos at the bottom of this post.
Due to "trade secrets," the government redacted photos of the two CDs, the song titles and the lyric book. This is also the reason the price that the one-of-a-kind CD was sold for has been withheld although reports claim it was purchased from the U.S. government in July of last year by digital art collective PleasrDAO for $4 million.
The 2015 album, when purchased and delivered to its new owners, was sealed with "tamper-proof evidence tape." It is also prohibited from being reproduced.
In 2018, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was seized from pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, along with $7.4 million in assets, after he pleaded guilty to securities fraud. The LP was auctioned in 2015, and purchased by the "Pharm Bro" via eBay for over $1 million.
The Staten Island, N.Y. rap collective released Once Upon a Time in Shaolin as a single-copy as a protest against the devaluation of the digital music era.
Last October, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan spoke in an interview on his regret for their album ending up in Shkreli's hands.