RZA tells us why he ‘will always respect’ Martin Shkreli for ‘making history’ with Wu-Tang Clan album

"Even with all the negative things he's done, for music there's something positive there"

Wu-Tang Clan‘s RZA has said that he will ‘always respect’ controversial businessman Martin Shkreli for helping them ‘make history’ with their album ‘Once Upon A Time With The Shaolin’. Watch our video interview with Wu-Tang above.

Millionaire Shkreli, who was recently jailed for fraud, notoriously purchased the sole copy of the legendary hip-hop group’s ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ album back in 2015. He then put the album up for sale in September and got $1,025,100 for it.

Speaking to NME for this week’s cover story, RZA said that he had no regrets about the transaction – and felt no ill-will towards Shkreli for selling the record on.

<p>New York rappers Wu Tang Clan sold the ONLY copy of their album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ to a mystery buyer for $2m. That buyer turned out to be the universally reviled Martin Shkreli, a CEO who bought a drug used to treat AIDS and jacked its price from $13.50 per pill to $750. Wu Tang head honcho RZA was aghast and pledged to donate “a significant portion” of the cash to charity.</p>New York rappers Wu Tang Clan sold the ONLY copy of their album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ to a mystery buyer for $2m. That buyer turned out to be the universally reviled Martin Shkreli, a CEO who bought a drug used to treat AIDS and jacked its price from $13.50 per pill to $750. Wu Tang head honcho RZA was aghast and pledged to donate “a significant portion” of the cash to charity.

“[It was a ]total success that we can thank Martin,” RZA told NME. ” For being a guy who put his word on something and did it. I didn’t agree with the eBay thing, but when I read his paragraph on why he did it, I kind of respected and understood what he said.

“He wants the value of music to continue. Within eight days the bidding reached over a million dollars, and that means there are other people who put value on music and value on what we stand on… So even with all the negative things he’s done, for music there’s something positive there.”

Asked about Wu-Tang’s current relationship with Shkreli, RZA said: “I know he’s in the penal institution now [for security fraud, and conspiracy to commit security fraud]. I don’t like that for no man, but he has to deal with [what] he has to deal with.

“They say don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time – but we made history together, that part I will always respect.”

RZA

Shkreli has also proved unpopular after his firm Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price of Aids medication drug Daraprim by 5556% from £10 to £577. Known for his extravagant, self-publicising lifestyle, Shkreli has frequently been labelled the most unpopular man in America and has called himself “The world’s biggest heel”.

‘The Saga Continues’ by Wu-Tang Clan is out now.