RZA has said he tried to get back Wu-Tang Clan‘s one-off ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ album back after Martin Shkreli was forced to hand it to US authorities.
The pharmaceuticals executive bought the record, of which there is only one copy in existence, from the group for $2 million. However, he was recently convicted of securities fraud and, as well as being sentenced to seven years in jail, has been ordered to give up ownership of the record.
Speaking to Rolling Stone about the record’s ongoing saga, RZA said: “I’ve actually tried to get it back, but the paperwork and the contract stops me from getting it back. When [Shkreli] put it on eBay, the first thing I did was call my lawyer, and I was like, ‘Yo, let’s go.’ And they said, ‘Alright, check your contract.’ And it’s no, you can’t do it. Ain’t that a bitch?”
When Shkreli purchased the album, he signed a contract agreeing to not sell it for 88 years and only play it for personal use. When Donald Trump was elected, he live-streamed clips of the album online.
RZA added that it was hard for him to sell the album in the first place because he “wanted it to be on my living room table.” “When it was finally completed and everything was sent out, I was like, ‘This would be great in the Wu mansion,'” he said. “Whoever comes by here can see this piece of art sitting my living room. I argued with the people that invested the money to get the project on its way, but they wanted [their investment] back.”
The rapper said he hoped the contract surrounding the album would be taken into account “because it was a legal, binding thing”. He also said he didn’t follow Shkreli’s case, but “if he did the crime […] then he has to serve the time for it.”
Shkreli first rose to fame after raising the price of Daraprim, a drug prescribed to HIV and AIDS sufferers, by 5,556 percent. He was ordered to forfeit $7.36 million in assets, including the Wu-Tang album, a Picasso painting, his WWII Enigma machine, and more, as part of his sentencing.