According to Forbes, auction house Paddle8 sold the gilded mystery album by the Wu-Tang Clan, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin to a “private American collector” for a price “in the millions.” The purchase was actually made in May, but it has taken until now to wrap the deal in red tape with a nice neat bow. The owner of the single copy, Executive Produced by Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, has to wait 88 years before the copyright is transferred to them.
“We pioneered a new type of intellectual property regarding the sale of a work that is simultaneously physical and digital, creating previously unexplored legal protections for a unique work that cannot be reproduced,” added Paddle8 cofounder Alexander Gilkes. “This marks an exciting new model of distribution for the music world and we look forward to playing an ongoing role in this innovative model.”
So who was the wealthy hip-hop fan/art collector who is willing to wait until the year 2103 to let the world hear this Wu-Tang Clan masterpiece? We are speculating based on those with the financial resources and motivation to do so.
5. Eddie Huang
Estimated Net worth: $2 Million
The American restaurateur, chef, author, lawyer and TV producer has never hidden his affinity for hip-hop music and culture. The 33-year-old of Taiwanese parentage has amassed wealth in various corners of the hip-hop entertainment and lifestyle galaxy. His blog-turned-book-turned-TV show, “Fresh Off The Boat” documents his experience as a first generation progeny of immigrants who falls in love with the Wu-Tang Clan and other artists as a kid in the 90s. With his net worth valued at around $2 Million the Clan album is within his financial reach, but we could easily see the multi-hyphenate lawyer procuring the album just to flip the story of owning it into a film or other venture that would double his investment.
4. Donald Glover
Estimated Net Worth: $4.5 Million
The rapper, actor and stand-up comedian obtained the name for his rapping alter ego, Childish Gambino, from a Wu-Tang name generator. Glover’s Wu fandom reached a peak on “American Royalty,” a song he recorded with RZA in 2012. With his latest turn as a reclusive scientist in The Martian Glover may have been inspired to preserve the project for our alien progenitors.
3. Dave Chappelle
Estimated Net Worth: $10 Million
Is there a bigger fan of Wu-Tang with millions to burn than Chappelle? The King of Comedy had clan members appear in several skits of his classic show on Comedy Central and even evoked thew crew in a hilarious “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” sketch. Given his unique sense of humor and deep appreciation for hip-hop, who else could see the punchline in a Wu-Tang album encased in Indiana Jones level titanium case that no one can hear for 88 years?
2. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Estimated Net worth: $300 Million
The now retired undefeated pugilist once owned a recording studio, Philthy Rich Records, in Las Vegas and joined the long and unfortunate list of athletes who have tried to spin their popularity into rap careers. However, before Floyd tried to trade punches for punchlines he appeared in Raekwon’s video to “100 Rounds,” from his 1999 album Immobilarity. With ties to 50 Cent and Ludacris and a lengthy list of namedrops on record, his sphere of influence in hip-hop is pretty substantial and he has made plenty of grandiose displays of his opulence on social media. What bigger stunt could there be than to buy the single copy of an album that only he will get to hear? And we’re sure he’s lost more on the gambling table than the winning bid for this album.
Estimated Net Worth: $100 Million
Kanye’s deep appreciation for RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan is well documented. Not only did the Abbot co-produce the title track to “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and the ode to matrimony “White Dress,” but Yeezy had him lend vocals to “So Appalled” and fulfilled a life long wish of fans wanting to see RZA and Jay Z “connect” on “New Day.” Considering his deep pockets and love of the Clan we could easily see Kanye dropping 7 figures for a one-of-a-kind Wu-tang project that he could leave for his kids that the paparazzi couldn’t photograph.