In March last year, Robert Diggs, better known as RZA, the producer and de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, the iconic rap group, announced that the Clan would create only one copy of its next album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and sell it to the highest bidder. And, that was Martin Shkreli – the most hated man in America for hiking the price of a critical drug by 5,000%. He splashed out $2 million on the unique album through online art marketplace Paddle8. He purchased the album after attending a private listening session, where he was told by Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes that he would have the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and rappers who would want to hear the record if he bought it.
“Then I really became convinced that I should be the buyer,” Shkreli told Bloomberg, adding that he also got to have lunch with RZA. “We didn’t have a ton in common,” he says. “I can’t say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him.”
The 31-track album is came in a hand-carved box, accompanied by a leather-bound book with 174 pages of parchment paper filled with lyrics and background on the songs.