Wu-Tang Clan To Produce Single Copy Of Ultra-Expensive, Secret Album To Question Value Of Music

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The Wu-Tang Clan, one of rap’s biggest and most influential acts, recently announced that they plan to release a single, hyper-expensive copy of an unreleased, secretly recorded record, to bring about debates about the current value of music. To heighten the value of their project, the owner will not only own the thirty songs on the album, but also the casing, which Forbes Magazine’s Zack O’Malley Greenburg describes as, “The lustrous container was handcrafted over the course of three months by British-Moroccan artist Yahya, whose works have been commissioned by royal families and business leaders around the world. Soon, it will contain a different sort of art piece: the Wu-Tang Clan’s double-album The Wu – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, recorded in secret over the past few years.”

Says the de facto leader of the boundary pushing hip-hop group, Robert ‘RZA’ Diggs, “We’re about to sell an album like nobody else sold it before. “We’re about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music. We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.” 

On a site titled ezclziv scluzay (“exclusive-ly”), the RZA explains the concept behind the album, “History demonstrates that great musicians such as Beethoven, Mozart and Bach are held in the same high esteem as figures like Picasso, Michelangelo and Van Gogh. However, the creative output of today’s artists such as The RZA, Kanye West or Dr. Dre, is not valued equally to that of artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst or Jean-Michel Basquiat…Is exclusivity versus mass replication really the 50 million dollar difference between a microphone and a paintbrush? Is contemporary art overvalued in an exclusive market, or are musicians undervalued in a profoundly saturated market?”

Plans have already begun to “tour” the listening party, as well as the one-of-a-kind album itself, at major museums across the world, before it becomes available for purchase. Will this gesture be enough to bring music sharing back to its pre-Napster value? As stated at the end of the site’s Edictum “This album is a piece of contemporary art. The debate starts here…” (via Forbes)

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