Wu-Tang Clan is releasing one copy of its new album — to a museum

FILE - This Sept. 29, 2012 file photo shows RZA at the BET Hip-Hop Honors in Atlanta. RZA , the 44-year-old Wu-Tang leader and producer, says he's still six weeks or so away from finishing the Clan's overdue new album "A Better Tomorrow." (Photo by John Amis/Invision/AP, File)
Wu-Tang leader RZA at the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Honors. (Photo by John Amis/Invision/AP)

One of the most well-regarded rap groups of all time, Wu-Tang Clan, is releasing an album.

An album. As in, one copy, that only one person can own, for an as-yet undetermined price, expected to be in the millions of dollars. It’s enshrined in a custom-designed, hand-crafted locked box, marked with the Wu-Tang insignia.

It looks like something you’d use to house your jewelry. The good stuff. The real stuff.

“The album encapsulates the Clan’s legendary dark funk and avant garde sound and is produced in the original Wu Tang style of the 90s,” the group proclaims on the album’s website. “This is the first high-profile album never to be commercially released to the public and the first of its kind in the history of music.”

Artists are resorting to all sorts of gimmicks, the “AV Club” points out, to market their albums.

In a release strategy that makes Beck’s recent distribution of sheet music look like a personalized mix-tape, the sole copy of “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” will be encased inside an engraved silver-and-nickel box designed by British-Moroccan artist Yahya, and then taken on a tour through museums, art galleries, and festivals. There—and only there—visitors will be able to listen to all 128 minutes of its 31 songs on headphones, and only after enduring a rigorous security check to eliminate the risk of any recording devices. Once the album has completed that tour, it will then be sold to a single buyer for a price estimated to be “in the millions.” Because Wu-Tang is for the children—the children on museum field trips, and the children of very rich people.

The group recorded “The Wu — Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” a 31-track double album, in secret, taking several years to do it. Take that, Beyoncé!

Wu-Tang is still releasing an album through more traditional methods, however. The group’s long overdue “A Better Tomorrow” will come out this summer, “Forbes” reported.

“I know it sounds crazy,” producer Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh told Forbes in an exclusive interview. “It might totally flop, and we might be completely ridiculed. But the essence and core of our ideas is to inspire creation and originality and debate, and save the music album from dying.”

 

H/t The AV Club

 

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on race and gender issues.
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