Take a kid with a dream. A legendary hip hop group. 6 years of secret recordings. A casing worthy of a king. A single artifact. Hallowed establishment institutions. An iconoclastic auction house. The world's foremost museum of modern art. A bidding war. Endless crises of conscience. An angry mob. A furious beef. A sale. A villain of Lex Luthor-like proportions. Bill Murray. The FBI. The internet gone wild.
In 2007, the innovative Wu-Tang Clan producer, Cilvaringz, feeling that digital downloads were threatening the music industry, took an incendiary idea to his mentor hip hop legend, RZA: create a unique physical copy of a secret Wu-Tang Clan album, to be encased in silver and sold through auction as a work of contemporary art. As such, it could never be commercialised - or pirated.
The plan raised a number of complex questions: Would selling one album for millions be the ultimate betrayal of rap music? Would hip hop fans support the project, even if it meant they could never buy the album? And could anyone justify the ultimate sale of the album to despised pharmaceutical mogul Martin Shkreli?
About the Author
Cyrus Bozorgmehr was the senior adviser on the Once Upon a
Time in Shaolin project and worked alongside Wu-Tang Clans RZA and
producer Cilvaringz. Born in England, he now lives in Marrakech,
"An epic battle between colorful, creative maniacal heroes and one of the blandest beta-villains of our time. I couldn't put it down." Patton Oswalt, comedian and bestselling author of Silver Screen Fiend "[An] utterly candid work...Bozorgmehr's stirring account gives readers the insider's view of musical outlaws who possessed the best intentions of elevating hip-hop from its street moorings to more stylish, chic surroundings, and whose efforts exploded in a crisis of bad media coverage and soulless pharmaceutical drug merchants."Publishers Weekly"A fantastic, gripping read from start to finish, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin takes us to the heart of the action and shows us what really went on behind closed doors with Wu Tang's most controversial album. A must-read for hip-hop fans and for anyone who wants the inside story into one of music's most talked-about events." Paul Edwards, author of The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music, How to Rap, and How to Rap 2"Once Upon a Time in Shaolin offers a front-row seat as Wu Tang Clan's maverick, idealistic attempt at a statement on the current state of the music industry and the symbiosis of art and money backfires, turning into a surreal caper featuring monumental ambitions, even more monumental egos, Bill Murray, the FBI, replica AK-47s, and, yes, arguably the most hated man in America. It's a music book unlike any other." Paul Fischer, author of A Kim Jong-Il Production