This dope may have been duped.
Since 2016, embattled pharma bro Martin Shkreli has been touting the lone copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s latest project, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” but Bloomberg reports the 31-track double CD — which he paid $ 2 million for — may not be what he thought.
Killa Sin, real name Jeryl Grant, told the publication he was approached by Moroccan producer Cilvaringz to provide a few verses for a project he didn’t believe to be associated with Wu-Tang Clan.
“The way he presented it,” Killa Sin said, “was it was going to be basically his album, and he wanted me to do some work for him.”
The New York native later learned that his verses had been featured on “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” now the most expensive album ever sold.
Managers Domingo Neris and James Ellis agreed, telling Bloomberg two members of Wu Tang Clan also recorded verses with Cilvaringz, born Tarik Azzougarh, under the guise that it was for something he was working on under his own name.
“It’s not an authorized Wu-Tang Clan album,” Domingo Neris, who manages U-God, said. “It never was.”
“When we did the verses, it was for a Cilvaringz album,” Ellis, who manages Method Man, added. “How it became a Wu-Tang album from there? We have no knowledge of that.”
Rapper Shyheim Franklin told Bloomberg he’s uncertain he was featured on “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” but would like to find out. He told the publication he worked with Cilvaringz in Staten Island a few years ago, but was not told it was for anything tied to Wu-Tang.
“I’d like my cut of that $ 2 million,” he said.
Martin Shkreli’s selling “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” on EBay amid concerns about whether the project actually is a Wu-Tang Clan album.
He then said he’d be willing to speak with Shkreli, joking that he had some work the controversial public figure could purchase.
“Tell him there is an unreleased Shyheim album he can buy if he wants,” he said.
Comments from members of Wu-Tang Clan linked to the album give weight to early rumors circulating among industry blogs that Cilvaringz persuaded RZA to align himself with the project and promote it as something the iconic rap group put together.
Cilvaringz reportedly believed doing so would increase the value of the project.
RZA wrote on a Paddle8 auction page where fans could bid on “Once upon a Time in Shaolin” that the album had been “recorded in secret with the members not knowing the exact outcome.”
He added that once he and Cilvaringz decided to make it a Wu-Tang project, everyone was on board.
A statement released by Cilvaringz about the project to Bloomberg suggests that the project may have begun as something he was working on, but evolved into a Wu-Tang album over time.
He remained vague, providing no definitive truths about the CD.
“The album and its concept were an evolutionary process that spanned six years, too complex to explain in a soundbite,” the statement read. “All participating Wu-Tang artists were paid in advance while RZA and I bore the financial risk of the project.”
Real or not, the album may not be Shkreli’s problem for much longer. He listed the project for sale in an EBay auction last week.
The highest bid in the auction, which ends Friday, is over $ 1 million.