Rap Group The Wu-Tang Clan pose for a portrait on April 1, 1994
Source: Getty Images

Wu-Tang Clan's 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin' Is Heading to an Australian Museum

Wu-Tang Clan's unreleased album, 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,' is headed to an exhibit in Australia. Now, fans can check out them album for themselves.


Jun. 21 2024, Published 4:42 p.m. ET

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The Wu-Tang Clan is going down under – or at least, their unreleased album is. The record, "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," has found a new home at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Tasmania.

The placement marks a significant moment for hip-hop, as it underscores the album's status as a cultural artifact.

The album, shrouded in mystery and exclusivity, continues to capture headlines and imaginations nearly a decade after its creation.

Released in 2015, "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" was produced as a single copy, designed to challenge the contemporary consumption of music. This one-of-a-kind album was conceived by RZA and producer Cilvaringz to revive the concept of music as high art, according to Fortune.

rza and u god on back right of the wu tang clan perform
Source: Getty Images

Rza, and U-God on back right, of the Wu-Tang Clan perform

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The 31-track album was placed in a silver-and-nickel box and intricate packaging inspired by ancient artifacts. Upon its release, the album was sold at auction for $2 million to Martin Shkreli, the infamous hedge fund manager who later faced widespread criticism and legal troubles for unrelated activities.

In 2018, following his conviction on fraud charges, the U.S. government seized the album and sold it to an undisclosed buyer, but it has since found a home in Australia.

Wu-Tang’s album will be displayed and played for Australian fans.

In 2021, Wu-Tang’s "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" was purchased by a cryptocurrency collective called PleasrDAO, The New York Times reports.

They have since revealed plans to make the music more accessible to the public, while still respecting the original vision of exclusivity and high art.

“We believe that we can do something with this piece,” PleasrDAO’s Jamis Johnson said. “To enable it to be shared and ideally owned in part by fans and anyone in the world.”

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wu tang clan once upon a time in shaolin
Source: Luke Fenstemaker / Pleasr / The Museum of Old and New Art

Wu-tang Clan's 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin'

Now, the album is being put on display for the first time ever. "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" will be featured in the Namedropping exhibition at the Mona Gallery, running for 10 days starting June 15.

Additionally, the museum will host private listening parties for devoted Wu-Tang fans to enjoy the album in peace. Tickets will be available starting at 10 a.m. local time on May 31, and can be purchased on the Mona website.

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“Every once in a while, an object on this planet possesses mystical properties that transcend its material circumstances,” Mona director, Jarrod Rawlins, said in a press release (per Pitchfork). “"Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' is more than just an album, so when I was thinking about status, and what a transcendent namedrop could be, I knew I had to get it into this exhibition.”

rza top and ghostface killah l and inspectah deck of wu tang clan perform
Source: Getty Images

RZA (top) and Ghostface Killah (L) and Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang Clan perform

’Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ will be available to the public in 100 years.

Wu-Tang’s coveted "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" was not meant to be consumed by the public until 2103, according to The New York Times.

The Mona Museum will respect these restrictions, giving select fans access to a small number of songs. Fans will not be able to film or record during the private listening sessions, but they can still get a taste of Wu-Tang’s iconic rap style.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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