I got this one from a former student, who wrote: “So many wild things happening at one time in that story. This (capitalist) system we live in is just so bizarre sometimes!”
And he’s absolutely right.
According to NPR, in 2014, the Wu-Tang Clan produced a 31-track album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, destroyed all the copies save one, placed the only extant version in a hand-carved silver and nickel box, along with a 174-page leather-bound book of lyrics, anecdotes and credits (in addition to a $55,000 pair of speakers and a “gold-leafed certificate of authenticity”), which they locked in the vault of a luxury hotel in Marrakech, Morocco, set it up on an online auction house, and then sold it to the highest bidder—none other than the “infamous, price-gouging pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli — and he hadn’t even bothered to listen to it.”
Bloomberg Business notes that Shkreli is a fan, of sorts:
“Shkreli was taken by the Wu-Tang song C.R.E.A.M., which stands for ‘Cash Rules Everything Around Me.’ It includes the often-repeated phrase ‘Dolla dolla bill, y’all!’ “
It wasn’t fandom that drove his purchase, though. Shkreli liked the idea that owning the album would give him an in with celebrities and rappers, he told Bloomberg.
He didn’t listen to excerpts meant to verify the purchase — he had an employee check for him. And he reportedly still hasn’t played the album. He tells Bloomberg Business he might consider putting it on … if Taylor Swift wants to come over and hear it with him.
It should come as no surprise, I suppose, that Forbes exhaustively documented the creation and sale of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.