The Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” is now partially accessible to the public, thanks to current rights holder PleasrDAO. Emphasis on “partially.”


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The reason being, despite the album’s complex ownership history, the album will be available as a five-minute sampler for $1 on thealbum.com ($1.86 with tax). Gotta add that tax.

This sampler includes unheard verses from Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, and Redman, and snippets of several tracks from the two-disc, 31-track album. A message on thealbum.com reads: “On March 2, 2015, RZA and Civalringz brought together 150 art experts, rap fans, and potential buyers to present a unique Listening Session of a sample of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The sampler was never played publicly again, until now.”

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Get this, PleasrDAO’s press release expressed their hope that this sampler will help them release the full album before its contractual release date of October 8, 2103. “Additional music from the album will become available as Pleasr works with the original artists to deliver it to the owners of the encrypted album over the coming weeks,” the release states.

PleasrDAO explained on X (formerly Twitter) that each sale of “Shaolin” will reduce the countdown to its release by 88 seconds. Each copy of the record is encrypted and tradable by $ALBUM.

Initially sold in 2015 to Martin Shkreli, the album’s terms prevent full commercial exploitation for 88 years. Shkreli attempted to sell it on eBay in 2017 for $1 million, but the sale was voided after his securities fraud conviction. The government auctioned the album to PleasrDAO in 2021 for $4.75 million.

Recently, “Shaolin” has been controversial after PleasrDAO accused Shkreli of retaining and sharing copies post-sale. A lawsuit claimed Shkreli boasted about playing the album on YouTube and distributing copies. A Brooklyn judge has temporarily banned Shkreli from streaming or disseminating the album.

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