RZA Says He's Unsure About Purchaser Rights For "The Wu - Once Upon a Time in Shaolin"
RZA on the potential Wu-Tang Clan album: "This can change the idea and the venue of music. This is still a flower that's unfolding."
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the very limited edition (1 copy created) album created by Wu-Tang Clan has been fielding offers from both investors and fans.
"Offers came in at $2 million, somebody offered $5 million yesterday, and they're also emailing other members of my organization," RZA said when asked about the offers he's been giving to date. "So far, $5 million is the biggest number. I don't know how to measure it, but it gives us an idea that what we're doing is being understood by some. And there are some good peers of mine also, who are very high-ranking in the film business and the music business, sending me a lot of good will. It's been real positive."
While that portion of the interview was previously reported, additional comments were released Friday (April 4) by Billboard. When asked about what exactly the purchaser of the album would receive along with it, RZA himself wasn't completely sure. The legal rights to the album is still something that is being discussed.
"We're trying to put it under the same definition as a work of art, and when you buy art from a gallery it becomes your property, right? I'm not 100 percent educated on the deeper ramifications of art, but in theory, I would think that it's like when you bought a picture, it's your picture," he said. "I know there's other stipulations that's gonna pop up, but we understand this is a piece of art, so we should accept the terms of that.
"That right there is delicate. But [when] people are emailing me, 'I'll give you $5 million,' I'm not personally gonna make that sale -- I'm not an art gallery. So I think the best thing is to go into that world and let it take its proper course. And then if somebody was to buy it and say 'I'm gonna resell it,' I don't see where there's a problem with that, in all reality. But we're still doing research on it."
Finally, when asked about whether Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was a business model or a statement, RZA says that it's both and that the idea is "a flower that's unfolding."
"Both! It's definitely a business model," he said. "This can change the idea and the venue of music. This is still a flower that's unfolding -- there's still more layers that have to blossom -- and this is only part one. It's a three-tiered idea, and I think you'll appreciate each one, especially since you calculate what's going on in this business. [The music industry has considered] changing how you measure gold and platinum -- [the definition could be based on] what it generates. So I think this is gonna be a whole different model."
HipHopDX recently interviewed RZA about the multimillion-dollar project. Produced largely by Morocco-based producer Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is claimed to be as “rare as the Mona Lisa” by RZA and that “It belongs in an art setting, venue, a museum, or a gallery."
During the HipHopDX interview, RZA also elaborated on the album's release and how it may or may not impact Wu-Tang Clan's other potential album, A Better Tomorrow.
“This idea to release [Wu – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin] was since September , he says. “And then we rediscussed it in December. I made the decision January 20. I made the decision on how I was going to deal with this particular piece of art. Then I made the announcement a few months later. It has nothing to do with A Better Tomorrow. I let everybody know in the office that works on A Better Tomorrow—the staff and everybody—that I’m gonna do something different. I wouldn’t tell nobody what it was.