Wu-Tang Clan have been at the forefront of some of the most outrageous hip-hop spinoffs (video games, merch, all that) but a hand-crafted capsule kept in Morocco which contains an album they’ve recorded in secret – The Wu: Once Upon A Time In Shaolin – and that which they value in to seven figures is probably the most outrageous of them all.
We’ve seen a lot of unusual launches by big name brands of musicians (Beyonce‘s latest album album, for example, whimsically unleashed on the world) and attempts to make music an abstract visual fine art form (like Jay Z turning himself in to an exhibition) recently, but Wu-Tang, perhaps the biggest name in hip-hop of all time, have gone way beyond the imagination here.
Essentially, they asked British-Moroccan artist Yahya to construct a box (fundamentally) to house the only copy ever to be made of Wu Tan’s secret double-album The Wu: Once Upon A Time. They will then take it across the world and play it in exhibitions, letting people come in to visit and hear the album, most likely through provided headphones so that it can’t be recorded. This concept relies a lot on the album not leaking, so it will be an interesting exercise in who they can trust.
In the long-term, the entity will be sold for what RZA hopes to be ‘millions’. What will happen after that is unknown: will it be put in to someone’s private collection, or will someone release it all for free, or will it keep being hired out?
I have to hand it to Wu-Tang. This is a really originally, unusual concept and will surely get people thinking about hip-hop’s status as an art more than anything else recently. Is it pretentious? I dunno. leave your thoughts!