The Wu-Tang Clan and pharma bro saga continues.
On the new Wu-Tang track “Lesson Learn’d,” Inspectah Deck raps, “my price hikin’ like the pills Martin Shkreli sell,” calling out the pharmaceutical executive-turned-convict, who recently had his bail revoked after offering his Facebook followers a $5,000 reward for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair.
Pharma bro and Wu-Tang go way back.
It all started back in 2015, shortly after Shkreli notoriously bought the rights to an anti-parasitic drug commonly used by people with AIDS and hiked the price from around $13.50 per tablet to $750 and made himself everyone’s least favorite bro.
i’m not normally like wow i wish this person would die but this AIDS drug hedge fund guy should probably fall into a pit of flaming garbage
— nonbinary bray wyatt (@aardvarkwizard) September 21, 2015
At the end of the year, Shkreli became even more hated when Bloomberg Businessweek reported that he was the buyer of Wu-Tang’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin album. He bought the single-sale collector’s album for a reported $2 million and told fans that they would never get to hear it.
“Naw, I’m not going to release the album,” Shkreli told a live YouTube audience. “Why would I pay millions of dollars just to let everyone listen to it for free?”
Angry Wu-Tang fans criticized the group for selling the album to such a selfish person.
The rap group’s leader RZA said Wu-Tang would donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale to charity.
When pharma bro was arrested later that month for allegedly using money from his drug company to pay off debts to investors in his hedge fund, no one forgot about the Wu-Tang album.
Much to the dismay of Wu-Tang fans, the FBI said they had not seized the album at Shkreli’s arrest.
#Breaking no seizure warrant at the arrest of Martin Shkreli today, which means we didn’t seize the Wu-Tang Clan album.
— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) December 17, 2015
Shkreli was even questioned about it in front of Congress. But he did NOT want to talk about it, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.
The album has even come in the way of jury selection for Shkreli’s upcoming trial. Among many magnificent roasts, one would-be juror expressed disdain for Shkreli to the court because he “disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan.”
But here’s the major plot twist: the album might not even be real.
That’s right, the infamous $2 million album may not even be a legit installment in the Wu-Tang discography.
Several members of the group told Bloomberg that when they recorded their contributions, they thought their work would be used on a project by Moroccan producer Cilvaringz.
“It’s not an authorized Wu-Tang Clan album. It never was,” said U-God’s manager Domingo Neris.
Neris said Cilvaringz put together pre-existing verses that Wu-Tang members recorded for his projects and used them to create the album without the full group’s permission.
And that is not the way Wu-Tang Clan rolls.
“We’re very detailed about the quality and how we put our best foot forward,” Neris said. “We would never have authorized anyone to put together a project and call it a Wu-Tang Clan record without us ever looking at it, hearing it, or being in the same room together. That’s just the way these guys work.”
So what now?
Shkreli recently tried to sell the album on eBay under the username “martishkrel_7,” but we still don’t know if this sale ever went through.
It appeared as if the album had finally found a new owner when the online auction ended on Sept. 15 with a winning bid of $1,025,100.
But Matt “M-Eighty” Markoff, a Wu-Tang associate, said that Shkreli’s attorneys have not yet received payment from the eBay winner Darby Welch and that they were still willing to hear a competitive bid from Markoff, according to HipHopDx.
Markoff said he had been negotiating with Shkreli behind the scenes before the end of the eBay auction, but pharma bro wasn’t able to finalize the sale with Markoff because he went back to jail when his bail was revoked.
“I’m extremely confident that in light of Martin’s recent incarceration, there’s potential that the eBay auction will not hold up,” Markoff said. “There is doubt the buyer is a qualified candidate who has the requisite funds, meets sellers specific deadlines, and is a real candidate versus a friend of the seller who may have intentionally bid up the auction in hopes of reaching a greater sales potential.”
Markoff said he is 70 percent sure he’ll be able to purchase the album from Shkreli.
So the elusive Once Upon a Time in Shaolin might finally be freed from pharma bro’s clutches once and for all.
But in the meantime, Wu-Tang fans can listen to the group slam Shkreli on their new track.