The music world is already squirming with anticipation over Wu-Tang Clan's upcoming LP, A Better Tomorrow, but it turns out the New York hip-hop legends have another – let's say, more relic-like – album in the works. In a new interview with Forbes, RZA says the group plans to sell one copy of a previously unannounced, 31-track double LP The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.
"We're about to sell an album like nobody else sold it before," the rapper says. "We're about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music. We're making a single-sale collector's item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king."
But when one creates a piece of art comparable to an Egyptian king's scepter, it's only natural to show it off. Before the Holy Grail LP is sold to one especially loaded rap fan, the album will be toured across the world's museums, galleries and festivals, using headphones to protect the songs from piracy.
While tour dates for this unconventional album haven't been unveiled, the group has shared some intriguing details on the project's website. The double LP – co-produced over six years by RZA and Cilvaringz – will feature "special guest appearances" including Redman, FC Barcelona soccer players and "a unique tapestry of guest performers." It will be presented in a "hand-carved nickel-silver box designed by the British Moroccan artist Yahya."
"The music industry is in crisis. Creativity has become disposable and value has been stripped out," the band wrote. "Mass production and content saturation have devalued both our experience of music and our ability to establish its value. Industrial production and digital reproduction have failed. The intrinsic value of music has been reduced to zero. Contemporary art is worth millions by virtue of its exclusivity. This album is a piece of contemporary art.
"The album encapsulates the Clan’s legendary dark funk and avant garde sound and is produced in the original Wu Tang style of the 90s," the group continued. "This is the first high-profile album never to be commercially released to the public and the first of its kind in the history of music."