Published: November 2017
Take a kid with a dream. A legendary hip hop group. 6 years of secret recordings. A casing worthy of a king. A single artifact. Hallowed establishment institutions. An iconoclastic auction house. The worlds foremost museum of modern art. A bidding war. Endless crises of conscience. An angry mob. A furious beef. A sale. A villain of Lex Luthor-like proportions. Bill Murray. The FBI. The internet gone wild. In 2007, the innovative Wu-Tang producer, Cilvaringz, feeling that digital downloads were threatening the music industry, took an incendiary idea to his mentor hip hop legend, RZA: create a unique physical copy of a secret Wu-Tang album, to be encased in silver and sold through auction as a work of contemporary art. As such, it could never be commercialised - or pirated. The plan raised a number of complex questions: Would selling one album for millions be the ultimate betrayal of rap music? Would hip hop fans support the project, even if it meant they could never buy the album? And could anyone justify the ultimate sale of the album to despised pharmaceutical mogul Martin Shkreli?