Wu-Tang Clan’s Single-Copy Album Seized at JFK Airport, RZA Explains 88-Year Clause
Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothing to f--- with, but that doesn't mean the group are above the law. The Clan's mysterious single-copy album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, was initially deemed as contraband and held by TSA agents at John F. Kennedy Airport Sunday (March 1).
Page Six reports that Cilvaringz, the beatsmith behind a majority of the album's production work, landed at JFK on a flight from Morocco and discovered he had misplaced the key to open the custom-made box with the album inside. This lead to TSA's suspicion of what was actually in the box. Luckily, the single-copy album in the locked case was officially cleared. However, that wasn't the only controversy surrounding Once Upon a Time in Shaolin this week.
The album, which has been talked about with the significance of a rare painting by Wu-Tang founder RZA, has been kept under lock and key and won't see the light of day for nearly a century -- unless you're the highest bidder and you agree to the terms. What are those terms? The album cannot be reproduced for commercial use due to an 88-year clause.
But upon hearing about the album's reported 88-year "non-commercialization" clause, Wu-Tang member Method Man was less than pleased -- he actually didn't fully understand what the clause entailed. XXL asked the rapper about the unique stipulation, which angered him. "F--- that album. I’m tired of this s--- and I know everybody else is tired of it, too. F--- that album, if that’s what they are doing."
"I haven’t heard anything like that, but if they’re doing crap like that, f--- that album," Meth continued. "Straight up. I’m just keeping it 100. When music can’t be music and y’all turning it into something else, fuck that. Give it to the people, if they want to hear the shit, let them have it. Give it away free. I don’t give a fuck; that ain’t making nobody rich or poor. Give the fucking music out. Stop playing with the public, man.”
After getting wind of his brother in rhyme's scathing comments, the Abbott headed over to Twitter to let off a few retorts of his own in an attempt to set the record straight, clarifying that the 88-year non-commercialization clause did not mean that fans would not be able to hear the album, but rather the project could not be duplicated and sold for profit during that period of time.
The first in the series of tweets were aimed directly toward Meth and XXL, with RZA responding, "let us clarify for you. A 88 year 'non commercialization'clause. Means corporations can't buy it & mass produce it for sell."
He also addressed other fans with gripes for RZA's direction with this project, stating "everything physical is about time. It's the commodity we sale which is surely limited.Working but not seeing Children grow up is sacrifice."
RZA even threw a jab at those complaining about the status of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin since the group's most recent commercially-released album, A Better Tomorrow, was met with lukewarm sales and indifference from a number of listeners.
The status of this much-discussed album -- which has been pegged as a work of art -- may see some closure sooner than later, as Paddle 8, the auction site that is selling the LP, has received bids upwards of one million dollars. Maybe the buyer will be more charitable than RZA and give the album away for free upon its purchsae, or it could languish in artistic limbo for the foreseeable future.
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