Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ Album Will Be Available to the Public in 88 Years

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Wu-Tang Clan’s final album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, has found an online auction home at Paddle8 and new details are beginning to emerge. According to a new special micro-website, Once Upon A Time will have 31 new songs recorded over six years and produced by Cilvaringz and The RZA. The album will feature Cher, Redman, Carice Van Houten and players from FC Barcelona’s soccer team amongst others. There is only one copy of the album available and all backups and digital files have been destroyed.

On that same website, RZA and Cilvaringz did a Q+A with information about the project and it’s release. In the interview, the producers revealed that whoever wins the auction will have the right to release the album to the public after 88 years. Why 88 years? RZA explains:

Anyone who knows the Wu-Tang Clan knows that we often apply numerology, mathematics and symbolism to the things we do. There were 8 original members of the Clan when we made Protect Ya Neck and M.E.T.H.O.D Man. The individual numbers of this year also add up to the number 8. The broker of this work carries the number 8 in its name. The number 8 on its side is a symbol of infinity, as it was used on our album ‘Wu-Tang Forever’. You can call it mathematical coincidence, but it’s always had great symbolic significance for us. For us it also addresses the issue of music’s longevity in a time of mass production and short attention spans. Nothing about this record revolves around short-term gains, but rather around the legacy of the music and the statement we’re making.

For those interested in how the project sounds, RZA also gave insight, saying that the album has a throwback, ’90s Wu feel to it:

Musically, this album takes the listener on a journey back to the chambers we were going through in the 90s. Not so much lyrically as musically as brothers are living a different reality to then. But this record was produced in that fashion, it sounds different from anything that’s out today. It was about tracing and reliving certain origins. If you listen to the intro of ‘Clan In The Front’ on the 36 Chambers album, you’ll hear me shout out the entire original Wu-Tang movement. We rolled real deep back then and I invited some of those brothers on a few skits and tracks. It made the period concept of the recordings more authentic.

For those who live in New York, RZA and Cilvaringz will be appearing at MoMA PS1 for a listening session and a conversation between the two producers and longtime music journalist Sasha Frere-Jones.