The World’s Most Fascinating Album 

Dan Cohen's piece from 2016 is always worth a re-read.

Back in 2015, hip hop all-stars Wu-Tang Clan sold a one-of-a-kind album called “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin”. Rather than being mass produced, only a single copy of the album was made. It wound up in the hands of despised pharma-bro Martin Shkreli, who was soon thereafter arrested for fraud. As a result, the album was impounded by the US government. Years later, in the middle of 2021, it was sold to cover Shkreli’s debt to the government. Now, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, Vice has pictures and information about that deal.

Vice’s article bemoans the physical scars the album has acquired in the past seven years, as well as the fact that the new owners won’t be able to spread the music widely. Me, however, I don’t worry about the appearance of this strange artifact. Neither do I bemoan the fact that the public may not hear this music for decades to come. That’s because I have entered the Shaolin temple of my mind. One does not need to hear “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” to appreciate it, and all that has unfolded around it.