10 Facts About The Wu-Tang Clan Album You May Never Hear

Despite being shrouded in secrecy, more details are emerging about the one of a kind album, "The Wu: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin."

In 1997, on Wu-Tang Forever song “Bells of War” RZA infamously quipped that the next Wu-Tang album would come back with a comet in the year 2000. And while 2000’s The W arrived on schedule three years later, there was no moving of any celestial bodies. Since then, additional Wu-Tang albums have arrived with some amount of internal discord attached, and constantly evolving major label recording industry business models have made dividing royalties nine ways a difficult prospect.

RZA and his protégé Cilvaringz may have found a way to simultaneously eliminate both of the above issues. On March 26, Zack O’Malley Greenburg of Forbes.com exclusively reported Wu-Tang Clan would release a single copy of a secret album tentatively titled, The Wu: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The album is being presented as a commissioned art piece, with the intention of increasing its cultural cache as well as fetching a nice price from a potential buyer and a subsequent tour.

Wu-Tang Clan fans know the Staten Island, New York collective kicked off their career shrouded in secrecy over 20 years ago. Each member’s face was both masked and cloaked in a dark hood on the front cover of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Perhaps it’s only right the Clan reboot their legacy in a mysterious way. Through various interviews, more details are emerging about The Wu: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Here are the most pertinent facts about the Wu-Tang Clan album you may never hear (unless you’re a millionaire or willing to pony up to see the exhibit/tour).

The Album Container Was Handcrafted By British-Moroccan Artist Yahya 

According to a press release for his 2013 “Invisible Light” collaborative exhibition with Mehdi Qotbi at Institut du Monde Arabe, Yahya describes himself as a self-taught artist who anchors his work in a particularly demanding ancestral craft of copperware. He specializes in the convergence of Eastern elegance and Western minimalism. In this case, Yahya crafted a silver and nickel box.

“A lot of the things that I do—from palaces…huge architectural things or tiny, intricate things—have been made by hand,” Yahya told Greenburg. “So I couldn’t really work out how we could do something together.”

After being given complete creative freedom and agreeing to sign a confidentiality agreement, it appears Yahya, RZA and Cilvaringz solved the problem

There Is Only One Known Copy In Existence

According to a 2010 study by DailyFinance.com, the average CD price in 2010 was $13.02 compared to $14.04 in 2000. Adjusted for inflation, compact discs were estimated to cost $17.83 in 2010, meaning fans saved roughly 25 percent compared to 14 years ago. What does all this mean? Various factors are driving down the value of commoditized music. Exclusivity is one of the few ways to raise that price.

“It belongs in an art setting, venue, a museum, or a gallery,” RZA  explained of the one-off art piece in an April interview with HipHopDX. “It’s as rare as any Picasso, any Van Gogh. It’s as rare—as I said in my article—as finding an Egyptian scepter. It’s as rare as the Mona Lisa. It’s rare, yo. It’s only one.”

The Title Is “The Wu: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin”

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Given the understandably secretive nature of RZA and Cilvaringz’s undertaking, it’s safe to assume either one or both of them came up with this title without putting it to a nine-man group vote.

The Album Clocks In At 128 minutes, 31 Songs

When vinyl was originally en vogue, the average album maxed out at 41 minutes, because that was the maximum length one could fit on an LP without compromising sound quality. With such a high price tag, at least the Wu-Tang Clan’s potential benefactor is getting their money’s worth. Just for comparison’s sake, the longest Wu-Tang Clan album (1997’s double album Wu-Tang Forever) is 112 minutes and six seconds spread across 27 tracks. So someone may potentially be paying millions of dollars for an album slightly longer than Wu-Tang Forever.

RZA Is Positioning The One-Of-A-Kind Album As An Art Piece


  • kenneth

    If rza aint make the beats, it's not Wu. Fuck outta here

  • x03 robot

    wasnt sold on the idea nor cilvarings for that matter but my boy just played me some of his beats and if this is the style he bringing to this album, then lord have mercy. Still dont like the idea though, music is for the free folk!

  • imho

    rza has been ahead of his time..i think I seen an interview where he had an idea a decade ago and got laughed at but now its all over..cant remember what though hes smart AF. and rza not having a copy? doubt thatlol no way the wu members don't gotta copy of it but if I bought it for 5 mill I would have each member sign a contract stating if even 1 song is leaked without his permission he gets all his money back and the CD.

  • emmmanuel

    this is a great idea a good way to snub you stuck up kids who don't even know hip hop i love wu and i don't mind if i hear it or not great idea and sacrifice to keep real hip hop alive FOREVER when u kids grow up you may get even now after 20 years the wu will destroy and rapper currently running the air waves

  • jack johnson

    This is a joke I hope somebody steals it lol

  • sinscere

    I hope the 1 owner will leak it.

  • Holocaust

    Interesting concept but Cilvaringz sucks, hes just a Wu fan boy. Almost as bad as that clown M-80. How you gonna have a Wu album thats not produced by RZA?!?!? That box is insane tho!

  • Anonymous

    Why is the Wu infatuated with Morocco now???

    • Marakesh

      This album comes with humus and chilli sauce and for an extra $3 you get chips and a drink... is nice i like.

  • WuHead

    Relevant? That cry baby Drake named a song after them. Kanye enlisted Raekwon and RZA both for his last albums, and not to forget Ghost as well. Then Kanye and Jay enlist RZA for a beat on Watch The Throne. Rae's still poppin on major niggaz songs here and there. Bitches all over instgram rocking their logo. And any announcement they make about this album becomes world news! I even seen Jimmy Fallon joke about the shit a few days ago. Relevant? Whats your measure? Hot97? F outtah here! Wu-Tang is forever and they got the world's attention. Suuuuu

  • WuHead

    meanwhile nobody talking bout 50's new record lol

  • Anonymous

    just because they arent talked about anymore doesnt take away the fact that they invented one of the greatest styles of hip hop, if they didnt do it your fag boy drake would still be wheelchair jimmy on degrassi

  • Lord jules

    Say what you want about the wu being relevant or not, outdated or whatever, decks verse on Triumph is the sickest verse of all time, I dare any of you fucks to name a better verse

  • Ben Jonko

    What a bunch of fruitballs on here man. First of all the idea is fucking genius!!!!!!! Nobody could have executed this idea unless it was wutang!!!!! Imagine if it was drake's faggot ass pulling this stunt, or eminem.. wouldnt have worked!!!!!!!! it's only working because it's the Wu, they get away with freaky zeeky shit like this. How's that for relevance?????? the whole world fucking talking about this shit. im seeing this shit pop up left and right all over the TV, serious programs and magazines like Time and shit. Shit is everywhere. i still believe this shit will eventually leak dough but niggaz is doing it hard and kanye is definitely upset somewhere hahahahaha

  • XcX

    Wu-Tang members are boring rappers and don't really have that much skill when it comes to rhyme schemes. Rza's production sounds choppy and outdated

  • larajon

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  • Anonymous

    nobody cares about the WU anymore, its 2014 not 1994. LOLL

    • Anonymous

      I hate to say this, cause I love The Wu's stuff from the 90's, but you're right. They don't make interesting music anymore. And haven't for a long time now.

  • Anonymous

    why would anyone care if we're not going to get to hear it. stop teasing us rza.

  • COCA


    • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    its all about Chicago rappers now

  • Anonymous

    this is just promo for the album u will actually get to hear

  • smh

    WHY???? why go this route. It was cute at first, now just annoying.

  • Anonymous

    Another fact: wu consist of old lame ass rappers who still think its 1993. They still are pimps and cook crack. How lame if you are 44 years old.

  • DefSizza

    I actually have a lot of beats from what i now think of is the 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' album. That snippet of 51 seconds? I have a longer version of approximately 1:49 minutes. I downloaded a file way back in 2010 called "The Wu-Tang Beat Sessions" it contains of 21 beats an intro and an outro. The beats have no name, they only have numbers. Oh yeah, and they're great btw!

    • Fry

      There was a Youtube video called Cilvaringz beat session or something like that. He was showing off his "Wu-sounding beats". They were dope. Now, mysteriously, it doesn't show up.

    • Adamofgenesis

      Where can i find this?

  • mgilla

    Come Like My Page 4 Real Hip Hop MUSIC--->>>facebook.com/mgilla3620 thx 4 the SUPPORT!!

  • JRich

    As much as I love the Wu...this is just too much. Maybe if it was a double lp of all the tracks Rza lost in that flood it'd be a one of a kind, work of art type deal. But an album made by a bunch of 40+ year old Wu members when all the music they've released recently has been at worst average and at best decent...sorry this idea just seems dumb. Oh well, I'm sure I'll enjoy it after it gets leaked somehow.

    • donjaun

      Well swing as how the album was made in 99 and not recently, I am pretty interested in seeing how much it sells for. But it was not made by them recently because there is no way that it would not have been leaked some how. The guy in the video says that it was made before Wu forever.

    • Anonymous

      Well said, however, it's an excellent concept. The question is whether their fan base, which includes many 40-plus year olds will support the tour/presentation of the album. As a huge Wu fan, my main concern is the quality of the music. If these were RZA tracks, I'd be hyped, but I'm not sold on Cilvarings. I'd love to hear those flood damaged tracks.

  • BB

    HHDX is gettin lamer with every month...10 facts you may never hear? Like the title, the fact that there is only 1 copy? How is that not the most common information possible smh

    • JustinRetard

      Lol Justin is a moron, the complaint is identical regardless of the fact he incorrectly rewrote the title

    • Justin

      Lol! Dude is an idiot! It's says 10 facts about the album you may never hear. Not '10 facts you may never hear about the album.' He gassed off about some shit that manifested from his own ignorance! Classic online shit! Maybe if he were one of those 40 yr. olds everyone's talking about, he'd be smart enough to understand what he's reading.

    • Anonymous

      Hey, fuck you DX staff right in your actual butthole

    • Kyle

      Haha! Look at the DX staff turn themselves into 11 year olds when someone says something that's true. Maybe it's time to take true comments as constructive criticism for your articles rather than stoop to the level of a troll. Grow up

    • DX Staff

      Constructive criticism my fucking ass! That's straight up rudeness. Every single day, we have to deal with people jumping down our throats and calling out every little misspelling, paragraph length, so-called bad reviews, etc. If you clowns believe that you can do a better job than, by all means, be our guest. Create your own hip hop website and let's see how well you do, but we highly doubt you'll become successful.

    • DX Staff

      Please shut the actual fuck up. If you have a complaint, write us on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Anonymous

    Imma cop it when it eventually comes out on torrents.