RZA is now offering his side of the story on Wu-Tang’s $2 million sale of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin to pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli. In a sit-down with Bloomberg TV’s John Heilemann for With All Due Respect, the Wu-Tang founder revealed that he has already cashed out on Shkreli’s big payout, and that he was unaware of his price-boosting of AIDS medication. Remarking that Skhreli “just really enjoyed the music,” RZA recalled meeting him.
“We talked briefly about where he comes from, briefly about what Wu-Tang means,” RZA told Heilemann. “He was actually present when we did a thing at MoMA, where we played [12 minutes of the album], and he was also in that audience. So he heard the 12 minutes, and he just really enjoyed the music.”
After Shkreli’s business practices were revealed, Wu-Tang reportedly “distanced themselves” from him, prompting the pharmaceutical CEO to unleash a few words of fury against RZA and company. In an interview with HipHopDX, Skhreli said: “The guy is fucking full of himself, talking about how his shit is the best ever, how fucking Bobby Digital was the best shit ever. I wasn’t feeling him at all. I figured it was another arrogant rapper.” RZA accepted no part of Shkreli’s perceived “backfire,” however.
“What could backfire from creating a piece of art, having an idea, and to see it grow into fruition? As far as me being arrogant, it depends on what day you catch me, baby,” he said. “But most people that know me respect me, because I am down-to-earth and very communicative.”
Shortly after news hit the Web that Shkreli was the man behind the Once Upon A Time In Shaolin sale, he was arrested on federal charges of security fraud. Heilemann pointed out to RZA that Shkreli claimed he hadn’t even listened to the album, and the Wu-Tang rapper seemed unoffended. He ultimately determined that he couldn’t “discriminate” against anyone who would have wanted to purchase the sought-after, one-of-one project.
“He bought it, he can do what he wants. The power of art is that. I could never discriminate. If the most greatest man in the world was the one who wanted to possess it, it would’ve been his objective. If my enemy came to an auction and was like ‘Yo, I want that picture of RZA, just to throw darts at it,’ it’s being auctioned. I could never, ever, at this age in my life, I could never discriminate who appreciates art.”
Watch a clip from RZA’s upcoming Bloomberg TV interview here.