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S.C.R.E.A.M.: Pharma bro Martin Shkreli revealed as buyer of $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album


That one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon A Time in Shaolin has a buyer. And the person who just dropped $2 million on it is the same guy the BBC recently said “may be the most hated man in America.”

32-year-old Martin Shkreli, the despised Turing Pharmaceuticals executive who in September hiked the cost of a critical AIDS drug by roughly 5.000%, from $13.50 a pill to $750, won the bidding for the album through online art marketplace Paddle8, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Priced at $2 million, it’s the “most expensive album ever made,” and there will be only one in existence.

Shkreli was told that if he bought the album — a double-album featuring 31 tracks and packaged in “a hand-carved box, accompanied by a leather-bound book with 174 pages of parchment paper filled with lyrics and background on the songs” — he’d be able to meet celebrities and rappers who’d want to hear it.


From Bloomberg: “Shkreli heard about Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and thought it would be nice to own, too. He attended a private listening session at the Standard Hotel hosted by Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes. Shkreli, who describes himself as a bit of a recluse, recalls Gilkes telling him that if he bought the record, he would have the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and rappers who would want to hear it. ‘Then I really became convinced that I should be the buyer,’ Shkreli says. (Paddle8 declined to comment, citing their policy of client confidentiality.) He also got to have lunch with RZA. ‘We didn’t have a ton in common,’ Shkreli says. ‘I can’t say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him.’

If we all have one thing in common with Shkreli, however, it’s that none of us have even heard the album. This is worse than buying alt-rock CDs from Sam Goody for $17.99 in the early ’90s because the album art looked cool.

“He hasn’t listened to Once Upon a Time in Shaolin yet,” writes Bloomberg. “He’s saving that for a time when he’s feeling low and needs something to lift his spirits. ‘I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that,’ Shkreli says. ‘But for now, I think I’m going to kind of save it for a rainy day.'”

Last month, rumors spread that director Quentin Tarantino was the buyer of the album.