Former pharmaceutical exec Martin Shkreli sold his rare $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album at a $1 million loss. But according to Bloomberg.com, the one-off CD may not even be an official Wu-Tang album.
Shkreli is now serving time as inmate #87850-053 at a Brooklyn federal lockup after a judge revoked his $5 million bond on Friday.
Shkreli ran afoul of the judge after he wrote a Facebook post asking his followers to snatch a strand of hair off Hillary Clinton's head during her current book tour. He offered $5,000 for the strand of hair.
Shkreli, 34, listed the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, on eBay.com before he was arrested and jailed last week. He purchased the album in 2015 for $2 million.
The rare CD, which is contained in an intricately carved, leather-bound wooden box, sold for $1,025,100 on Friday, Sept. 15, after 343 bids. In the listing description, Shkreli admitted he barely listened to the album.
But questions arise about the album's authenticity.
In an article on Bloomberg's website last week, members of the Wu Tang Clan say the verses they recorded over a 5-year period wasn't "an official Wu-Tang project".
Moroccan producer Cilvaringz (pronounced "silver rings") recorded the album over 5 years in various homes and hotel rooms.
“The way he presented it,” says rapper Killa Sin, “was it was going to be basically his album, and he wanted me to do some work for him.”
Other Wu-Tang members chimed in, saying the work they did wasn't legit.
“It’s not an authorized Wu-Tang Clan album,” says Domingo Neris, the manager of rapper U-God. “It never was.”
U-God is suing Wu-Tang Productions Inc. and group founder RZA, saying he wasn't paid for the verses he did on Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.
U-God says Cilvaringz gathered verses over the years from Clan members for his own projects and later stitched the verses together to make the album without the group’s permission.
“We would never have authorized anyone to put together a project and call it a Wu-Tang Clan record without us ever looking at it, hearing it, or being in the same room together. That’s just the way these guys work," U-God said.
Former kiddie rapper Shyheim Franklin, a longtime member of the Clan, is serving time behind bars for a hit-and-run conviction. He says he recorded verses for Cilvaringz, but he isn't sure if his verses made it onto the album.
“I’d like my cut of that $2 million,” Franklin told Bloomberg by telephone from Washington Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where he is serving 14 years for second-degree manslaughter.
Also serving time in prison is Clan member Killa Sin, who is frustrated that he wasted verses on an album that the group's fans may never hear.
He criticized Shkreli, RZA and Cilvaringz for not making the album available to fans.
“It’s an insult,” Killa Sin says. “It’s like f--- everybody else. I’m going to get mine. He probably thought, ‘We’re onto something. We can really get some money for this.’ But you got to stop and say, ‘How would my brothers feel?'"