Speed Reads

cash rules everything around me

'Bad boy' pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli apparently paid $2 million for Wu-Tang Clan's new one-of-a-kind album

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a kind of Holy Grail of music — a basically unheard Wu-Tang Clan album of which only one copy exists in the world. Nobody other than the rap group's frontman, RZA, and his co-producer, Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzougarh, have had the ability to listen to the album's 31 tracks all the way through — well, aside from the mystery owner of the album, who purchased Shaolin for a rumored $2 million.

Now, the mystery buyer has been revealed: Bloomberg reports that it was Turing Pharmaceuticals founder Martin Shkreli, 32, who shelled out the cash for Shaolin. Shkreli, who made headlines earlier this year for raising the price of the AIDS and cancer drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a pill, has been called a "spoiled brat" by Donald Trump, and was speculated to be the most "hated man in America" by BBC. He also loves music — in particular, Wu-Tang Clan. "I really became convinced that I should be the buyer," Shkreli told Bloomberg.

Shkreli wants more artists to make private albums for him. He figures they could use the money, and he will let them do whatever they want. "It's almost like the instructions to the band are, 'Do your best work, however much time it takes, and never compromise anything for me,'" he says. "'I just want to hear what you've got.'"

He hasn't listened to Once Upon a Time in Shaolin yet. 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." [Bloomberg]

In a statement to Bloomberg, RZA explained that "The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli's [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity."