The upcoming Wu-Tang album will include a collaboration with singer, actress and pop Diva Cher, according to Rolling Stone and Forbes.
In an exclusive, Forbes sent a reporter to Morocco of listen to the one copy only album titled “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” and a snippet was posted on Youtube.
In one song on the video, Cher’s distinctive voice can be heard stating, ”Wu-Tang, baby. They rock the world.”
Earlier this year, the Staten Island hip hop collective announced plans to sell only one copy of the upcoming release.
“We’re about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music,” Wu-Tang member RZA told Forbes. “We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.”
The approach by the group is quite different from what is currently gaining steam by music industry veterans, including social media album launches and controversial promotional figures.
The album of 31 songs with the entire Wu-Tang Clan has been in the works for six years and will travel to festival, museums, and exhibitions to provide a listening experience, but will only be sold to one person.
In April, RZA told Billboard that hip hop collective has been offered as much as $5 million for the album.
“So far, $5 million is the biggest number,” RZA stated. “I don’t know how to measure it, but it gives us an idea that what we’re doing is being understood by some. And there are some good peers of mine also, who are very high-ranking in the film business and the music business, sending me a lot of good will. It’s been real positive.”
The group’s Website for the upcoming album states, “History demonstrates that great musicians such as Beethoven, Mozart and Bach are held in the same high esteem as figures like Picasso, Michelangelo and Van Gogh. However, the creative output of today’s artists such as The RZA, Kanye West or Dr. Dre, is not valued equally to that of artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst or Jean-Michel Basquiat.”
The group continues, “Is exclusivity versus mass replication really the 50 million dollar difference between a microphone and a paintbrush? Is contemporary art overvalued in an exclusive market, or are musicians undervalued in a profoundly saturated market? By adopting a 400 year old Renaissance-style approach to music, offering it as a commissioned commodity and allowing it to take a similar trajectory from creation to exhibition to sale, as any other contemporary art piece, we hope to inspire and intensify urgent debates about the future of music. We hope to steer those debates toward more radical solutions and provoke questions about the value and perception of music as a work of art in today’s world.”
The hip hop collective have long been keen on breaking the mold. The group grew a strong following throughout the years for its samples of dialogue from 1970s Chinese action movies and references to Shaolin Kung Fu.
“Twenty years ago, Wu-Tang was breaking ground,” Common told The Wall Street Journal, when explaining a Game of Thrones hip hop mix. “Nowadays, people are open to anything. There are no limitations in hip-hop culture.”
Listen for Cher’s voice in this short clip:
By Lyneka Little