There's a new development in the Wu-Tang Clan's potentially $5 million album, and who better to bring us the latest than the wealth-obsessed Forbes. As it turns out, the "hand-carved, silver-and-nickel box" set to contain the only copy of The Wu — Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is being kept in a vault in Morocco. Reporter Zack O'Malley visited the Royal Mansour hotel for billionaires in order to preview both the package and the music, which you can experience in brief above.
"Flying more than 3,500 miles from New York to Casablanca for less than a minute of music may seem a bit extravagant," O'Malley writes for Forbes. "Renting a car and braving Moroccan traffic for 150 additional miles (with a malfunctioning GPS unit, no less) may have been unwise. But there’s more to it than just the audio: the Wu-Tang story has become one of the biggest of the year in the entertainment business."
Plus, Cher might be on the album. At the end of the gritty snippet, which features Ghostface Killah rhyming over a noisy boom-bap beat and a chanting crowd, a husky female voice sings, "Wu-Tang, baby! They rock the world!" Producer Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzougarh doesn't confirm or deny O'Malley's guess at the owner of those very particular pipes. Weird. But he did say the actual Wu members had to redo 80 percent of their vocals becasue they weren't fierce enough.
"It's a conceptual record where you're trying to go back to '93 to '97, that glorious time," said Cilvaringz. "To get brothers into that mode again, as if they just came off the street, as if they were still out there trying to make a living and surviving, it's difficult ... You're trying to get them into an aggressive mode and the beats are aggressive, and funny enough, it drew it out of them, the beats actually commanded the way they performed."
Which is, of course true of at least 80 percent of all rap. He shared another thought: "Go back to the Renaissance age. Look at Beethoven, Bach, Mozart. You hold them in the same high esteem as a Rembrandt and van Gogh. These people, you don't really differentiate between them, you just say they're great masters of the arts of that time. But today [musicians] don't value their own work, they don't value themselves first, and of course the market doesn't value their work."
In related news, Raekwon is still on strike from the Wu-Tang album for the hoi polloi, A Better Tomorrow, but hey, here's a picture of Ghost signing a giant caricature of his own face: