December 20, 2014
10. The Wu
Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
If you think our 10 weirdest things pressed in vinyl are as novel as it gets, think again. This mysterious Wu-Tang Clan album comes housed in an engraved silver-and-nickel box designed by British-Moroccan artist Yahya and bears the group’s W insignia. But that’s not where the novelty lies – the truly unique feature of this record is that there’s only one copy. Or as RZA puts it: ”We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.”
Pretty much the Wu-Tang holy grail, the plan is for Once Upon A Time In Shaolin to tour galleries and festivals where fans can listen (one at a time), before auctioning off this one-off, single-copy album for a price “in the millions”. We don’t doubt that there’s a die-hard, deep-pocketed Wu fan out there who’s willing and able to pay millions for this record and will do so. In economic terms then, this record probably has more outright value than anything else in this list and indeed potentially more than any vinyl record ever.
With a cynical hat on, you could label this record a publicity stunt / cash generator and only that – but in a world where digital can instantly degrade value, it’s an interesting case and there’s an argument for its legitimacy as a piece of art. A single copy of something, whether its a record or otherwise, is fascinating territory. What’s got to be considered in a unique case like this, is the fact that the price tag is almost entirely manufactured by its extreme rarity. For this reason, we nod to its sheer potential economic value and uniqueness, but place it at number 10.