• A Wu-Tang Clan album is coming to Australia
  • The MONA will have it on display
  • It is considered the rarest album on earth

This piece of hip-hop history, previously shrouded in mystery and controversy, will be partially unveiled in exclusive listening sessions. Come with us and dive into the saga of the world's rarest album, from its creation to its journey through controversy, finally landing in a space that bridges the gap between music and contemporary art.

The Saga Unfolds

Imagine an album so exclusive that only a select few have ever heard its beats. That's the reality of Wu-Tang Clan's "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," an album that's been more myth than music. Crafted over six painstaking years, this 31-track double album is not just a collection of songs but a piece of contemporary art, encased in silver and nickel and accompanied by a leather-bound book.

The tale took a twist when Martin Shkreli, infamously known as "Pharma Bro," snagged the album for a cool $2 million, only to lose it as part of his conviction for fraud.

The album's journey didn't end there, though. In a tale fit for the digital age, cryptocurrency collective PleasrDAO became the new guardians of this rare artifact, acquiring it for a reported $4 million.

Now, in a move that's music to the ears of Wu-Tang fans and art aficionados alike, MONA is set to showcase this legendary album. With private listening sessions slated between June 15 and June 24, lucky ticket holders will experience the allure of 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' firsthand. "Run don’t walk, bring da ruckus," MONA teases, promising an auditory experience like no other.

The mystical and rare...

In addition to listening events for a 30-minute excerpt of the album, the physical record, housed in a silver box, will be on display.

The museum’s director of curatorial affairs, Jarrod Rawlins, said in a press release, "Every once in a while, an object on this planet possesses mystical properties that transcend its material circumstances. 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' is more than just an album, so when I was thinking about status, and what a transcendent namedrop could be, I knew I had to get it into this exhibition."

It has been called the world’s rarest album. It exists on two compact discs—the only two discs that have ever been pressed. Additionally, all of the masters were destroyed subsequent to the album’s pressing. It makes the chances of a leak nearly impossible, given that there’s nothing to leak in the first place.

The potential leaker would need to have access to this one, single copy. And the only person with access to this single copy would be the person who currently owns it.

After spending six years creating the 31-track double album, the multiplatinum hip-hop group put the single copy up for auction in 2015, on the condition that it not be put to commercial use.

At the time, Wu-Tang Clan member RZA said he wanted the album — packaged in a hand-crafted silver and nickel case that includes a 174-page book wrapped in leather — to be viewed as a piece of contemporary art.

A contract stipulates that the album—now owned by digital art collective Pleasr—cannot be commercially exploited until 2109, but it can be played at private listening events such as MONA’s. The exhibition runs from June 15-24.

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Tickets are as rare as the album itself, offered free but in limited supply. This is your chance to be part of history, to hear what few have heard, and to witness the intersection of hip-hop and high art.

The "Namedropping" exhibition at MONA is not just a display; it's a statement, a moment in music history that's not to be missed.