hits counter Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of the Wu Tang Clan's Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America's New Public Enemy No. 1 - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of the Wu Tang Clan's Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America's New Public Enemy No. 1

Availability: Ready to download

The untold story of the world's most controversial album---a surreal tale of secret recordings, the Wu-Tang Clan, baffled customs agents, the world's most hallowed art institutions, and a villain of comic book proportions: Martin Shkreli. In 2007, the innovative young Wu-Tang producer, Cilvaringz, took an incendiary idea to his mentor the RZA. They felt that the impact of d The untold story of the world's most controversial album---a surreal tale of secret recordings, the Wu-Tang Clan, baffled customs agents, the world's most hallowed art institutions, and a villain of comic book proportions: Martin Shkreli. In 2007, the innovative young Wu-Tang producer, Cilvaringz, took an incendiary idea to his mentor the RZA. They felt that the impact of digitization threatened the sustainability of the record industry and independent artists, while shifting the perception of music from treasured works of art to disposable consumer products. Together they conceived a statement so radical that it would unleash a torrent of global debate---a sole copy of an album in physical form, encased in gleaming silver and sold through an auction house for millions as a work of contemporary art. The execution of this plan raised a number of complex questions: Would selling an album for millions be the ultimate betrayal of music? How would fans react to an album that's sold on the condition that it could not be commercialized? And could anyone ever justify the selling of the album to the infamous Martin Shkreli? As headlines flashed across the globe, the mystery only deepened. Opinions were sharply divided over whether this was high art or hucksterism---quixotic idealism or a cynical cash grab. Was it a noble act of protest, an act of cultural vandalism, an obscene symbol of greed, a subversive masterpiece, a profound mirror for our time, or a joker on capitalism's card table? As senior adviser to the project, Cyrus Bozorgmehr is uniquely placed to unlock the secrets behind the album and tell the full, unadulterated story. With explosive revelations about backroom plans made public for the first time, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin charts the album's journey from inception to disruption in vivid style. An extraordinary adventure that veers between outlandish caper and urgent cultural analysis. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin twists and turns through the mayhem and the mischief, while asking profound questions about our relationship with art, music, technology, and ultimately ourselves.


Compare

The untold story of the world's most controversial album---a surreal tale of secret recordings, the Wu-Tang Clan, baffled customs agents, the world's most hallowed art institutions, and a villain of comic book proportions: Martin Shkreli. In 2007, the innovative young Wu-Tang producer, Cilvaringz, took an incendiary idea to his mentor the RZA. They felt that the impact of d The untold story of the world's most controversial album---a surreal tale of secret recordings, the Wu-Tang Clan, baffled customs agents, the world's most hallowed art institutions, and a villain of comic book proportions: Martin Shkreli. In 2007, the innovative young Wu-Tang producer, Cilvaringz, took an incendiary idea to his mentor the RZA. They felt that the impact of digitization threatened the sustainability of the record industry and independent artists, while shifting the perception of music from treasured works of art to disposable consumer products. Together they conceived a statement so radical that it would unleash a torrent of global debate---a sole copy of an album in physical form, encased in gleaming silver and sold through an auction house for millions as a work of contemporary art. The execution of this plan raised a number of complex questions: Would selling an album for millions be the ultimate betrayal of music? How would fans react to an album that's sold on the condition that it could not be commercialized? And could anyone ever justify the selling of the album to the infamous Martin Shkreli? As headlines flashed across the globe, the mystery only deepened. Opinions were sharply divided over whether this was high art or hucksterism---quixotic idealism or a cynical cash grab. Was it a noble act of protest, an act of cultural vandalism, an obscene symbol of greed, a subversive masterpiece, a profound mirror for our time, or a joker on capitalism's card table? As senior adviser to the project, Cyrus Bozorgmehr is uniquely placed to unlock the secrets behind the album and tell the full, unadulterated story. With explosive revelations about backroom plans made public for the first time, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin charts the album's journey from inception to disruption in vivid style. An extraordinary adventure that veers between outlandish caper and urgent cultural analysis. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin twists and turns through the mayhem and the mischief, while asking profound questions about our relationship with art, music, technology, and ultimately ourselves.

30 review for Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of the Wu Tang Clan's Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America's New Public Enemy No. 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Kelsey

    What a fantastic book. I went into it thinking that it would be some fun background on the infamous album, which it was, but it turned out to be so much more than that. I'd say it was a well written treatise on the source of our perception of value. What a fantastic book. I went into it thinking that it would be some fun background on the infamous album, which it was, but it turned out to be so much more than that. I'd say it was a well written treatise on the source of our perception of value.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tafresh

    I really enjoyed this book. It's written by the senior adviser to the single copy project and it gives you a thorough feel for the ideas, the ideals, the themes, the stresses and the anguish of the process. I have to say that I had no idea there was this much thinking behind what we saw in the press and the story is told with wit and style. No spoilers, but there's some crazy stuff in here! A genuinely fun and thought provoking read. I really enjoyed this book. It's written by the senior adviser to the single copy project and it gives you a thorough feel for the ideas, the ideals, the themes, the stresses and the anguish of the process. I have to say that I had no idea there was this much thinking behind what we saw in the press and the story is told with wit and style. No spoilers, but there's some crazy stuff in here! A genuinely fun and thought provoking read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Forsyth

    A fascinating story told by a second-rate storyteller, ONCE UPON A TIME IN SHAOLIN is an ultimately disappointing look at all of the things the front cover promises; part ideological study of the struggles of musicians to be paid for the art; part history of the Wu Tang Clan's ingenious (and provocative) solution to this problem; and part examination of the role of patronage and the broader economics of art. Despite the book keeping all of its promises in terms of content, I kept getting annoyed A fascinating story told by a second-rate storyteller, ONCE UPON A TIME IN SHAOLIN is an ultimately disappointing look at all of the things the front cover promises; part ideological study of the struggles of musicians to be paid for the art; part history of the Wu Tang Clan's ingenious (and provocative) solution to this problem; and part examination of the role of patronage and the broader economics of art. Despite the book keeping all of its promises in terms of content, I kept getting annoyed at the style of the book. Bozorgmehr is clearly a smart dude, but his eagerness to display just how learned and sophisticated these arguments this crew of roughnecks from Jersey were foisting on the art world were ends up really frustrating. I get it, and I've bemoaned in other places that there is not yet a great "hip hop is art" book (although we do have Hamilton: The Revolution), but this isn't the way to do it. Just have the confidence to make the argument that there was more at stake here than a bunch of rappers trying to get absurdly rich off of the global elite. You don't have to take the belligerent and aggressive tone on display here (appropriate as it is for the Wu), and taking it won't convince those that don't yet agree. There's also a startling lack of objectivity on display here - for a book about these big issues, using "we" to refer to your ostensible subjects might not be such a slick move) - and ultimately I ended up just wishing Michael Lewis wrote it. Still worth a look to anyone interested in the story though.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paneek Lanko

    Got my copy off eBay! If you can't wait there's a few more copies on there. I'm a big Wu-Tang fan so I might be a bit biased here, but considering this whole album fiasco and its stupid concept (emphasis on 'stupid') I was somehow compelled to read the book. First of all, the reading is definitely different from other books. The writer seems to have his own style but it takes you into the heart of the story, almost as if you were there with them. That's why I granted the five star rating. At fir Got my copy off eBay! If you can't wait there's a few more copies on there. I'm a big Wu-Tang fan so I might be a bit biased here, but considering this whole album fiasco and its stupid concept (emphasis on 'stupid') I was somehow compelled to read the book. First of all, the reading is definitely different from other books. The writer seems to have his own style but it takes you into the heart of the story, almost as if you were there with them. That's why I granted the five star rating. At first I thought it would bother me to read on, but as the pages kept flipping I remained compelled and felt completely drawn into the story. I have followed this album and all the press around it from the day it broke into the news. This was one of the biggest music stories of 2014 and 2016. And I thought I knew it all, thinking the book would be a correlation of whatever was written in the press. I was wrong. It's amazing how much played behind the scenes that nobody knew about. Everything finally makes sense to me. All the conspiracies, the mysterious postings by Cilvaringz, the weird behavior by Martin Shkreli (threatening RZA). Literally all the pieces fell into place. I will not spoil the one scenario Cilvaringz had cooked up but my God if it had played out what a world it would've been. Simply an incredible story and an awesome read. Even if you're not into music or the Wu-Tang Clan themselves.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    For all the flaws this book possesses, WHAT a fantastic story told well. The author has attitude and personality in his writing, sometimes to the point of distraction, but the story was incredibly interesting, and I found myself caring more than I expected. How can real life be so much crazier than fiction sometimes? This is a story about Wu-Tang and their vision to focus on the value of making music, fighting the tide of free music downloads and piracy, emphasizing its importance as art. In the For all the flaws this book possesses, WHAT a fantastic story told well. The author has attitude and personality in his writing, sometimes to the point of distraction, but the story was incredibly interesting, and I found myself caring more than I expected. How can real life be so much crazier than fiction sometimes? This is a story about Wu-Tang and their vision to focus on the value of making music, fighting the tide of free music downloads and piracy, emphasizing its importance as art. In the process, the nation wasn't sure how it felt about the highest (and presumably wealthiest) bidder being the only recipient of the only copy of an album requiring six years to create. Amazing how the buyer ends up being the most hated man in America at the time. What a ride.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Crazy ass story! Truth is definitely stranger than fiction. I loved this book a great history of the Wu-Tang Clan! Highly recommend for anyone interested in the history of rap music!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Shawn

    I came into this book expecting a fun, quick read about the Wu-Tang Clan's infighting, some producer trying to make a quick buck, and Martin Shkreli being a general ass. I was blown away by how much deeper this title goes. Rather than being a typical "making of the album" journal, or a tell-all screed. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a deep-dive into the changing face of the music industry and the need for artists to adapt amidst the falling revenue streams of the major-label benefactors. How do I came into this book expecting a fun, quick read about the Wu-Tang Clan's infighting, some producer trying to make a quick buck, and Martin Shkreli being a general ass. I was blown away by how much deeper this title goes. Rather than being a typical "making of the album" journal, or a tell-all screed. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a deep-dive into the changing face of the music industry and the need for artists to adapt amidst the falling revenue streams of the major-label benefactors. How do you make money in a world that is used to getting the hottest new albums for free? Wu-Tang and their protege-turned-producer had just the idea: Make a new album, produce only one copy of it, and let the market decide how much it was worth. This is and of itself is an amazing story, but it only gets better once everyone's favorite "pharma-bro" gets involved.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    I had a love hate relationship with this book. There were times the book described the scene so well that you could almost smell the air. You could also tell the author was super passionate about telling this story. which I loved. There were points in which I felt the scene was painted just to be thrown over with a bucket of paint. Those times were few which is why I gave it 4 stars. I will probably read this book again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Koji Sakai

    Really enjoyed it. Made me think about art, music, and money and how we as a society seem to be devaluing art/music but are constantly looking for stuff to entertain us. But the question needs to be asked: if we don't pay for art/music, how do we expect people to keep making it? My idea is what if the government started paying artist to create. (I don't really believe in that, but it's something to consider) Also, the whole Martin Shkreli thing almost pushed the whole story to absurdity.. Really enjoyed it. Made me think about art, music, and money and how we as a society seem to be devaluing art/music but are constantly looking for stuff to entertain us. But the question needs to be asked: if we don't pay for art/music, how do we expect people to keep making it? My idea is what if the government started paying artist to create. (I don't really believe in that, but it's something to consider) Also, the whole Martin Shkreli thing almost pushed the whole story to absurdity..

  10. 4 out of 5

    Austin Pierce

    This is weirdly a perfect book. It's not the book I would have expected it to be. And I wrestled with that. But it kept me enthralled for day after day as I read it. I read it twice as fast as I would read normally read a book like this. All in all, great. Sadly, most business books aren't about the Wu-Tang Clan. Luckily, this one is. This is weirdly a perfect book. It's not the book I would have expected it to be. And I wrestled with that. But it kept me enthralled for day after day as I read it. I read it twice as fast as I would read normally read a book like this. All in all, great. Sadly, most business books aren't about the Wu-Tang Clan. Luckily, this one is.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nick Spacek

    brilliant insight into a story that has so many facets, it might as well be cartier.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Haspil

    Really good insight into the state of the music industry and the legendary one-copy Wu-Tang Clan album. Fun read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark Hanner

    FASCINATING! Utter brilliance. Hard to describe just how much this whole story is fascinating. RZA is. So happy to have read this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Dinaburg

    For a rich text version of this review and other writings, check out [DinaburgWrites.com] Reviewing Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of the Wu Tang Clan’s Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America’s New Public Enemy No. 1 is like trying to retell a story of improbable events that happened to your friend; unless your audience knows the subject of your story, all the twists and turns will fall flat. But if you’re listening to a wild ride narrated by the person For a rich text version of this review and other writings, check out [DinaburgWrites.com] Reviewing Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of the Wu Tang Clan’s Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America’s New Public Enemy No. 1 is like trying to retell a story of improbable events that happened to your friend; unless your audience knows the subject of your story, all the twists and turns will fall flat. But if you’re listening to a wild ride narrated by the person to whom they happened, strap in: it’s good even without context. I fit well into the no-context category. I mean, everyone that went to High School at the turn of the millennium had Gravel Pit—Napster-compressed and burned on a cd-r that skipped forward 20 seconds whenever their car hit a pothole—on loop. But beyond that, my exposure to Wu ended at my friend’s car, which he nicknamed Ghostface Killah after a frosty winter night Pollocked a 2-liter of Pepsi across the roof of his car, creating a haunted pareidolia. (He was also the source of my bootleg bombastic beats—coincidence?) I can sit here and retell this book’s story: RZA makes a hidden Wu album and a donk finance scammer buys it, and then he somehow goes to jail for crimes of being a donk. But I may as well be recapping a Scooby Doo episode. “Yeah, and then the ghost chases them off-screen, and then, when them come back, they’re chasing the ghost.” Cool. And I have no personal hook to the tale: you’ve already heard the best bit (it’s the car with the ghost face stain). Yet I still loved it! Why? The panache. The verve. The style. You need to read the words as presented. There’s a part where the author talks about Adele being “the real deal” and a three-dimensional person rather than the managed contrivance typical of a pop star. And I feel that, but for this author. He’s a full, complete person, not simply a narrator pushing you from one story hit to the next, recapping something interesting that happened to him. No, he’s the interesting one. And the stuff—which was interesting, don’t get me wrong—could have been anything! Imagine caring about paragraphs that only outlined speakers being delivered to an office building. TPS reports. Except, somehow, good. The writing is absurd to the point of poetic; once, the term “due diligence” was misused—my lawyer-brain sent out warning signals—but “...the due the extremely diligent” is such a fucking beautiful recapitulation of the phrase that it tattooed itself upon my beating heart. I am not exaggerating when I say I would consider myself successful as a writer if I turn a garbage-nothing clichéd phrase like “due diligence” into idiosyncratic flow with half the zest as a cool quarter of the sentences in this book.. Have you ever been on the bus or the street or the subway and overheard a conversation where the cadence or maybe the speaker’s voice is so enthralling that you just kind of zone out, listening to someone you don’t know talk about something you don’t understand, and you’re hearing the words without actually eavesdropping the details? If not, I am sad for you. If so, that’s Once Upon a Time. It’s soothing, while still being exciting. Won’t change your life. Doesn’t need to. Read the book. I know that’s the conclusion for about half my reviews, but what else can I do when a book deserves it? Once Upon a Time resists retelling, summarizing, gist-ing. It’s fun in a way I cannot point to another non-fiction and say, “Yeah, like that.” It’s not like that. It’s like it’s own thing. And unlike the secret album, this is available to you, right now. For a rich text version of this review and other writings, check out [DinaburgWrites.com]

  15. 5 out of 5

    J Earl

    Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Cyrus Bozorgmehr has a lot to like and a little that can, for some, be off-putting. On the whole it is interesting and an insider's look at what happened in the making and selling of the infamous sole copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album. I'll mention what is likely the most significant negative for some: the tone of the writing. I wasn't particularly enamored with the storytelling voice but at the same time Bozorgmehr was a part of the process and his involvement makes th Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Cyrus Bozorgmehr has a lot to like and a little that can, for some, be off-putting. On the whole it is interesting and an insider's look at what happened in the making and selling of the infamous sole copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album. I'll mention what is likely the most significant negative for some: the tone of the writing. I wasn't particularly enamored with the storytelling voice but at the same time Bozorgmehr was a part of the process and his involvement makes this more of a memoir-based account than what one might expect from either a music critic or art historian writing about the process and the result. So I can overlook his use, correctly, of "we" since he was indeed part of the we, even if not a large part. I can overlook his own answers to many of the questions raised by this since he was thinking about answers long before there was even a thought about a book. In other words, he has an emotional as well as an intellectual investment in the project and the irritating aspects of his narrative are, I think, mostly attributable this. Not some need to show what he knows or how smart he is. Thinking that about a writer often says more about the reader's insecurities than it does about the writer's alleged motivations. But anyway... The idea of making a record, in this case a hip hop record, and treating it in the same manner the art world treats other tangible works of art is a perplexing idea. On one hand it makes perfect sense, music is art. Music is, by most accounts, meant to be shared, which makes this experiment far more nuanced than it first seems. There can be one original Mona Lisa, which is valuable, and many copies all along the reproduction spectrum with both quality and value also all along a spectrum. But the physical album of music is a carrier, the art is the music embedded in that carrier. So should a singular buyer be prevented from offering widespread distribution of the music while maintaining possession of the carrier, the album? The album would, as the only copy, still be valuable but the art would have been shared. With modern technology the quality of what is shared is on par with the album so there is less of a quality drop-off than with paintings and such, not to mention the lack of texture and depth of two dimensional copies of paintings. All of that is to say that they never intended this to be a solution to the problem of valuing contemporary music but a statement about the fact that music is an art form which is currently being horribly under-valued. Treating it as one would a painting or sculpture is intended to start a discussion, not somehow be a solution. To think anyone involved with this project thought this was a "solution" is reading far too simplistically. To compound the confusion one of the poster boys for entitlement, Martin Shkreli, is the buyer. If ever there was an ideal person to show both the flaws and the inequities in the art world it was him. Art can and should, I think, speak to everyone. Yet art is still largely reserved for those with money, not class, just money. I would recommend this to anyone interested in music, art and the business behind both will find far more to like than dislike here. This is not about trying to legitimize hip hop and place it alongside other forms of music as equally artistic, not in the big picture. Hip hop is already there and those who listen to music know it, whether they like the music or not. This book is about treating an art form that is compact and abundant as a valued art form and not something to pirate. Reviewed from a copy made available through Goodreads' First Reads.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt Graupman

    A hip-hop-obsessed European wanna-be-music-producer travels to New York City to track down his idol, RZA, the mastermind behind Staten Island rap gods, The Wu-Tang Clan. Worried about the devaluation of music by consumers and streaming services alike, they hatch a grand idea for a single-copy album that functions as both an art piece and a statement about the worth of music. After a series of twists and turns, that album is purchased by perhaps the most hated man in America, prompting a tug-of-w A hip-hop-obsessed European wanna-be-music-producer travels to New York City to track down his idol, RZA, the mastermind behind Staten Island rap gods, The Wu-Tang Clan. Worried about the devaluation of music by consumers and streaming services alike, they hatch a grand idea for a single-copy album that functions as both an art piece and a statement about the worth of music. After a series of twists and turns, that album is purchased by perhaps the most hated man in America, prompting a tug-of-war over the record’s ultimate fate that somehow involves Bill Murray and a crate of fake AK-47s. So it’s confirmed: truth is stranger than fiction. It’s a shame then that this story didn’t have a better storyteller. England-born and Morocco-based Cyrus Bozorgmehr served as a consultant on Wu-Tang’s “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” project (for a shadowy investor known only as “Mr. S”) so he had a front row seat for all the insanity. Booking art galleries, commissioning a silversmith to sculpt the album case, trying to track down lost snippets of the record, etc., he was there for all of the globetrotting misadventures. Fascinating doesn’t even begin to describe the ins and outs of such an ambitious concept. The problem with this book, however, is that Bozorgmehr buries this incredible tale under pages of unnecessary slang and technobabble nonsense. Instead of getting out of the way of a compelling saga, Bozorgmehr frequently brings things to a halt by inserting analysis on the state of the music industry, employing as many meaningless buzzwords or profanity as he can. His writing style is a real momentum-killer. So, was “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” (the album) madness or genius? Was it art or folly? Is Wu-Tang for the children, or just the rich kids? “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” (the book) is a new-age tale of good(ish) - The Wu-Tang Clan - versus evil - “Pharma Bro” fraudster Martin Shkreli - with those answers hanging in the balance. And until Bill Murray steals the album back once and for all, the saga will continue.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Richard Munro

    A combination of Hunter S. Thompson and Dan Brown. I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. The first 30 pages or so, introducing the players and setting the foundation of what's to come was a bit slow. But then BAM, it picks up and you can't put it down until the final pages. I also like his very perceptive take on the history of the music industry over the last 20 years and the proliferation of "free" music and its effect on artists. A combination of Hunter S. Thompson and Dan Brown. I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. The first 30 pages or so, introducing the players and setting the foundation of what's to come was a bit slow. But then BAM, it picks up and you can't put it down until the final pages. I also like his very perceptive take on the history of the music industry over the last 20 years and the proliferation of "free" music and its effect on artists.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Morrow

    Just past midnight of on a cold evening in January 1994, I stood outside our boot camp barracks with three other guys. We passed around a single Newport that Sherman had somehow procured like it was a joint. The only noise, outside of our occasional cough, was the internal speaker on Spooney's overly expensive walkman. In a tinny sound that lacked any bass, I first heard Enter the Wu Tang. It was the opposite of that laid back, funk driven West Coast Style. It was like a derivative of a Hank Sho Just past midnight of on a cold evening in January 1994, I stood outside our boot camp barracks with three other guys. We passed around a single Newport that Sherman had somehow procured like it was a joint. The only noise, outside of our occasional cough, was the internal speaker on Spooney's overly expensive walkman. In a tinny sound that lacked any bass, I first heard Enter the Wu Tang. It was the opposite of that laid back, funk driven West Coast Style. It was like a derivative of a Hank Shocklee/Bomb Squad album. From that shared Newport at Ft Jackson, I was hooked. Over the years, I bought 36 Chambers, Wu Tang Forever, The W and Iron Flag. So when they came out with the idea of the one off album that they only made one copy of, I was fascinated. Then Martin Shkreli bought it and it became a bit of a circus. I had followed the story online as best I could - google hasn't figured out I would want to be told everything about the Wu that is published in the news. So when this book came out, I was excited. Before going on, I will say I am not unhappy or disappointed in this book. It was just what I expected. Bozorgmehr became involved with the one off album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. He is some sort of consultant/ free lance writer that had some tenuous connections with one of the Shaolin producers (not RZA) and one of the investors (only referred to as Mr. S). So, he becomes part of the team in marketing, PR and selling this ground breaking art. How can artists get paid in the era of cheap internet content? This is the topic that Bozorgmehr handles very well. He really delves into the questions of artist vs. listener vs. billion dollar corporation. Has capitalism demeaned art so much that consumption art is now not worth anything? I really loved his digressions and commentary into this. Is is Art? What is Art? How does high art differ from a hip-hop album? These are the questions Bozorgmehr seems to not really be prepared to answer. He wants to but appears to be self limiting out of some sort of fear that he is unqualified to answer this. Or maybe he is just too much of a bro to admit that he cares about art. Bozorgmehr makes sure we know he's a bro's bro. It gets annoying, but then he'll go back to intelligent digressions into capitalism and consumer art and you briefly forget about it. But, then he'll return either to bro's bro or worse. The worse is that from time to time he tries too hard and comes off like a high schooler trying to sound like Hunter S. Thompson. (To be fair sometimes Hunter S. Thompson sounds like a high schooler trying to sound like Hunter S. Thompson). Bozorgmehr covers but not in annoying detail some of the needed process story of business meeting with PR and auction houses, etc. And at this point, the book has become a little stale. Then enter Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli. He finishes covering that weirdness and the whole Darapin thing. I don't want to rehash it, but he covers this pretty well. The book is written like a bit of pop long form journalism. It's got a low ceiling but it reaches it. If you like the Wu or are fascinated by Shkreli or even like the idea of high art.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. Gonzo journalism about The Wu-Tang Clan's silver album, and all the concerns that went into making it. Interesting, but the self aggrandizing narration became very tiresome. I won this book in a goodreads drawing. Gonzo journalism about The Wu-Tang Clan's silver album, and all the concerns that went into making it. Interesting, but the self aggrandizing narration became very tiresome.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kary

    Brilliant! Hilarious. A slice of musical history.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Josh Schwartz

    Honest, gritty and funny. For fans of the Wu, or those interested in exploring the concept of music as art, this is an inside tale that was good quick reading.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    This book is written like an extended story told during happy hour, while the bartender keeps 'em coming. It's obscene, idiomatic, and sometimes confusing. Once you get used to the style, though, there's no doubt that it makes a good story. I reviewed Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for The Current. This book is written like an extended story told during happy hour, while the bartender keeps 'em coming. It's obscene, idiomatic, and sometimes confusing. Once you get used to the style, though, there's no doubt that it makes a good story. I reviewed Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for The Current.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul Glanting

    While this book is enjoyable simply for its proximity to Wu-Tang, it really shines when it raises questions about art and value. The narrative meticulously follows the process of trying to curate the context of this enigmatic album and asks us why are expensive things expensive? What/who controls the rift between high art and low art?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Norb Aikin

    A very interesting saga of a one-of-a-kind album and the story leading up to its sale to notorious Pharma-Bro Martin Shkreli. My only beef with this book is I wish it had been written and released once we find out what happens to the album with Shkreli in prison. There are a couple more chapters of this story yet to be written.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dan Solomon

    Fast read, fascinating story. Definitely s t r e t c h e d to book-length (there are like two chapters about what they did to celebrate after the sale) but the details are fun and it’s a breezy read that goes into some of the deeper philosophy behind the project.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sophia Ordaz

    Cyrus Bozorgmehr spins the larger-than-life tale behind the Wu Tan Clan's infamous single-copy album, an effort intended to make a statement about the devaluation of music in the age of streaming and piracy. As a senior advisor to the project, Bozorgmehr provides insider information that humanizes the story thus far, which has largely consisted of news articles and think pieces about the controversial album, considered elitist by many. As a senior advisor to the project, Bozorgmehr is also given Cyrus Bozorgmehr spins the larger-than-life tale behind the Wu Tan Clan's infamous single-copy album, an effort intended to make a statement about the devaluation of music in the age of streaming and piracy. As a senior advisor to the project, Bozorgmehr provides insider information that humanizes the story thus far, which has largely consisted of news articles and think pieces about the controversial album, considered elitist by many. As a senior advisor to the project, Bozorgmehr is also given to romanticizing the conceptualizations and motivations surrounding the album--to the point that you begin to wonder if certain aspects have been fictionalized to cast the Wu in a softer light or, simply, to sculpt the events into a traditional narrative arc. Bozorgmehr's tone is BOMBASTIC. At his best, he comes off as exuberant and hilarious, perhaps unintentionally so. At his worst, he sounds like he's spends a lot of time with his head up his own ass. Nonetheless, his commentary on adjacent musical experiments, like Nipsey Hussle's $100 mixtapes and Jay Z's Tidal streaming enterprise, proves to be valuable. Although he could've shaved off a good 50 pages, Bozorgmehr undeniably delivers a wildly entertaining account.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    3.5 stars...Mr. Bozorgmehr had the ultimate backstage perspective on seeing this project come to fruition and following that course was a fascinating read. Sometimes the observations about the Anglo vs. Continental legal systems, American healthcare, and no holds barred American corporate capitalism were quite powerful and insightful. Like the real-life process itself, the book up to the sale was superb. Once the contracts were signed and then the buyer revealed the writing became tangential to 3.5 stars...Mr. Bozorgmehr had the ultimate backstage perspective on seeing this project come to fruition and following that course was a fascinating read. Sometimes the observations about the Anglo vs. Continental legal systems, American healthcare, and no holds barred American corporate capitalism were quite powerful and insightful. Like the real-life process itself, the book up to the sale was superb. Once the contracts were signed and then the buyer revealed the writing became tangential to include absurd Scooby-Dooesque capers outlined to steal/get back the album. At a certain point, you can't read "Plan B" or "Bill Murray" anymore without groaning. I wish the editing in the final chapters had been tighter to bring the book (if not the story) to a close. I'm interested in reading more by Mr. Bozorgmehr to see if this is his regular style or how he wrote this particular book because he was so close to the project.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steve Erickson

    I didn't know that the Wu-Tang Clan's one-copy album was designed as an art project making a statement about the devaluation of music by piracy and streaming. (Also, Cher sang backing vocals on it!) The book suffers from the fact that it was written by a rich Brit - he mentions getting kicked out of Eton - with no interest in hip-hop or the Wu-Tang Clan (he had no interactions with any member except RZA and hears the group for the first time on page 229), but he's very smart and on target about I didn't know that the Wu-Tang Clan's one-copy album was designed as an art project making a statement about the devaluation of music by piracy and streaming. (Also, Cher sang backing vocals on it!) The book suffers from the fact that it was written by a rich Brit - he mentions getting kicked out of Eton - with no interest in hip-hop or the Wu-Tang Clan (he had no interactions with any member except RZA and hears the group for the first time on page 229), but he's very smart and on target about the difficulty of making a living as a musician now and the hypocrisy of the music industry. The stories about its buyer Martin Shrekli are pretty funny - the author says that he acted like a movie villain, and I kept thinking that he sounded exactly like Armie Hammer's character in SORRY TO BOTHER YOU.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Devin Curtis

    Despite what the cover wants you to believe, this is not a comprehensive look at the story behind the album. It's written by one of the behind the scene actors so your do get some new information, but it's written with such unbelievable bias. It reads like propaganda because the author continually attempts to spin everything that happens as positive while down playing the things he doesn't want to talk about (he glosses over the fact that the Clan was not in the loop or in agreement on the album Despite what the cover wants you to believe, this is not a comprehensive look at the story behind the album. It's written by one of the behind the scene actors so your do get some new information, but it's written with such unbelievable bias. It reads like propaganda because the author continually attempts to spin everything that happens as positive while down playing the things he doesn't want to talk about (he glosses over the fact that the Clan was not in the loop or in agreement on the album and that many of them felt cheated by the experience). Probably the worst thing about it though is his obnoxious style. He feels he has to cuss every few sentences and use over the top cultural references and he frankly just doesn't pull it off.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Byron

    I'm not even sure what this was. The author is not Clivaringz, the furrin guy who scammed the Wu into recording the album they sold to Martin Shkreli, but some other guy from the same country, who was supposedly involved in a marketing capacity. Though by his own admission, most of the guys in the group wouldn't recognize him if they saw him walking down the street. He doesn't seem to have been as involved with this story as he'd like you to think. He has a few sorta kinda interesting things to I'm not even sure what this was. The author is not Clivaringz, the furrin guy who scammed the Wu into recording the album they sold to Martin Shkreli, but some other guy from the same country, who was supposedly involved in a marketing capacity. Though by his own admission, most of the guys in the group wouldn't recognize him if they saw him walking down the street. He doesn't seem to have been as involved with this story as he'd like you to think. He has a few sorta kinda interesting things to say about various changes in the music industry, but he goes about saying them in the lengthiest, most pretentious way possible.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...