Forbes flew 5633km to hear 53 seconds of Wu-Tang Clan's new album

The 60-second verse of new Wu-Tang Clan music featured a verse from MC Ghostface Killah.
The 60-second verse of new Wu-Tang Clan music featured a verse from MC Ghostface Killah.

A Forbes journalist has detailed how he flew more than 5000 kilometres from New York to Morocco, then drove another 150km with a faulty GPS, to hear a short snippet of the new Wu-Tang Clan album.

Forbes staff member Zack O'Malley Greenburg details the lengths he went to to hear the 53-second clip from Wu-Tang Clan's "secret" album, The Wu - Once Upon A Time In Shaolin on Forbes.com.

The snippet lasts under a minute and features a verse from Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah which, the producer claims, shows the "intensity" the album generated from the nine-strong group of MCs.

Only one copy of the 31-track double album has been made. It is being stored in the Royal Mansour hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco, in an engraved silver-and-nickel box crafted over three months by British-Moroccan artist Yahyaand.

The album is being auctioned to the highest bidder, with one reported to have already offered $5 million. Reports also suggest it could tour the world, with fans charged between $30-$50 to listen to the album in museums.

It is one of two albums the legendary New York hip-hop group are releasing this year, with A Better Tomorrow - their 20th anniversary record - due out soon.

O'Malley Greenburg meets Shaolin's producer Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzourgarh, who discusses the lengths he and the group went to to keep the project secret.

"The production of the album was done here in Marakesh beforehand and it was in a very unconventional way because I produced the music, I selected the beats. First, (I) sent them to RZA for reviewal. Song titles were already made up. Based on that, (the) selection was made as to who has to be on which record. With that we went to Staten Island, New York and basically got the guys together," he says.

"The recordings, they weren't allowed to have, they had beats - sometimes they actually had beats that had the similar sound but wasn't the actual beat. Had the same BPM, the same speed and everything, but they would rhyme with something that would sound ... much later. I just couldn't afford for it to leak. They were never given the final copies including (founding member) RZA."

He calls it a "raw, rough, dirty, gritty" record that returns to the sound of Wu-Tang's classic debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and says it has been six years in the making. "The whole approach of it had to be '93 to '97," he says.

Azzourgarh told Forbes he had been criticised by Wu-Tang fans for the project. Because of the way it was being auctioned, it means the album may never released to the general public.

But he said he was "very proud" of the album.

"I'm being crucified by Wu-Tang fans everyday ... They go for me, and I understand it. It's understandable. But I really believe in this approach. I think it's very necessary. I think people are responding to it in a very interesting way."

Watch Forbes' mini-documentary on the making of the album below:

- nzherald.co.nz

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