While the album and its owner have lived their misadventures, Artnet News tells us that the Wu-Tang leader RZA faced his own challenge on the theme of Once Upon A Time in Shaolin. After it was (allegedly) revealed that the album was illegally using Jason Koza`s artwork, the artist hit the brain of Wu-Tang and a number of other parties involved in selling the album with a copyright infringement lawsuit. While sources say Shkreli was able to escape his side of the lawsuit thanks to a clause he had included in the purchase agreement, the case was eventually settled to the apparent satisfaction of Koza`s lawyer and with a complete lack of comment from RZA`s lawyer. While we can only speculate on the details of the settlement, we can still take solace in how Koza`s legal complaint related to the album`s title: “Once upon a time there was a great artist named Jason Koza, who lived in Copiague, New York.” With legal action, RZA hopes to prevent smugglers from continuing to sell unauthorized goods and calls on online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and AliExpress to stop advertising smugglers` businesses through their platforms. Ghostface Killah is not the first (or last) musician to own a gun, but oddly enough, his bloodline has managed to get into legal trouble with guns for at least two documented generations. MTV News tells us that the rapper got into hot water with authorities in 1997 when police stopped his car in Harlem for a traffic violation. Ghostface Killah jumped up and began to become confrontational, and when officers noticed he was wearing a bulletproof vest, it was “probably a reason to search you and your car.” A handgun was found and an arrest followed. [This headline was updated after the publication to clarify that the lawsuit is directed against the Wu-Tang production company, not the group itself as a legal entity.] ODB, whose official name was Russell Tyrone Jones, was a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, the rap group that became a star in the early 1990s. He died of a drug overdose in 2004 at the age of 35. “Wu-Tang Productions, Inc., owned by Wu-Tang member Robert Diggs (RZA), has deliberately refused to compensate Ol` Dirty Bastard`s estate or provide accounting documents, even though it is contractually obligated to do so,” the estate`s media representative said. “The property will be randomly received partial checks, such as Wu-Tang Productions` $130,000 in July 2021, but without financial records, we have no indication of the exact amount the estate still owes. It is important to understand that the widow and executor of the PMO`s will, Icelene Jones, has been requesting these financial documents for years and is required to do so by law.
This is not an attack on Wu-Tang Productions, Inc., but a final appeal that we had to pursue after being denied and ignored in this case for more than ten years. In legal documents, RZA accuses smugglers of “deceiving ignorant consumers by using Wu-Tang trademarks without permission,” which attracts those who search for Wu-Tang products on the Internet and makes them believe that the items sold are genuine. According to a recent cache of FBI files, he was also — along with members of the Wu-Tang clan — allegedly “heavily involved in the sale of drugs, illegal weapons, gun possession, murder, car hijacking, and other types of violent crimes,” lending credibility to their acclaimed song “Wu-Tang Clan Ain`t Nuthing ta Fuck Wit.” The 94-page FBI filing, released following a Freedom of Information Act request, says detectives sought the assistance of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney`s Office in trying to build a case against the “WTC organization” that included “federal indictments and a RICO prosecution.” Cappadonna lived on the streets and even started driving a $10 illegal taxi in Baltimore, while accusing the Wu-Tang clan of owing him money. Still, he managed to get full member status of the Wu-Tang Clan, so whether you think it was a legitimate personal crisis or a particularly inspired negotiating tactic, things seem to have worked out in the end. Whatever happened at the time, Cappadonna said her homeless taxi driver was not motivated by financial realities. As he said, “It was voluntary. But it was more my way of rebelling against the materialistic world. Because of the financial information withheld, the estate says it doesn`t know exactly how much it owes.
From time to time, Wu-Tang Productions sent a license check to the estate, like the one from July 2021 for $130,000. But the estate said he didn`t know if that was the amount of money he owed under the law. According to RZA, he tries not to have more than 20-25% sampling on a given record, which is very different from many other big hip-hop groups. He uses “the sampler more like a painter`s palette than a Xerox. On the other hand, I could use it as Xerox if I find rare beats that no one has ever had in their boxes. He played much of the piano himself, with Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk as main influences; For example, he created the piano part for “Da Mystery of Chessboxin`” after watching Thelonious Monk Straight`s documentary No Chaser.  For decades, the FBI has investigated legendary musical artists, including Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, the Beatles, and the Grateful Dead.