How Martin Shkreli Became Hip-Hop's Biggest Troll

A look back at Martin Shkreli's terrible relationship with hip-hop.

Martin Shkreli's drug hearing

Image via Getty

Martin Shkreli's drug hearing

In September of 2015, the world was introduced to Martin Shkreli, the guy who raised the price of AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 to a staggering $750 per pill. While a group of high schoolers reportedly recreated the drug at a much more reasonable price of $20 a pill, no one found a way to recreate a less troll-y version of Martin Shkreli (yet). We wish someone would, because the man who became one of the worst people of 2016 has been a thorn in the side of the hip-hop game since he crept onto the scene.

Shkreli, who's net worth is reportedly somewhere in the $40 to $45 million range, is an avid music fan and is said to have amassed a collection of unreleased music that features everything from previously-unheard material from Nirvana and the Beatles to a Wu-Tang Clan album that no one else is allowed to hear. Oh, and two discs worth of Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V​ material. Surprising to no one, Shkreli's ownership of this music hasn't been to share it with the world; it's been one of the most troll-tastic examples of quality material falling into the wrong hands.

With Lil Wayne threatening to sue Martin Shkreli if he leaks anything else from Carter V, why don't we look back at all of the fuckery Shkreli has caused the hip-hop game since he became a name people followed, with hopes that he doesn't get his hands on anything else he truly shouldn't.

Dec. 9, 2015: Shkreli buys the Wu-Tang Clan's one-of-a-kind album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin

The RZA started saying in March of 2014 that the Wu-Tang Clan would be making one copy of their next album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and selling it to the highest bidder. The owner of the album was first stipulated with never releasing the album for 88 years, but they were then relegated to just never selling the project commercially.

In December of 2015, music fans were aghast at word that Shkreli copped the album for a cool $2 million, apparently beating out all of the "private collectors, millionaires, billionaires, unknown folks, publicly known folks, businesses, companies with commercial intent" and other people trying to cop the release. As of now, Shkreli's able to do whatever he wants with the one Wu-Tang album no one else can own, and members of the Wu aren't happy with that.

Jan. 22, 2016: Ghostface Killah and Shkreli beef over Shaolin

When TMZ asked Ghostface for comment on Shkreli owning the Shaolin album, he didn't mince words: "I don't even know him, but when I heard what he did with the AIDS like that... That's not right." After Shkreli got word of what Ghost said about him, he clapped back on Twitter with the following: "Ghost mad that Shaolin outsold his last 5 albums… dude’s a non-profit rapper. Calls himself ironman, but sounds rusty AF."

Ghost, being Ghost, wouldn't let up, going in on Shkreli's appearance (including saying his nose looks like Michael Jackson's). Shkreli wouldn't let up, either, first saying he'd be destroying the Shaolin album, then saying he'd be removing Ghost completely from the Shaolin record, and added that he wanted a written apology from Ghost that needed to be "at least 500 words, no grammatical errors" to keep Shaolin intact. Then he went on the Breakfast Club and fixed his face to say this about Ghost: "He’s one of the greatest rappers ever, but he’s still a man, he bleeds the same blood as me, it's both red. And if you want to talk shit, I’m not the one… If he were here right now, I’d smack him right in the face." C'mon, Shkreli.

Ghost clapped back by releasing a 12-minute diss video in February of 2016 which featured him saying Shkreli not only was a man with a "12-year-old body" and calling Shkreli "a killer, man. But you a soft killer," no doubt a reference to his aforementioned AIDS medication fiasco.

As a side note, Shkreli did ultimately stream snippets from the Shaolin album after Donald Trump won the presidency. 

Feb. 11, 2016: Shkreli offers to buy 'The Life of Pablo' and not release it

About three days before Kanye West released his seventh solo album The Life of Pablo, Shkreli got on Twitter to offer Kanye a proposition: $10 million to be the sole owner of The Life of Pablo, but to keep it unreleased. He actually wrote, "Kanye and his label are legally required to take my offer letter to their Board of Directors. This should delay the album by a few days."

Who knows if anyone paid his offer any mind, but we know that Pablo not only got released, but went through a number of changes after its initial release.

Aug. 6, 2016: Shkreli threatens to release his own album

While we can't imagine anyone has actually heard Shkreli on the mic, he apparently was working on an album that would include, of all things, a song called "Ghostbusters" that was, in his words, "the inevitable ghostface diss," although he did make it clear that he took "shots at many rappers" on the track. Other featured songs apparently include "what dat mouf do," a track entitled "the professor" where he says he'd show his "surgical, and at times, academic flow" whatever the fuck that meant. He said the project would be "anthem after anthem," and that he "put down for the streets because I am a serial beat killer." Or whatever.

Dec. 23, 2016: Shkreli claims he owns Lil Wayne's The Carter V, plays tracks from album

Shkreli was back with a move that he said would "make Wu-Tang look irrelevant": he claimed to have acquired Lil Wayne's long sought-after The Carter V. As he'd done with the Wu-Tang album, Shkreli decided to tease some of the material from the album as an early Christmas present.

When asked if he should release the music, Shkreli said Birdman might "kill" him, and claimed he had "a two CD tape." He also declined to name the price he paid for the album. He did ultimately say that it's "the best Weezy album ever."

A little over a week later, Shkreli told DJ Akademiks that he believes he received "a two-CD, authentic, Carter V final product mixed down," suggesting that he was approached by a person he assumed was a hacker with a proposition for the discs due to his rep as a music collector. "If you’ve been known to spend seven figures on music, I would contact that person first before anyone else. Who else would you go to? Who else is putting seven figures down for unreleased rap tracks?"

Shkreli believed "the sale is legal," and that he didn't "believe that Lil Wayne could sue" him.

May 18, 2017: Lil Wayne threatens to sue Shkreli if he leaks more Carter V tracks

Two weeks after Shkreli got on a livestream to play two tracks from his reported double-disc Carter V collection (one of which is apparently a track entitled "Mona Lisa" that features Kendrick Lamar), lawyers from Weezy and Universal Music reportedly sent cease and desist letters to Shkreli over said leaks, with a threat of legal action if the leaks continued. Keep in mind, this is after TMZ reported in January of 2017 that Lil Wayne's camp reached an agreement with Shkreli where he promised to no longer leak any Carter V material, of which Shkreli said he has the only copy.

So there you have it; Shkreli has been a known troll to some of the greatest acts within the hip-hop scene, and even threatened to defile the rap game by putting out his own release. With as much money as he has, stopping him might prove to be a little difficult, so can we all just agree that if he politely stops trolling hip-hop, we'd stop giving a fuck about him? Is that too much to ask for?


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