RZA’s signed E-Mu SP-1200 sampler sells for $70,000 in auction

We’re not quite sure if it’s still in working order, though…

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RZA E-Mu SP-1200 sampler

Image: Sotheby’s

The E-Mu SP-1200 sampler that RZA used in 1991, and signed this year, has been sold for almost $70,000 in a Sotheby’s auction.

READ MORE: The E-mu SP-1200: How one sampler ushered in a revolution

The hip-hop legend used the equipment to create some of Wu-Tang Clan‘s 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Judging by the worn nature of the SP-1200, RZA used it for quite some time after the album was released, too. The listing does not mention whether the sampler is in full working order – but it does bear the RZA signature, at least.

Sotheby’s expected the sampler to sell for between $50,000 and $80,000, and eventually went for $69,850 yesterday (26 July).

RZA E-Mu SP-1200 SAmpler
Image: Sotheby’s

The E-Mu SP-1200 was first released in 1987, combining a drum machine and sampler into one. Per Sotheby’s, it was a “fundamental tool in unleashing the Wu-Tang’s inimitable sound”. It described the machine as one of the “greatest contributions” to both hip-hop and American music more generally.

“This is the first SP-1200 that I ever owned,” RZA said of the SP-1200. He confirmed that it was used in the production of a number of classic Wu-Tang releases, too, saying, “There’s DNA in this.”

Also at the auction, the custom-made ring 2Pac wore at the last public appearance he made before his death sold for over $1 million, which far exceeded the estimated sale price of $300,000.

Both sales were part of Sotheby’s third annual hip-hop sale, which this year coincides with the genre’s 50th anniversary. But they were just two of almost 120 sales. Also up for grabs were a pair of Nike Dunks, Afrika Islam’s SP-1200 machine, and a curated collection of 394 sealed cassette tapes showcasing two decades of hip-hop.

And Wu-Tang fans were able to get their hands on more gear besides the drum machine. Up for grabs were nine cassettes of early Wu-Tang demos and RZA’s handwritten liner notes for the Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) album sleeve.

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