SP-1200 sampler RZA used on Enter The Wu-Tang is up for sale, starting at $35,000

This might be for you, if you’ve got a spare $35,000 lying around…

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RZA Wu-Tang-Clan E-Mu SP-1200

Image: Getty/David Corio/Redferns

The E-Mu SP-1200 used by RZA to produce Wu-Tang Clan’s seminal 1993 debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is going under the hammer.

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

The sampler, which bears RZA’s signature, has been listed by Sotheby’s with bids starting at $35,000 (£27,139) with the value estimated somewhere between $50,000- $80,000 (£38,760-£62,016). It’s available to bid on till 25th July.

E-Mu’s SP-1200 was seen as a key tool in the progression of sampling as an art. First released in 1987, it has been used by artists the likes of Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Cypress Hill and DJ Premier and was considered a revolutionary piece of equipment by the standards of the day.

However, in 2023, its feature set is considered limited compared to modern music technologies. Still, such limitations are part of its appeal, leading to an official re-release by the original designer, Dave Rossum, and multiple reimaginations, such as the S2400 by Isla Instruments.

It’s not the only relic of hip-hop history that Sotheby’s is currently auctioning off. A collection of 119 hip-hop items are available to bid for currently to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the genre.

There are other pieces of Wu-Tang memorabilia up for grabs, including RZA’s handwritten liner notes for Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and another E-Mu SP-1200 owned and signed by Ice-T and producer Afrika Islam, which comes with four original floppy disks.

Guest curator Kelvin “Posdnuos” Mercer says: “For me, listening to music, and thinking about what that music does to you at that moment, and then being able to touch the equipment that was actually used to create it? That’s special

“It’s one thing to say, ‘Oh yeah, I recognize that drum sound, I know that comes from the SP-12.’ But knowing that you can physically see the exact one that was being used? There’s a level of energy that’s been leaked all over that machine. I feel the same way about it that someone might feel knowing that they can get their hands on Jimi Hendrix’s guitar – to see it and feel it and learn about it.”

Also up for grabs are a crown ring owned by the late Tupac Shakur, an original De La Soul leather pendant from 1989 and David ‘Trugoy The Dove’ Jolicoeur’s prototype De La Soul tour jacket.

Find the entire auction at sothebys.com.


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