In the mid-1990s, hip-hop artists Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. engaged in a legendary feud that involved both sides of the country, the East and West coasts. Both men wound up dead.
Now there's a new hip-hop feud, and it's got a healthcare angle. Rapper Ghostface Killah, a founding member of legendary act Wu-Tang Clan, has his sights set on a new menace to society: Martin Shkreli, the embattled former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who was indicted on securities charges in December.
In a TMZ video, Killah compared Shkreli's nose to Michael Jackson's. He also demanded that Shkreli release “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” the as-of-yet-unheard Clan album. Only one copy of the album exists, and Shkreli placed the winning $2 million bid for it last year. Shkreli has refused to release the album to the public. Killah further called out Shkreli for raising the cost of a drug used to combat parasitic infections in HIV/AIDS patients from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet.
Shkreli fired back, and on Jan. 28 released a video on TMZ, demanding a handwritten apology from Killah for making fun of his nose. Shkreli was flanked by three henchmen wearing hoods and masks as he threatened to erase Killah from the “Shaolin” album, which was playing in the background.
The videos have created an Internet sensation, with TMZ describing Shkreli's contribution as “ISIS … on SNL.”
But the blustering former pharma executive, who has been prolific on social media, may not be saying much else to reporters. Last week his new lawyer, a high-profile defense attorney, told reporters Shkreli would stop speaking out in his own defense until the charges are resolved.
In a congressional hearing Feb. 4, called to investigate soaring drug prices, Shkreli smirked and took the Fifth Amendment but did manage to tweet: “Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent our people in government.”