Tarik Azzougarh (Arabic: طارق أزوغار‎; born January 29, 1979), better known as his stage name Cilvaringz, is a Dutch-Moroccan record producer, rapper, and artist manager from Tilburg, North Brabant. He is associated with the Wu-Tang Clan[1] and is best known for conceptualizing and producing the world's most expensive work of music, Wu-Tang Clan's Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.[2]

Birth nameTarik Azzougarh
Also known asCilvaringz
Born (1979-01-29) January 29, 1979 (age 42)
Dordrecht, South Holland, Netherlands
OriginTilburg, North Brabant, Netherlands
GenresHip hop
  • Record producer
  • rapper
  • artist manager
Years active1992–present
Associated actsWu-Tang Clan

Cilvaringz was discovered by Ol' Dirty Bastard and Method Man at a Wu-Tang Clan concert in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on May 26, 1997. After impressing ODB with a live freestyle on stage he was introduced to RZA who signed him to Wu-Tang Records in 1999, becoming the first non-American affiliate of the Wu-Tang Clan.[3]

Between 2002 and 2010 Cilvaringz toured the world as the official opening act of RZA, Method Man & Redman, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah.[citation needed] On April 9, 2007 he released his first solo album I through five different record labels around the world,[4] receiving critical acclaim for its return to the original Wu-Tang sound.[5][6]

In April 2008 Cilvaringz conceptualized and began producing Wu-Tang Clan's secret album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin under the patronage of RZA.[citation needed] The unique release of the secret album as only one available copy in the world became one of the biggest and widely covered music stories of 2014.[7] Forbes magazine broke the story exclusively on March 26, 2014.[8] On May 3, 2015 the album sold for a reported 2 million USD to pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli, making it the most expensive musical work ever sold.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Cilvaringz was born in Dordrecht, Holland and grew up in the city of Tilburg. [9] As an avid basketball player he was introduced to Hip Hop in 1992 and recorded his first demo the same year.[citation needed] After hearing Wu-Tang Clan's debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) he made it his aim to "either become an NBA basketball player or get a recording contract with the ever expanding Wu-Tang Clan movement."[citation needed]

Discovery by Wu-Tang ClanEdit

On May 26, 1997, the Wu-Tang Clan performed at the Melkweg in Amsterdam as part of the Wu-Tang Forever promo tour. As the concert came to an end Wu-Tang Clan members Ol' Dirty Bastard and Method Man announced a freestyle session for local talent. Cilvaringz rushed to the stage but could not reach it due to the excitement of many fans. Ol' Dirty Bastard spotted Cilvaringz struggling from the side and pulled him up on stage, giving him his microphone. Capturing the attention of the entire group and crowd with his freestyle, he was pulled to the side by Method Man and Ol' Dirty Bastard and then introduced to RZA who was watching the freestyle from the side of the stage. When a fight broke out between the Wu-Tang Clan and a group of fans whose girlfriends were getting undressed by Ol' Dirty Bastard on stage, security rushed in and cleared the podium, throwing Cilvaringz back into the crowd.[citation needed] Not knowing how to get backstage Cilvaringz lost contact with RZA. According to Cilvaringz, RZA had just told him that he was interested in signing him to Wu-Tang Clan's extended group the Wu-Tang Killa Beez.[3]

Wu-Tang Records SigningEdit

Wu-Tang Clan & Cilvaringz

Between 1997 and 1999 Cilvaringz traveled back and forth to New York in the hope of finding RZA. In February 1998, Cilvaringz met RZA's sister Sophia and his mother Linda at the Wu-Nails salon in Staten Island, New York, leaving behind a demo and letter for RZA. In February 1999 Cilvaringz met with RZA's sister again, this time randomly in front of the Razor Sharp Records offices in downtown Manhattan. After hearing his new demo Sophia called RZA and asked him to come by the office. Upon hearing his demo and seeing the enthusiasm of his employees, as well as Ghostface Killah's positive feedback over the phone from prison, RZA signed Cilvaringz to Wu-Tang Records. Coincidentally, Cilvaringz began recording his debut album I on May 26, 1999 at the Wu-Villa in Paris, France, exactly two years after being discovered on stage.[citation needed]

RPEG LtdEdit

In 2002, Cilvaringz launched his entertainment company RPEG Ltd which organized world tours and booked live performances for various artists including Wu-Tang Clan members, Sean Paul, KRS-One, 50 Cent, Mr Probz, Gorillaz and others.[citation needed] Cilvaringz booked RZA's world tour in 2003 using it as his graduation project.[citation needed]

In 2006, RPEG Ltd expanded its services into management and guided the careers of Arab rappers Salah Edin, Eslam Jawaad, Ledr P from Sweden, Moroccan producer DJ Van and American producer Focus..., the son of Chic bassist Bernard Edwards who at the time was the only producer signed to Dr. Dre's imprint Aftermath Entertainment.[10] In managing their careers, RPEG Ltd collaborated with De La Soul, Damon Albarn, Gorillaz, IAM, Sefyu, Mala Rodriguez and others.[11]

In 2007, RPEG Ltd served as the executive producer for Salah Edin's debut album Nederlands Grootste Nachtmerrie which became the most controversial album in the history of Dutch Hip Hop music, also winning the Best Dutch Album Award. Later that year, Jive/Epic France and RPEG Ltd collaborated on the production of French artist La Fouine's second album Aller-Retour. Focus produced the majority of the album which reached Gold status in France. RPEG Ltd closed the year with a Cilvaringz and Ghostface Killah collaboration on a theme song for the Irish cartoon Skunk Fu.

In 2008, RPEG Ltd and lawyer Margriet Koedooder sued Dutch politician Geert Wilders for wrongfully portraying the image of the artist Salah Edin in the controversial anti-Islam movie Fitna. The court ruled in favor of Salah Edin and awarded 10.000 euros in copyright infringement and defamation damages. It was the first time Wilders lost a lawsuit.[12]

In 2010, RPEG Ltd teamed up with Universal Music Spain for the production of Mala Rodriguez's fourth studio album Dirty Bailarina. Focus was enlisted to produce the majority of the album. Dirty Bailarina won two Latin Grammy Awards for Best Urban Music Album and Best Urban Song.[13]

In 2011, RPEG ltd ceased all management and touring services to focus on the production of Wu-Tang Clan's secret single copy album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.[citation needed]

In 2016, RPEG Ltd took on management for Moroccan artist Manal, negotiating her contract with Sony Music Middle East.

AiM BiennaleEdit

From 2007 till 2009, Cilvaringz served as Vice President of the Arts in Marrakech (AiM) International Biennale, headed by Vanessa Branson, sister of Sir Richard Branson. It is during this period that the idea for Wu-Tang Clan's single copy album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin conceptualized.

Once Upon A Time In ShaolinEdit

In 2014, Cilvaringz and RZA announced the release of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, a Wu-Tang Clan album that was recorded in secret over a period of six years and of which only one single copy exists. Cilvaringz, who developed the idea of the Renaissance approach to music as a commissioned commodity further developed the concept with RZA into a presentable concept to the public, receiving additional advice from prominent art world figures along the way. On March 26, 2014 Forbes magazine exclusively announced the unique release of the album. The article reached a million views and spread throughout prominent media outlets across the world.

On May 3, 2015 the album sold to controversial pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli for a reported two million dollars, making it the most expensive musical work ever sold in the history of music. Martin Shkreli's identity as the buyer was kept secret until Bloomberg News revealed his identity in November 2016.[2] When Martin Shkreli was arrested for securities fraud allegations a few weeks later the FBI was prompted to tweet about the album's fate. It became the FBI's most liked and most retweeted tweet.[14]

In 2017 Flatiron Books (July 11, US)[15] and Jacaranda Books (October 1, UK and Commonwealth)[16] released a book also titled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,[17] the untold story behind the album, written by author Cyrus Bozorgmehr who served as a senior advisor to Cilvaringz and RZA from 2014 until 2016.


Cilvaringz played a small role in the movie Shouf Shouf Habibi. He also appeared in the theme song of the movie.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

Cilvaringz moved to Marrakech, Morocco in 2007 and lives in the city's outskirts with his wife and two daughters. He is a practicing Muslim but does not follow any particular ideology within Islam.[citation needed]


From 2002 until 2010 Cilvaringz performed a total of 163 live shows in 55 countries.[citation needed] Cilvaringz and RZA were the first Hip Hop artists to perform live in Bulgaria and Latvia.[citation needed] The Bulgarian concert sold out in a week and took place at the Winter Palace Of Sports in Sofia on March 20, 2003. 11.000 people were in attendance with 3 million viewers watching a live broadcast of the concert on television. It remains one of the biggest ever Hip Hop concerts in Bulgaria to date. The success of the sold out Latvian show during the same tour started a chain of Hip Hop concerts in the following years. Cilvaringz stopped touring after a final tour with Method Man & Redman in November 2010 to focus on the single copy Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.[citation needed]


Studio AlbumsEdit

Artist Album Label & Year
Cilvaringz I Wu-Tang Records / RPEG Ltd / Universal / Babygrande / Entak Japan / Nocturne France, 2007
Instrumental Albums
Artist Album Label & Year
Cilvaringz The Mental Chambers RPEG Ltd / Release Only, 2001
Cilvaringz The Third Chamber RPEG Ltd / Unofficial Internet Release, 2002
Cilvaringz I RPEG Ltd / Digital Release Only, 2017
Cilvaringz The Mental Chambers V RPEG Ltd / Digital Release Only, 2017
Artist Album
Cilvaringz The B-Sides feat. The RZA, 4th Disciple, Beretta 9 & Bronze Nazareth
Cilvaringz The Stone, The Gun & The Book feat. The RZA, Blue Raspberry & Remedy
Cilvaringz The Weeping Tiger [DJ Van Remix] feat. Raekwon, The RZA & Ghostface Killah
Executive Produced Albums
Artist Album
Cilvaringz I
Salah Edin Nederlands Grootste Nachtmerrie
Salah Edin Horr – The Album
Eslam Jawaad The Mammoth Tusk
Wu-Tang Clan Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
Executive Produced Singles
Artist Album
Manal Koulchi Ban
Manal Nah. feat. Shayfeen
Manal Taj
Manal Slay
DJ Van Ma Khasser Walou feat. Hanane El Khader & Mehdi Mozayine


Wu-Tang Appearances
Artist Song Album Appearances
RZA Cousins Digital Bullet Doc Gyneco & Cilvaringz
RZA Chi Kung Birth Of A Prince Beretta 9 & Cilvaringz
RZA You'll Never Know Birth Of A Prince Cilvaringz
Wu-Tang Killa Beez Woodchuck The Sting Royal Fam, North Star, Black Knights & Cilvaringz
Wu-Tang Clan Chi Kung Disciples of the 36 Chambers Beretta 9 & Cilvaringz
Ghostface Killah Skunk Fu Skunk Fu – Theme Song Shawn Wigs & Cilvaringz
Other Appearances
Artist Song Album Appearances
Doc Gyneco Cousins Quality Street RZA & Cilvaringz
Extince Dutch Touch Vitamine E Furiuz Stylez, Masta Lee, Rizky Rough, Roadrunna, Rowdy, Yukkie B & Cilvaringz
DJ Clinton Sparks Get Familiar Get Familiar 5 RZA, Brooklyn Zu, Prodigal Sunn & Cilvaringz
Rockin' Da North Neckbone Star Warz RZA, Cilvaringz
Ali B Chaos Verteld Het Leven Van De Straat Salah Edin, Casablanca Connect & Cilvaringz
ADHD Shouf Shouf Habibi ADHD Brainpower, Casablanca Connect & Cilvaringz
Salah Edin Hlash Horr – The Mixtape Freeman (IAM), Isam Bachiri (Outlandish), Eslam Jawaad & Cilvaringz
Salah Edin Bent Bladi Horr – The Album Cilvaringz
Parazitii Total Dubios Slalom Printre Cretino Cilvaringz
Rendition (film) Siasa Original Soundtrack Salah Edin, Eslam Jawaad & Cilvaringz
Swizz Beatz & Tapemasters Inc The Weeping Tiger The Mixtape Millionaires Club Part 2 RZA, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah & Cilvaringz
Fnaire Lif L'ba Ta Ata Yed El Henna Cilvaringz
Focus... Homage To RZA Dedication Blue Raspberry, TheFEW & Cilvaringz
Various Artists Bring The Riots Back Let It Flow Soundtrack Shogun Assasson, Shabazz The Disciple, Christ Bearer & Cilvaringz
Various Artists Man, Woman & Child Let It Flow Soundtrack Cilvaringz & Dom Pachino of Killarmy
Song Production
Artist Song Album
Ghostface Killah Guerilla Hood 718
Inspectah Deck A Lil' Story The Resident Patient
Raekwon Silver Rings Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang
Wu-Tang Clan All Songs Once Upon a Time in Shaolin


Artist Song Credit Director(s)
RZA Chi Kung Appearance Joseph Kahn
Skrillex Fuck That Appearance Nabil Elderkin
Fnaire Yed El Henna Producer Ivan Herrera
Salah Edin Vrouwtje Is Een Bitch Treatment / Appearance Ivan Herrera
Salah Edin Geliefd Om Gehaat Te Worden Treatment / Appearance Ivan Herrera
Salah Edin Nsani Ya Habibi Treatment Ivan Herrera
Salah Edin Tfoe [Remix] Producer / Treatment / Appearance Matt Alonzo
Salah Edin Gena Tahtha Aqdama Al Qumahat Producer / Treatment / Acting Matt Alonzo
Eslam Jawaad Pivot Widdit Treatment / Appearance Ivan Herrera
Manal Koulchi Ban Producer / Assistant Director / Treatment Frank Telli
Manal Taj Producer / Treatment / Director Cilvaringz
Manal Nah Producer / Treatment / Director Cilvaringz
Manal Slay Treatment Said Naciri
Van feat. Hanane El Khader & Mehdi Mozayine Ma Khasser Walou Producer / Treatment / Director Cilvaringz


  1. ^ "Cilvaringz – One Recensie op Cabaretinfo".
  2. ^ a b c "Who Bought The Most Expensive Record Ever by Bloomberg".
  3. ^ a b "Vice Interview With Cilvaringz".
  4. ^ "Cilvaringz Releases Debut Album".
  5. ^ "Cilvaringz – I [Review] at".
  6. ^ "Cilvaringz – I [Review] at".
  7. ^ "Press Once Upon A Time In Shaolin".
  8. ^ "Forbes Why Wu-Tang Is Releasing only One Copy Of Their Album".
  9. ^ "Tilburgse rapper tekent bij de Wu-Tang Clan".
  10. ^ "Focus... talks working with Dr.Dre".
  11. ^ "BBC Review Of Eslam Jawaad's The Mammoth Tusk".
  12. ^ "Salah Edin Sues Geert Wilders".
  13. ^ "Mala Rodriguez Wins Latin Grammy".
  14. ^ "FBI tweets about Martin Shkreli".
  15. ^ "Flatiron/Macmillan Release Untold Story Wu-Tang Album".
  16. ^ "The Bookseller: Untold story of Wu-Tang album to Jacaranda".
  17. ^ Amazon UK entry for the book Once upon a time in Shaolin. ASIN 1909762652.
  18. ^ 40, Stichting Nederlandse Top. "Adhd & Casablanca Connect & Cilvaringz – Shouf Shouf Habibi!".CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)