On this day in 1993, the legendary Wu-Tang Clan began their reign as one of the most powerful and influential rap groups in history by releasing their debut single, “Protect Ya Neck.” With this track, Wu-Tang took the rap game by storm with a style unheard and an attitude unseen. “Protect Ya Neck” set a tone in Hip Hop that shifted the genre toward a more hardcore, rugged sound.

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Originally recorded in a different order with a completely different beat, group member RZA took the liberty to reconstruct the song in post-production to the goliath that we all know and love. According to him, all he needed was the vocals of the group. The original beat used was just a placeholder used to get the verses. RZA’s unique style also incorporated the kung-fu film dialogue and fought scenes throughout the track. This unique style of production became a trend for Wu-Tang Clan.

To clarify any confusion about who is who on the song, the order of verses is as follows: Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Method Man, U-God, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Ghostface Killah, RZA, & GZA. The single was first released independently through Wu-Tang Records and had “After the Laughter Comes Tears” as the B-side. Loud Records later re-released it with “Method Man” as the B-side. It sold 10,000 copies.