Producer: RZA/RZA
Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)/"Protect Ya Neck" 12" Single
Label: Loud/Wu-Tang Records
Wu-Tang Clan "Protect Your Neck"
Wu-Tang Clan "Protect Your Neck (Bloody Version)"
The first Wu-Tang song was raw as hell, boiling with the excitement that NYC hip-hop was searching for in the wake of Dr. Dre and friends' G-Funk dominance. The hungry eight MCs dared anybody to step to them, warning in the process that the game was about to change. The inventiveness (Meth's "The smoke from the lyrical blunt makes me *cough*"), morbid humor (Ol' Dirty warning, "I'll be stickin' pins in your head like a fuckin' nurse"), and outrageous claims ("Flowin' like Christ when I speaks the gospel," says RZA) made the music industry take notice.

And that was the added beauty. "Rejects" of the biz, Prince Rakeem and The Genius' startling comeback was something resembling the plot from one of the beloved kung-fu films the Clan adopted for their signature sound. GZA closes by taking shots at mountain-climbing, guitar-playing A&Rs: "The Wu is too slammin' for these Cold Killin' labels" (a shot at his former bosses, Cold Chillin'). The single's "Bloody Version" keeps all the curses and ends with a mock beatdown; the nicely edited album cut features the radio interview.