How Wu-Tang Clan all paid $100 to make their best song
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How Wu-Tang Clan all paid $100 to make their best song

The Wu-Tang Clan were a phenomenon when they first hit the airwaves in 1993. Comprised of members from Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx, the Wu-Tang Clan provided the rough and ready New York kickback to the easygoing G-funk sound that Death Row was cultivating in LA.

The ‘C.R.E.A.M’ collective first broke onto the scene with their legendary track ‘Protect Ya Neck’. However, the way the song came to be created was quite unique. One of the crew’s most successful members is Method Man, and in an appearance on the My Expert Opinion podcast with Math Hoffa, the rapper (real name Clifford Smith) explained how ‘Protect ya Neck’ was recorded.

Speaking to the hosts, detailed, “Wu-Tang was supposed to be just Ol’ Dirty Bastard RZA and GZA. That’s what it was supposed to be, but that joint that we did ‘Protect Ya Neck’ was their posse cut with people from around the way. It more basically like, ‘Bring $100 to the studio,’ and then RZA, being the scientist that he is, was like, ‘Why don’t we come with all these n*ggas they’re at the crib every motherf*cking week!’”

Smith continued, “We were making tape after tape. We were already hood celebrities! The majority of sh*t that we did on that first album was shit we had been doing since we were 15!” Method man elaborated and explained that effectively when the original trio recorded ‘Protect Ya Neck’ and decided to make it a posse cut. This decision turned the Clan into superstars.

In an interview with Complex, Smith broke down the details even further, disclosing, “RZA came to us and said, ‘I’m doing this record. I wanna do this record with all of ya.’ Wu-Tang was supposed to be just him, Ol’ Dirty, and GZA. All of us, collectively, was just gon’ be on the posse cut. ‘Protect Ya Neck’ was supposed to be the posse cut. So, everybody that showed up with $100 got on the record.”

He proceeded to reveal that a lot of the money used was drug money, divulging, “We all paid our $100 to get on the joint to pay for studio time. Niggas was hustling on the block at the time, so $100 was like sell ten cracks and you in.”

The former Wu-Tang Clan lyricist unveiled that the order of the track was just a natural decision that happened on the spot and that there was no thought concerning who went first and last, explaining, “As far as the order went, I don’t know how that shit happened, but it just happened. We all went in there one after the other after the other, and it just fit. It wasn’t no ‘Go back in and put his verse here and move his verse there.’”

Released through Loud Records, ‘Protect Ya Neck’ was the world’s first taste of the Wu-Tang, and everybody became hooked. The crew continued with their grimy sound and martial art aesthetic, all of which culminated in great success for the Clan.

You can listen to the track in the video below.