The hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan was formed and introduced to the world in the early 1990s. The original group members are RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Masta Killa out of Staten Island, New York City.
In 1992, the group signed with Steve Rifkind’s record label Loud Records and released their debut album, ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” It would later go into being one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all-time.
On Saturday night, Rifkind was part of a panel on Rifkind was in a Clubhouse room called Midnight Vibes hosted by Nait Jones and Mick. During the discussion, Rifkind shared the first time he heard the record ‘Protect Ya Neck.’
“The first time I heard it, there was a kid by the name of Trevor Williams, he was doing college radio for us. I guy by the name of Jason Staton sent him the record. Trev, for whatever reason, because the office was loud and noisy. He would work underneath his desk because too many people are in a small space to block out the sound. It doesn’t rain very much in Southern California, we have an office on Melrose, and he comes running to my car,” said Rifkind.
“He says, you have to hear this, and I listen to it, there’s no hook, and I’m like, how many guys are in the group. He goes, I don’t know. This dude is ridiculous. I said alright, I said I’m going to be in New York next week.”
Protect Ya Neck was a song that you could not play in the club too long because a fight would break out. Another record was called Shook Ones by Mobb Deep is also on that list.
Another deal that Steve was able to do with the Wu- Clan was they could negotiate their own solo deals.
“First of all, I feel to this day, especially in that era. I had the best a&r staff in the world. Scott Free, Matty C, Shawn C. Matty is the one that put Biggie in The Source and brought him to Puff, and Matty said, let’s get right. And that’s what RZA, and he saw what we saw at a street level.
Better than what Def Jam could do, better than what Elektra could do, better than what Geffen could do, and better than what Sony could do. Rza was at Sony, Dirty was at Elektra, GZA was at Geffen, and Method was at Def Jam.”
Four years later, after they signed to Loud Records, the Wu-Tang Clan won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.