Hip-hop is a form of expression mainly used in the African-American community to express feelings about topics that matter to everyday life and the situations these artists often found in. In late 1992, when the Wu-Tang Clan was formed, the group was no different than any other artists that had come before them. Now regarded as one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time because of their unorthodox style, the Wu-Tang Clan didn’t get very much respect from the major record companies early in their career.It wasn’t until they released an independent single titled “Protect Ya Neck.
” The song contained a very interesting message, a message which is often overlooked. However, it is clear that with the song “Protect Ya Neck” the Wu-Tang Clan was meant to express their resentment toward the record labels who would not sign them to a major deal because of their musical style, despite their popularity they gained in the underground hip-hop circuit, and there are two verses in particular that make this apparent. The first time this message appears in the song is in Method Man’s verse.Here one can clearly tell that he is trying to make his resentment toward the major record companies known. For example, in one line of his verse Method Man says “they putting shame in the game”.
Here he is referring to the rappers that the major record labels were signing and putting into the mainstream hip-hop circuit, which is referred to as the “game” in this case. He felt that these other rappers were not as good as the Wu-Tang Clan, that they did not deserve to be signed to these deals, and were therefore bringing shame to the hip-hop industry.Another instance where Method Man’s displeasure for the major record labels is made clear is when he says, “And like Fame, my style’ll live forever. ” In this case Method Man is referring to the unorthodox style in which the Wu-Tang Clan rapped. It was because of their unorthodox style that the Wu-Tang Clan was unable to get a record deal early on in their career. By making this comment Method Man is telling the doubters, which implied to be the record labels, that the style of the Wu-Tang Clan was one that would be loved by their audience for generations.
Method Man’s verse is the first verse to make the message of “Protect Ya Neck” apparent in the song, but there is another verse that builds an even stronger case for showing that “Protect Ya Neck” is a song that was meant to show the Wu-Tang Clan’s unhappiness with the major record companies. The second verse that really shows that the Wu-Tang Clan was trying to send a message to record labels that would not sign them is GZA or the Genius’ verse. GZA shows his unhappiness at the beginning of his verse by saying “The Wu is too slamming for these Cold Killing labels some ain’t had hits since I seen Aunt Mabel. Here GZA is commenting on how the record labels were just too scared to sign the Wu-Tang Clan, and the rappers they were singing weren’t producing good songs.Later on in his verse GZA continues criticize the major record labels as well as the artists they signed by saying, “First of all, who’s your A;R a mountain climber who plays an electric guitar but he don’t know the meaning of dope when he’s looking for a suit and tie rap that’s cleaner than a bar of soap. GZA is implying that the rappers the major record labels were trying to put out weren’t real rappers, but instead perpetrators who had no real talent.
After listing to GZA’s verse, it is clear that “Protect Ya Neck” was meant to express the Wu-Tang Clan’s resentment towards the major record labels that refused at the beginning of their hip-hop career. After listening to “Protect Ya Neck” by the Wu-Tang Clan, it is clear that the song was meant to was meant to express the group’s resentment toward the major record companies that would not sign them.In particular if you look at the verses of GZA and Method Man this specific message becomes clear. Both artists speak about how the major labels were putting out artists that didn’t have as much talent or potential Wu-Tang Clan, and that the Wu-Tang style of rap was better than what was being played on the mainstream hip-hop circuit. It turned out that The Wu-Tang Clan was correct. The group was signed to a major deal shortly after the release of “Protect Ya Neck,” and went on to become one of the most influential and successful groups in hip-hop history.