It was the winter of 1992 in New York City, and Robert Diggs was trying to get a record made. Diggs, then known as Prince Rakeem, had an idea for a street single; a posse cut merging his already established group All In Together Now—comprised of himself and his two cousins—along with five burgeoning Staten Island rappers who, in recent years, had begun working with more closely. He referred to them as the Wu-Tang Clan.
In exchange for $100 per man, Diggs promised a verse slotted into the final mix in order to afford studio time. The fledgling group came up with $300, with some members apparently showing up with quarters to cover costs. The mastered version of the subsequent song, accompanied by a spooky and whirling sample of The J.B.’s “The Grunt,” had been completely reworked with new production, unbeknownst to every member besides Diggs, prior to its release. They titled it “Protect Ya Neck.”