Wednesday, June 29, 2011

U-God's Resume #3: "Protect Ya Neck"

U-God's Resume #3: "Protect Ya Neck"

Watch ya Step Kid.

--Official Stats--
Artist: U-God
Song: Bridge on "Protect Ya Neck"
Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Release: 1992

In this series of posts we examine U-God's contributions to the Wu-Tang Clan one line at a time to determine if his status as "wack MC" is deserved. I think it is not, but let's let the facts speak for themselves.

First of all, I screwed up.  The first time anyone heard U-God's voice was not on "Enter the Wu-Tang" at all, but on the single for Protect Ya Neck which dropped over a year ahead of the complete album. Now, I think the chances that anyone heard this single before they got the full album are pretty slim, especially in the less populated parts of the country, but some people did, which means some people's first exposure to U-God was here. So, what did they hear?

"Protect Ya Neck"

Protect Ya Neck is the Wu-Tang song.  It was my favorite song for about a year (when it was replaced with Bring the Pain), and it is one of the best hip hop songs ever made. That's a fact. It's one of the few tracks that features the entire Clan (except for Masta Killa) and doesn't feel like it runs for and hour. How did they accomplish this? No down time, no transitions, and short verses. U-God rocks a shorter-than-short verse here, also called a bridge (or transition). U-God demonstrates how he got his nickname the 4-Bar Killer, because he kills it in four bars:

Ooooh, what, grab my nut get screwed
Oooow, here comes my Shaolin style
True, B-A-ba-B-Y  U
to my crew with the "SOOOO"!

Unfortunately, he does not kill it.  His four bars are unintelligible.  I've literally heard this song a thousand times, and I've never really listened to his lines.  I know this song, but I've never tried to memorize it. I know almost all the words, but I've never picked up the second half of Rae's verse, some lines in Ghost's verse, or any U-God's lines (except for the 'sooo'). This is a pretty common scenario for me, Rae and Ghost lines just don't stick in my mind, I think they're too tricky for me to passively remember (and that's definately not a knock against them), their verses are the TOAST. I think that there are three reasons I don't know U-God's lines at all: one, they're really short; two, I was never that impressed by them; and three, I had no idea what he was saying until today, June 15, 2011, when I looked up the lyrics for the first time ever (I guess). Like twenty years after the song came out and it's the first time I realized that U-God was spelling "Baby-U".  I never got that before.

So how did our boy do? Well, he did spit on one of the all time greatest hip hop songs. But he didn't get a full verse, and he didn't really say anything, and I've never understood him. So where does that leave him? To be fair (I've made this point before) Baby-U is sandwiched between Method Man and ODB, who both deliver stellar lines. In fact, I think Dirty spits one of his all time greatest verses, so how could anyone compare to ODB's best? Even though it's probably the worst verse in the song I'll give this one to U-God, it's not great, but it is on "Protect Ya Neck" and it is a great bridge. You'd be lucky to have a bridge like that on anything you make.

U-God Score: 6/10
Impact on Rep (+, -, =): Improves

"Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" - Overall

So how did U-God do overall on the Wu-Tang's debut album? Okay I guess. Definately not as good as anyone else in the Clan), but that's because he wasn't really featured (maybe Masta Killa faired a little worse as he was also largely absent from the album, but who knows?). His one verse on Da Mystery of Chessbxin was good, and that's his only real contribution to the album, so what can I say? He did good. He get's his big intro ("he a psyochopathic thinker"), and a few mentions (Clan In Da Front), so his reputation is established and he was well positioned to progress with his career.

U-God Score: 7/10
Impact on Rep (+, -, =): Improves
Next: U-God’s verse in "Anything (Old School Remix)" by SWV. Yep, that's right.
Coat size: XXXXL
About this series: “U-God’s Resume" is a series of posts which looks at each line of U-God’s entire career to determine if his status as ‘wack’ is justified (as labeled by internet morons). I think it is not. U-God is dope. We'll prove it. Leave it to the Tort Team.

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