The Wu-Tang Clan was assembled in 1992 with RZA as the de facto leader and the group's producer. RZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard adopted the name for the group after the film Shaolin and Wu Tang. The group's debut album loosely adopted a Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang theme, dividing the album into Shaolin and Wu-Tang sections.
The Wu-Tang Clan first became known in 1993 following the release of the independent single "Protect Ya Neck", which immediately gave the group a sizable underground following, especially after their tour with Kat Nu and Cypress Hill. Though there was some difficulty in finding a record label that would sign the Wu-Tang Clan while still allowing each member to record solo albums with other labels, Loud/RCA finally agreed, releasing their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), in 1993. This album turned out to be critically acclaimed, and to date is regarded as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. The success of Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers established the group as a creative and influential force in mid 1990s hip hop, allowing Ol' Dirty Bastard, GZA, RZA, Raekwon, Method Man, and Ghostface Killah to negotiate solo contracts. RZA spoke on the Wu-Tang Clan's unorthodox business model:
"We reinvented the way hip hop was structured, and what I mean is, you have a group signed to a label, yet the infrastructure of our deal was like anyone else's. We still could negotiate with any label we wanted, like Meth went with Def Jam, Ol Dirty went with Elektra, Rae stayed with Loud, Ghost went with Sony, GZA went with Geffen Records, feel me? And all these labels still put "Razor Sharp Records" on the credits. Wu Tang was a financial movement. So what do you wanna diversify...? Your assets?"
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