A Scottish man has been fined £500 for rapping along to the N-word in Wu-Tang Clan’s 1992 hit ‘Protect Ya Neck’.
According to Scottish outlet The National, 25-year-old Kyle Siegel, who is white, was ordered to pay the fine – as well as an additional £20 “victim surcharge” – last week after a hearing in Lerwick Sheriff Court, during which he took full responsibility for the offence.
It’s reported that Siegel, admitted he’d been acting in “a disorderly manner” when the incident occurred around 1am on Sunday February 20. Siegel was attending a birthday party at the Scalloway Boating Club, and supposedly wound up inside a cubicle in the female restroom, where his lawyer, Tommy Allan, says Siegel was “singing along to a TikTok on a friend’s phone”.
Unbeknownst to Siegel, a woman of mixed race was in the cubicle next to him. After witnessing the incident, she reportedly engaged in an argument with Siegel before reporting him to the police.
Appearing in court, Siegel appeared apologetic and conceded that he had “crossed the line”, but denied having any ill intentions with his explicit singalong. His attorney said that while issues such as “artistic freedom” arose from the case, he noted Siegel was not a “person of colour”.
‘Protect Ya Neck’ was released in May of 1993 as Wu-Tang Clan’s debut single. It was the first song they’d ever minted as a group, and although it failed to chart upon release 29 years ago, it remains one of their most iconic recordings. In the original version of the song – which also appears on Wu-Tang’s debut album, ‘Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ – the N-word is rapped seven times.
Back in April, ‘Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ was archived in the US’ Library Of Congress. It entered the National Recording Registry alongside albums by A Tribe Called Quest and Alicia Keys, following the news that a new documentary on the late Wu-Tang member Ol’ Dirty Bastard – co-produced by his widow, Icelene Jones – had entered production.