Originally, Tricky was a member of the Wild Bunch, a Bristol-based rap troupe that eventually metamorphosed into Massive Attack during the early '90s. Tricky provided pivotal raps on Massive Attack's groundbreaking 1992 album, Blue Lines. The following year, he released his debut single, "Aftermath." Before he recorded "Aftermath," he met a teenage vocalist named Martina, who would become his full-time musical collaborator; all albums released under Tricky's name feature her contributions.
Tricky signed a contract with 4th & Broadway in 1994. The contract contained a clause which allowed him to release side projects under different names, in addition to regular Tricky releases. "Ponderosa" and "Overcome" were released over the course of 1994; that same year, he made a cameo on Massive Attack's second album, Protection. Tricky's debut album, Maxinquaye, appeared in the spring of 1995. Not only did the album receive overwhelmingly positive reviews when it was released, but it entered the U.K. charts at number two, despite the total lack of daytime radio airplay. Throughout 1995, Tricky was omnipresent in the U.K., collaborating with and remixing for a wide variety of artists, including Björk, Luscious Jackson, and Whale. In the fall of 1995, he released Tricky Vs. the Gravediggaz, a collaboration with the American hardcore rap group, as well as a single called "I Be the Prophet," which was released under the name Starving Souls. At the end of the year, Maxinquaye topped many year-end polls in Britain, including Melody Maker and NME.