And another one.
Another Sunday and another iconic hip hop anthem.
Everybody young and old has at some point heard the mantra of this song - Cash Rules Everything Around Me - C.R.E.A.M.
The track is a straight and forward sample of The Charmels‘ 1967 record, “As Long As I’ve Got You,” slightly chopped up. Same piano riffs and background vocals.
ORIGINAL - The Charmels - "As Long As I've Got You"
The record was originally recorded in 1991 and featured RZA and Ghostface Killah. The original title of the song was "Lifestyles Of The Mega Rich".
The group immediatly knew they had a hit on their hands but RZA being the perfectionist he is, continued to tinker with it. They re-recorded it several times over 3 years eventually deciding to go with the version they recorded in 1993 featuring Raekwon and Inspectah Deck. The song was finally released in 1994.
POWER 106 LA- "Once we got to the studio, I decided that this track had to be on the Wu-Tang album. I reminded Rae and Deck of their verses—their verses were long. Method Man, the master of hooks at the time, came in with this hook right here: ‘cash rules everything around me, cream, get the money.’ Once he added that element, I knew it was going to be a smash."
Complex - ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ did a lot for my career personally. It gave me an opportunity to revisit the times where that cream meant that much to us. So, yeah, when I think of this record it just automatically puts me back into ‘87/’88 where we were standing in front of the building. It’s cold outside. We didn’t care. We’re out there, all black on trying to make dollars. Just trying to make some money and trying to eat. Survive.
This song, I remember writing to the beat a long time ago before we actually came out. That beat is old. That was probably like a ‘89 beat. RZA had it that long because he had a bunch of breaks. He had all kind of things and he was making beats back then, but we was just picking and that beat happened to always sit around and I would be like, ‘I want that beat, so don’t give that beat to nobody.’ And he kept his word and let me have it.
Meth came up with the hook but our dude named Raider Ruckus, this was like Meth’s homeboy back then, like they was real close, he came up with the phrase ‘cash rules everything around me.’ So when he showed Meth what it was and was like, ‘Cash rules everything around me,’ Meth was like, ‘Word, you right!’ And turned it into a movie, and I came in later that day and heard it and co-signed it. - Raekwon
RAW: My Journey Into The Wu Tang - “C.R.E.A.M.” is a true song. Everything Inspectah Deck and Raekwon said is 100 percent true. Not one line in that entire song is a lie, or even a slight exaggeration. Deck did sell base, and he did go to jail at the age of fifteen. Rae was sticking up white boys on ball courts, rocking the same damn ’Lo sweater. And of “course, Meth on the hook was like butter on the popcorn. Meth knew the hard times, too, being out there smoking woolies and pumping crack, etc. That raspy shit he was kicking just echoed in everyone’s head long after the song was done playing.
The realism on “C.R.E.A.M.” is what resonates with so many people all over the world. People everywhere know that sentiment of being slaves to the dollar. Cash is king, and we are its lowly subjects. That’s pretty much the case in every nation around the world, the desperation to put your life and your freedom on the line to make a couple dollars. Whether you’re working, stripping, hustling, or slinging, whether you’re a business owner or homeless, cash rules everything around us. - U-God
The song also features a sample from Jimmy Spicer- "Money (Dollar Bill Ya'll)" (banger alert)
The song's been featured in the films 8 Mile and Straight Outta Compton.
And it's been sampled on a shitload of songs. Most notably The Notorious B.I.G. & Bone Thugs - Notorious Thugs
and Drake's "Pound Cake"
p.s.- I think I could go on a 6 month tear of just doing strictly RZA production's and nobody would get bored. Guy is a fuckin mad scientist.
p.p.s. - Remember when rap was fuckin awesome?