ORIGINAL - Raekwon Featuring Ghostface Killah, Capadonna, and Method Man - Ice Cream
Hot damn what a song.
This beat is the epitome of New York hip hop.
One of the highlights off of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (arguably one of the greatest rap albums ever), RZA knocked this track out of the park.
Very few songs in the entire Wu-Tang universe revolve around "the ladies". All the more reason "Ice Cream" stands out.
But not just because of it's hood love song theme.
It is a flat out banger in every regard.
RZA actually got the idea for the song from an Eddie Murphy routine from his epic Delirious standup special -
The song is dedicated to babes of all different persuasions- "Chocolate Deluxes, Butter Pecan Ricans, Caramel Sundaes, and French Vanillas".
This type of song is so rare for Wu-Tang that it almost didn't occur, or see the light of day once it was recorded.
According to Raekwon himself -
Complex - I hated ‘Ice Cream’. That’s crazy, right? It’s funny ‘cause, I loved the beat. The only thing I didn’t like about the record, I felt like it was too soft for Cuban Linx. When I tell you everybody fought with me, even Ghost was like, ‘Nah G, this is it.’ And I was like, ‘Nah, it’s too soft. We need everything hard! Gutter!’
It wasn’t like I wasn’t on my chick thing, I wasn’t just focusing on that at the moment. I just wanted a hard album. A solid album. I loved the record. I was never mad at it being on Cuban Linx. It was just when it came down to doing videos, really ampin’ it up, I was like, ‘Nah, I ain’t really feelin’ it.’ And then you know, the shit just end up poppin’ off on the radio and they was playing it.
I like the concept. To me, when Meth came with the hook and we figured it out and said, ‘We gonna talk about ice cream, we gotta talk about all flavors.’ It was just a great concept and basically I loved the record based on that, but it was definitely one of the ones that I could really say I looked past.
The true brilliance of the song lies in its instrumental production.
I realize I beat to death how genius the producers I highlight in this series are, but it's because it's true.
Here's a great piece from Method Man describing RZA's overall thought process -
Complex - I did that the same week I did ‘Shadowboxin’.’ It was in the same spot, RZA’s basement. I’m sitting there and RZA gave me an idea. He was like, ‘Yo, why don’t we just compare chicks to ice cream? I’ve got a vision, listen. We compare chicks to ice cream, and we can make t-shirts and all that shit with different flavors on them.’ I’m like, ‘I’m hip. What are we going to call the flavors?’ He says, ‘Chocolate Deluxe, Butter Pecan Rican.’
I’m listening to him, and as I’m listening, I’m writing them down, and I’m writing the hook. I could have said any fucking flavors I wanted to say, but those right there were the ones that RZA gave me. It was his vision, I just brought it to life.
I didn’t even know Cappadona was on it. I didn’t hear the finished product until after the album was done. RZA was good with that, you couldn’t get a tape from him. He wouldn’t let you take shit with you. So when you did it that night, you were trying to listen to it as many times as possible, because after that you weren’t hearing nothing else. He took the reel home with him every day.
That was back in the days when I would even work the board. I did all the mixing and mastering on my second album. I did all the echos, the beat dropping out, and coming back in. RZA used to let me do that shit a lot. I was supposed to go in a whole different direction. It was just that towards the middle, I was like, ‘Nah. I’m not as interested as I used to be.’
Like I made the beat to the St. Ides. song ‘Special Brew.’ RZA sampled the drums, but that’s me playing the keyboard on that original St. Ides shit. I just don’t do it often because I’m lazy. I did ‘Judgement Day’ too. I put that together. Mind you, I didn’t sample any of the music. I just put it together the way I liked it.
What GZA and Raekwon’s albums had that my album didn’t have was True Master. True Master did a lot of joints on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. He did songs like ‘Assasination Day,’ ‘Fish,’ a few joints.
When it was me and RZA, it was just me and RZA. RZA produced every track on my first album. Ol’ Dirty Bastard had the same shit. 36 Chambers, that was RZA’s coming-out party. Sometimes when we did verses, they just dropped into place and we left them as is. So a lot of shit just dropped into place with him.
When he did my album he had clarity. It was like it was training. That’s the way I took it. By the time he did Rae’s album and GZA’s album, he was so focused. It was like, ‘Okay, this is how it’s done.’
Look for example what RZA did with just this song.
SAMPLE - Earl Klugh - A Time For Love
RZA took this guitar riff, and flipped it for his sample. Watch this quick video below
Next, he took the drums from
Rufus Thomas - The Breakdown Part 2
and layered those in.
The result is the classic song everybody knows and loves.
p.s. - RZA was in the news this summer for something else ice cream related. He took the famous Good Humor ice cream jingle and replaced it with a new version.
DJ Mag- American ice cream truck originators Good Humor have teamed up with Wu-Tang Clan's founder, RZA, to create a new jingle for ice cream vans in the U.S..
RZA has produced the track to replace the currently jingle, 'Turkey in the Straw', an American folk song that dates back to the early 1800s and is tied to racist minstrel performances.
Drawing "inspiration from his childhood memories of chasing after ice cream trucks on Staten Island — blending traditional ice cream truck sounds with jazz and hip-hop elements," RZA's melody will be available to ice cream trucks in the U.S. via Nichols Electronics, who will also erase 'Turkey in the Straw' from their music boxes.