|Single by Wu-Tang Clan|
|from the album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)|
|Released||January 31, 1994|
|Format||12" single, CD5"|
Firehouse Studio in New York City
|Genre||East Coast hip hop, hardcore hip hop|
|Wu-Tang Clan singles chronology|
"C.R.E.A.M." ("Cash Rules Everything Around Me") is a song by the New York hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, from their 1993 studio album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The song was produced by Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA, and samples The Charmels' 1967 song, "As Long As I've Got You". "C.R.E.A.M." was released as a single through Loud in early 1994.
"C.R.E.A.M." features a verse from Raekwon, a long verse from Inspectah Deck and the hook performed by Method Man: Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M./Get the money; dollar, dollar bill, y'all.
The hook performed by Method Man has been sampled by many rappers. The phrase "Cream" has become a slang term for money. C.R.E.A.M. is one of the highest charting Wu-Tang Clan singles, reaching #60 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The music video for "C.R.E.A.M." features the members of the Wu-Tang Clan starting off at the projects in Staten Island and moving on to a more lavish lifestyle of champagne and Mercedes. The video for this single also features classic early '90s urban New York styles of dress, as the majority of the people in the video are wearing goose-downs, Champion hoodies, black skullies, and either wheat or black Timberlands.
On January 29, 2009, "C.R.E.A.M." was certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of 500,000 units, 15 years after it was first released.
It is featured on The RZA Hits compilation.
Several artists including The Notorious B.I.G., Big Sean, Big K.R.I.T., Willy Northpole, Wyclef Jean, 2Pac, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Akon, Fabolous, Fat Joe, Game, Transplants, Marcelo D2, Pat the Bunny, Nas, Swizz Beatz, Rakim, Jin, Mobb Deep, M-Flo, Young Jeezy, Common, Deez Nuts, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Das Racist, Zombie Juice, Freeway, Joey Bada$$, Beenzino, Drake and Loco among others have mentioned it in their songs.
The song is referenced in "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" by Wyclef Jean, Akon, Niia, and Lil Wayne. In the chorus Akon sings: "I'mma tell you, like Wu told me, cash rules everything around me, singing dolla dolla bill y'all". Raekwon, himself, made an appearance on the song's remix.
Shyne did a freestyle over C.R.E.A.M., called "Buffalo Soldier" for his mixtape "Gangland".
The song was sampled two months after the single with the remix of "Anything" by SWV and themselves.
The song was featured in the 2014 video game Watch Dogs.
Joey Bada$$ uses a play on the phrase in his song Paper Trails. Here he claims "Cash Ruins Everything Around Me"
- Intro: Raekwon and Method Man
- First verse: Raekwon
- Chorus: Method Man
- Second verse: Inspectah Deck
- Chorus: Method Man
"C.R.E.A.M" in the context as used by Wu-Tang, plays on the duality of the lyrics in the chorus, as delivered by Method Man - it is an admittance that we live in a world where the mass dictates success as measured by the accumulation of money.
Raekwon and Inspectah Deck then take turn in their respective verses discussing their experiences with chasing the proverbial dream illustrated in the chorus.
Raekwon, in verse one, talks about a harsh upbringing, in which turning to crime became a short term solution to his life goals. Through time, he comes to the realisation that this destructive approach, despite the 'gold tooth' and 'doing hits for high stakes' that 'My life got no better, same damn 'Lo sweater'.
He instead values that 'getting with a sick-ass clique' led him to his goal in a more productive and positive fashion - valuing the level of professionalism affording him the lifestyle he leads now. He still refers to the fact that life can still be volatile in the last two lines, and respects the fragility of his success.
Inspectah Deck's verse echoes the criminal youth sentiments explored by Raekwon, but rather than discussing the activities that led him to incarceration, chooses to detail the struggles that followed his choices. He almost gives into the violent and fatalistic cycle 'living in the world, no different from a cell', having been unable to come to grips with the reasons why he chose to take that path.
Pondering whether it was a result of escaping life via 'cess', he realises it's time to turn the page - admittance of a personal problem allows him to realise that he is able to actively make a positive change in life instead, and turns to spiritual guidance and introspection. Taking stock of his environment, and now wanting to pass his new learnings to 'the young black youth', of which he once was, and finds the cycle of rebelliousness will never change.
He does, though, in the end holds hope that we all learn the same lesson, one way or another (echoed by Raekwon's outro 'you gotta get over - straight up or down').
That life is hectic.
Single track listing
- "C.R.E.A.M." (Radio Edit) (4:04)
- "C.R.E.A.M." (Album Version) (4:03)
- "C.R.E.A.M." (A Cappella) (2:37)
- "C.R.E.A.M." (Instrumental) (3:38)
- "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" (Radio Edit) (4:40)