On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M. (1993)
” C.R.E.A.M.” (an acronym of “Cash Rules Everything Around Me”) is a song by the American hardcore hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, released on January 31, 1994 by Loud Records, as the third single from their debut studio album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993).
We’re staying in the US, dear reader, but leaving Ohio behind and heading to Staten Island in New York. Formed in 1992, Wu-Tang Clan were a hip hop group comprised of several talented individuals and were purveyors of East Coast hip hop that rose to prominence at this time. We join them in 1993 with the release of their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the third single – C.R.E.A.M.
C.R.E.A.M. is nothing to do with the pleasant accompaniment to many a dessert. Instead it stands for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” and this forms the key ingredient that ties all the lyrics together. There are two main verses shared out between members – Raekwon and Inspectah Deck. Both singers tell us their separate stories of tough upbringings involving drugs, prison in their teens and stealing from the white kids in the neighbourhood. These individual tales are ones of deprivation and the struggle for survival, a sad lament to the world’s evil that is money. Evil it may be though, we all need it and strive for it whether we wish to admit it or not. The song is a testament to us as slaves to money and the actions we will resort to purely to have more or at least enough just to get by.
I was familiar with the name Wu-Tang Clan but could not tell you anything about them or their music prior to this challenge. C.R.E.A.M. is a no holds barred personal account of tough upbringings for young black Americans in and around New York. It is no secret that systemic racism is a big problem in the US and, sadly, in many countries across the world. This song though is a reminder that deep down we all want similar things i.e. just to survive but money is what we ultimately need and something that continues to divide human beings greatly given the terrifying gulfs in wealth that exist globally, gulfs that continue to grow.
Favourite songs so far: