Contact Us

“C.R.E.A.M.” vs. “Ice Cream” – Which is the Better Wu Banger?

A strange thing happened the other day. One of my fellow XXL minions asked me if I had “C.R.E.A.M.” in my iTunes play list. I was elbow-deep in Internet world at the moment so I only half-heard him. I looked up from the glare of my 27-inch computer screen and responded, “Which one?”

“What do you mean, which one,” he replied, completely befuddled by my question. “The Wu joint.”

“I know, but there’s ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ and then there’s “Ice Cream.”

That’s when the idea for today’s blog post hit me. I found it quite interesting that the same crew would craft classic cuts that basically featured flips on the same word.

On one hand you have “C.R.E.A.M.,” which was not only one of many stellar singles off Wu-Tang’s 1993 debut, Enter the 36 Chambers, but introduced a whole new slang term into the hip-hop lexicon. You didn’t have to be a street hustler to understand the sentiment behind the song’s message and meaning—cash rules everything around me.

Then, on the other hand you had “Ice Cream,” which was featured on Raekwon’s own classic 1995 debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, and also introduced new lingo to the game. What dude wasn’t trying to scoop up his own chocolate deluxe or butter pecan Rican that summer?

In terms of impact, both records hold a special place in my heart for completely different reasons. “C.R.E.A.M.” was that straight grimy track that perfectly encapsulated the everyday struggle, while “Ice Cream” was just that eternal summer jam that guys and girls could rock to.

Still, one has to be better than other right?

I decided to use XXL’s own sub-rating system to help figure this out. (In case you missed the memo, in addition to the overall rating we added individual ratings for Beats, Rhymes and Originality over a year ago… but I digress).


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

RZA did his thing with this with this one. The track opens up with the bluesy horns before the beat drops and ushers in those hypnotic keys and cymbal crashes. C’mon, son, my head starts nodding as soon as piano comes in. Underneath it all is that subtle “oooooh, yeah” vocal sample that comes in, and the murky effect the Abbot puts on Meth’s voice at the tail end of the track when he says “Yeah.”


“Ice Cream”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

RZA wasted no time on this one. The beat drops rights off the bat and knocks the speakers like nobody’s business. The drums are pretty basic on this one, but when you really listen to this track in your headphones you start to notice all the subtle intricacies from the haunting vocal sample underneath to the sample itself. When my man Matt and resident Wu stan did THIS BLOG back in January that revealed the original record, Earl Klugh’s “A Time for Love,” I was blown away and that’s why I give the edge to “Ice Cream.”


Not for nothing, Rae set this track off perfectly with, “I grew up on the crime side/The New York Times side/Staying alive was no jive…” You could hear the hunger in his voice from jump. Then he dropped one of the realest lines ever: “My life got no better/Same damn Lo sweater/Times is rough and tough like leather.”

And although he doesn’t always get his props, Inspectah Deck dropped a few jewels of his own on this one. In fact, one of the most notable hip-hop quotables has got to be, “Handcuffed in a back of a bus, 40 of us/Life as a shorty shouldn’t be so rough.” Then of course, were the final few bars of the record where Rebel I.N.S. spit, “Leave it up to me while I be living proof/To kick the truth to the young Black youth/But shorty’s runnin’ wild smokin’ cess drinkin’ beer/And ain’t tryna hear what I’m kickin’ in his ear/Neglect it for now but, you, it’s got to be accepted/That what? That life is hectic.”


“Ice Cream”
Ghost set this one off and even back then it was clear that he was in a class all his own. I had no idea who the hell Nimrod was, but I knew exactly what he meant when he said, “Ya whole shell baby’s wicked like Nimrod.” And only Starks could get away with approaching a chick with, “Caramel complexion, breath smellin’ like cinnamon/Excuse me, hun, the don mean no harm—turn around again/Goddamn, backyard’s bangin’ like a Benzi/If I was jiggy, you’d be spotted like Spud McKenzie/I’m high powered, put Adina Howard to sleep/Yo, pardon, that bitch been on my mind all week.”

Rae and Cappadonna did their thing respectively, but in terms of quotables, Meth held more memorable weight on the track as he held down the hook, outro adlibs and all that good stuff. (Come to think of it, was this record the early beginnings of the Wu-Massacre—minus Cappa of course?).


Honestly, I could see someone arguing the case that “C.R.E.A.M.” was just another street anthem and wasn’t really that “original,” but I beg to differ. I’m not sure what the impact was in other parts of the country/world when this joint dropped, but the Big Apple was bumpin’ this joint hard. Both Rae and Deck put their lifelines in between the paper’s lines in their verses, and just the usage of the world “C.R.E.A.M.” today is just a testament to how powerful the track is.


“Ice Cream”
Now if you want to talk about an original record, then “Ice Cream” is it. I don’t know what was running through Rae and them’s dusted heads at the time but they came up with an ill metaphor for chicks that just worked. We all liked ice cream as kids, and it was a stroke of genius to use that as the bases for an ode to the various shades of women’s complexion to make us love “Ice Cream” as adults, too.


So if you looked at my personal ratings of “C.R.E.A.M” and “Ice Cream,” you’ll notice that I wound up in a dead heat. I just can’t seem to come to a clear cut decision on which is a better track. So which one do y’all think was the better Wu banger? —Anslem Samuel

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for XXL Mag quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!