“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).

BEATS:
“C.R.E.A.M.”
[Audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/08-cream.mp3]

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.”

MY PERSONAL RATING: XL

“Ice Cream”
[Audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/15-ice-cream-ft-ghostface-killah-1.mp3]

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.”

MY PERSONAL RATING: XXL

LYRICS:
“C.R.E.A.M.”
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.”

MY PERSONAL RATING: XXL

“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?).

MY PERSONAL RATING: XL

ORIGINALITY:
“C.R.E.A.M.”
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.

MY PERSONAL RATING: XXL

“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.

MY PERSONAL RATING: XXL

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
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  • John Cauner

    Better? I can’t pick one or the other. C.R.E.A.M.=Ice Cream. RZA was too on point during ’93-’97. Both songs hold equal weight.

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    It’s “C.R.E.A.M.” hands down. I love “Ice Cream” and it deserves props for being on OB4CL, but “C.R.E.A.M.” is the song that catapulted Wu into the next level and both Rae & Deck killed it. Plus, those C.R.E.A.M. t-shirts were everywhere back in the mid-90′s. I would still wear it today.

    • http://XXLMAG.COM INTERNET BULLY

      COULDNT CALL IT PIERZY… JUST ASKING WHERE U FROM?

      • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

        Philly

  • Ellen

    I’d have to say C.R.E.A.M is the better song! I mean come on it’s been a hit for years, i got girls in my school singing it and were only in our teens! The lines are catchy,dope and make alot of sense. It’s a real song talking about real life problems.. thats true hip hop and I respect that~!

  • Deadly MIME

    I like Ice Cream better from the two, but my personal fav WU shit is Da Mystery Of Chessboxin

  • Kid wizdom

    Both are classic’s but ICE CREAM wins hands down. Da beat is gritty and catchy and da lyrics are just raw and perfect. I have ice cream on my playlist and can play it every single time without getting bored. ICE CREAM is da best outta da two.

  • jonny bizness

    it’s got 2 be ice cream 4 me just off the fact it reminds me of summer 95 .no school and trying 2 bag girls at the mall wearing my tommy hilfiger t shirt thinking im the shit

  • John Cochran

    When I think of the Wu, I think of C.R.E.A.M. It’s classic Wu, a hard beat, hard rhymes, and they drop a jewel or two. listening to that in the middle of january just makes me feel real East Coast. Not only that, but look how many people tried to flip the hook over the years. Ice Cream is classic too, but Cream is the bigger song.

  • sb

    ice cream!!!!!!! ma!!! throw down some monay!!! the ice cream man is comin!!!!!

  • yoprince

    ehh.. i’m too young to have a truly relevant perspective.. plus i’m from the south.. but as a late wu-fan..

    ICE CREAM!

    • yoprince

      also, props to XXL staff for the blogs the past couple days..

      i know we bash you all as soon as we sniff bullshit..

      so here’s to recent quality, entertaining product.. cheers.

      • NotoriousAGC

        WTF IS THIS? “RZA did his thing with this with this one” <—- bashing

        xxl has more typo’s than a first grader’s social studies report.

  • fredMS

    cappadonna has the best verse on ice cream

    I LOVE YOU LIKE I LOVE MY DICK SIZE

    best line ever spit

  • SMOKE J

    I’m from Houston and been Rockin’ with the WU since 95 when nobody around me knew what I was listening to. I’m like the writer…I can’t pick one. Every time i lean more towards one I realize something ill about the other. I’ll just keep bangin’ both of’em.

    WU TANG FOREVER !

  • http://xxlmag.com the brown

    Yo! Cash Rules…!

  • http://XXLMAG.COM INTERNET BULLY

    AWWW MAN THE ADLIBS IN THESE TWO SONGS ARE CLASSIC… C.R.E.A.M. WHEN OLD DIRTY STARTS OFF WITH THE SINGING… METH KILLED THE HOOK… THE WAY DECK LEFT OUT “TOUCH”… CLASSIC VERSES CLASSIC BEAT CLASSIC AND ORIGINAL CONCEPT WITH THE ACRONYM USED PERFECTLY… ON THE OTHER HAND ICE CREAM METH KILLED THE HOOK HERE TOO… GHOST BROUGHT AN A+ VERSE.. RZA MURDERED THAT BEAT… PERFECT SUMMERTIME BANGA FOREVER… I COULD NEVER CALL IT BETWEEN THESE TWO… WU…

  • Fireforreal

    I like both but I have to go with C.R.E.A.M because that’s the one to really set it off to show the world these cats ain’t playing. Ice cream was dope also. Man I miss that early wu shit nothing but classssssssssssssics.

  • http://www.xxlblocktalk.com/INDOE INDOE

    “Ice Cream” get’s my vote . I’ll probably get hated on for this but i never really liked “C.R.E.A.M” , i thought that their were far better records on 36 Chambers than C.R.E.A.M . “Ice Cream” had more of a bump to it . I can’t lie though when it’s cold as shit outside and you need that grimy ish’ …boom..”C.R.E.A.M” works every time .

    Beats: I gotta give it to “Ice Cream again , XXL . “C.R.E.A.M”- XL .The beat is like a work of art. That snare drum in “Ice..” is nasty , sharp , crafted perfect , whereas “C.R…” seems like more of a loop with drums laid on top .

  • Sincere

    That’s a tough choice… but i’m going to have to go w/ Ice Cream and only because a nigga got his first scoop and of butter pecan that summer.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    u can’t choose. both are equally good. it really depends on the mood. and ill say season. ice cream is good no great for the summer. it’ll get the chickens cluckin’. Cream is good during winter well honestly all year round. its a motivational piece. i love debates but don’t pit wu vs wu. thas like askin who the best in the group is

  • Jon Dog

    C.R.E.A.M. Hands down.

  • EJMD

    C.R.E.A.M ! no point in even arguin!

  • dex

    yo….I was finna say aint no way any track is better than C.R.E.A.M. then that damn beat dropped for Ice cream and I damn near snapped my neck bobbing my head so hard….plus Cappa is on the track and that nigga be goin all out on the track…its close but Ice cream is that deal…

    • Jack Tripper

      Yo son was that your first time hearing that “Ice Cream”?

  • westcoastaggie

    Method Man was a fool on these hooks.

  • Curtis75Black

    I love them both, but I gotta give it to Ice Cream on this one. The beat is fucking crazy, the lyrical energy was blazing plus they showed they can rip another topic with ease other than that Hood shit !! Ghostface was a sick monster, Rae came with it but Cap blazed that verse as well as Meth on the Hook and the adlibs plus the descriptions at the end was nice.

  • JihaD

    Gotta give it to C.R.E.A.M. That song, even now, is so relevant both lyrically and musically– it really goes to show you how,sonically, RZA and the Wu were so ahead of their time that they essentially had to fall back, if only so people could catch up, if you get my meaning. Feeding steak to a baby indeed.

    JihaD

  • cramzy

    Ice Cream for all the reasons already mentioned. My fav line of the song for some reason: When Meth switched the hook to ” Wutang in the cut, for real niggas what, Its the after party and bitches wanna fuck.” That whole song is just clutch. But yeah, Cream is probably the trademark song for Wu-Tang

  • http://www.bboycult.com $ykotic/Don McCaine

    C.R.E.A.M.

    The impact alone on this song. People have incorporated the acronym and the chorus into the English language.

    Winter Warz>>>Ice Cream

  • Dollaz Bagz

    Man i think triumph was hotter then both or is it just me

  • reggin

    i think cream had a bigger overall impactt as far as lyrics and what it represented but i think ice cream is the harder track hard one to call though

  • mosin

    lol i still bump both man!! buh cant pick 1

  • newyawka631

    I’m about to order me some Wu-Tang gear,from Raekwon’s myspace page….All i gotta say,iz when its startz getting cold out,lace up ya Timbz,get ya baggy jeanz,hoodiez,and let’s take it back to ’95.I’m so sick of todayz hip-hop,I started listening to some of that Krs-One/B.D.P shit..RIP OL’Dirty Bastard

  • Axeo

    Cappa did have some great lines in ice cream. ppl forget compared to now cappachino was a good spitter between the OBFCL and Supreme Cliantele days
    “Only a hard dozen wanna be calling me cousin”

    I loved Ice Cream but C.R.E.A.M has more of a impact on me as a youth (im only 22) feeling like cash does rule everything around me

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxprofit Max Profit

    Grimy but Pimp and Party all in one track.!

    I Think people will bump “Ice Cream” forever.

    C.R.E.A.M. is a track more suited for the era it came out in.

  • mav

    that ice cream beat is killin that cream joint i even rapped off of it but that cream was the original wu shit and had deeper verses itll be remembered 4 longer so it wins

  • oskamadison

    Damn y’all for this post!!!! BOTH joints are undisputed classics and BOTH joints can easily sum up a time and place in your life. The only reason I gotta run with C.R.E.A.M., as ff1one pointed out, is that Ice Cream can help you get through spring and summer but C.R.E.A.M. can help you get through life. By the way you oughta be puttin’ Ice Cream up against its unofficial sequel, on the low, the superior “Camay” from Ironman. That has to go down in the history of Hip-Hop as the hardest chick joint ever. That joint will either make you go smash someone’s daughter or go rob somebody. THAT’S what you call all purpose, lol.

    • http://www.bboycult.com $ykotic Don McCaine

      “By the way you oughta be puttin’ Ice Cream up against its unofficial sequel, on the low, the superior “Camay” from Ironman. That has to go down in the history of Hip-Hop as the hardest chick joint ever.”

      ^ Co-shizz. On point like a BIC pen…

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  • http://www.youtube.com/djkevwest DJ Kev West

    Its too close to call. Id give Cream the edge because it was more raw imo.

  • sway-z

    C.R.E.A.M. and it shouldn’t even be a contest, just off the strength of what they was sayin in there, it was powerful shit, they tellin you “yo I need cream but this is why and this is what’s wrong with that life”, tellin niggas the truth, not glorifying shit for the sake of it, that fucking song is timeless son

  • Brooklyn

    i like both songs, but c.r.e.a.m. get’s my vote. c.r.e.a.m. is like a trademark, when you say “cash rules everything around me” i don’t care what coast you’re from, what region of the united states you rep, when you say that line everyone knows who it came from. c.r.e.a.m. has a real message, ice cream was more whimsical. ice cream was good, but c.r.e.a.m. is great.

  • El Tico Loco

    “Cash Rules Everything Around Me Cream! get the money _____________” you know what goes there even if you don’t speak english. So you know what I’m rollin with.

  • mousie

    C.R.E.A.M. set the tone for what the Wu was bringing to the table. They knew coming into it that the clan was going to be a legacy. It’s an easy pick.

  • http://xxlmag.com yunggee

    ima have 2 go wit c.r.e.a.m. cuz i became an instant hip-hop fan when i heard dat. i was only 7. still listenin 2 tribe an all but after dat song came out. it was like the world of hip-hop changed 2 me. i luv both but c.r.e.a.m gets my vote.

  • http://www.myspace.com/slotchmusic ms_spittuh

    CREAM! :D

  • sajid

    gotta go with c.r.e.a.m. cuz it catapulted that wu sounds that still resonates today. someone above me said that c.r.e.a.m. is suited to that era, but in the last couple of years you had wyclef re-use that hook for his song “sweetest girl” and even dropped a remix over the c.r.e.a.m. beat. and i remember gucci mane and his clan of baffoons rapping over it too. as god awful as they sounded, it proved to me that that song was bigger than just ny in 1993, but withstood the test of time and geography which is nearly impossible in this day and age.

  • Fully Equipt

    Tough! I went with Ice Cream, mainly because that was the track I realized that Ghost was my favorite member in the clan and he hasn’t let me down since. Both tracks are iconic though.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pharris27610 P.Harris

    C.R.E.A.M. All Day…

  • XXL -WACK COMPARISON!

    C’MON SON!!!!

    Just bc the titles resemble each other doesnt mean they deserve to get compared.

    CREAM is about hustling!
    ICE CREAM is about women!

    Two important street elements!

    Both songs are gutter in their own respect!

  • No Name

    C.R.E.A.M.

  • J-Dub

    I’m going with C.R.E.A.M. People still use that term to this day. It’s gonna be around forever.

  • PeRs_1

    C.R.E.A.M!

    That was one of the first joints I felt cool rappin to when I was a kid listnin to my walkman…

    Rae def killed it on that track.

  • NotoriousAGC

    out of these two bangers, i rather listen to “triumph”, lol, but i’ll take Ice Cream, C.R.E.A.M. is a classic but you can’t really bump that shit in your car it would put you to sleep (the beat) whereas Ice Cream will keep your head Ringin