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'C.R.E.A.M.': The Story Of A Sample

This is the story of one pop song, as it travels from '60s Memphis soul to Staten Island mid-'90s rap -- and almost all the way back again.

The Charmels' 1967 single "As Long as I've Got You" was honored by a straight cover from another girl-group, then sampled almost 30 years later on The Wu-Tang Clan's debut album. The RZA's production on "C.R.E.A.M." turned the melody into something foreboding, and when The Wu-Tang Clan performed live with Brooklyn's El Michels Affair backing it in 2005, a fourth permutation was born. Since then, El Michels has released a full-length album of Wu-Tang covers and recorded with Raekwon.

Do these recordings constitute the 40-year life circle of one song? Or is this the latest step forward in an R&B progression? Listen and decide.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Oliver Wang is an culture writer, scholar, and DJ based in Los Angeles. He's the author of Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews of the San Francisco Bay Area and a professor of sociology at CSU-Long Beach. He's the creator of the audioblog soul-sides.com and co-host of the album appreciation podcast, Heat Rocks.