Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

'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 2024 NPR. To see more, visit

Oliver Wang
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 and co-host of the album appreciation podcast, Heat Rocks.