Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Test of Time takes another

Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Song: "C.R.E.A.M."
Rating: B-

Remember the 90’s? I don’t but I do.

My own experience was a rise into adolescence that has pretty much smeared by years of stimulant use. Everything I can remember from that decade is in still frame images; it doesn’t move and the sounds and other senses associated are made up in my head. A walk to school, a snowball fight, Genesis and Super Nintendo, sitting in the living room with Dad listening to the Pixies and Michael Jackson.

Off the top of my head, that’s it. I don’t really remember anything otherwise.
But there’s always the discovery of hidden memories in objects and pictures and videos. I see them, and presto, I’m back in 1994, a second grader drinking Hi-C in the greenbelt behind my house, wondering where it all goes from here. This video has a similar effect, even though rap music was not allowed into the home and disliked by all my friends.

I didn’t even get into Wu-Tang until last year, however. This song is associated with 3:00 a.m. drives across town, a college junior/senior sipping out of a used water bottle, wondering where it all goes from here. Same shit, different decade.
There’s obviously some conflict of emotions when I watch this video. It’s a timeless song, but a video that’s very obviously aligned with style of hip-hop videos back then: rappers dropping rhymes with their respective armies in the background, slum landscapes, appalling graphic effects and grainy video and not single damn smile to be seen. These are not images that have withstood the test of time, considering the bizarre top-ranked hip-hop video these days. How far we’ve come.

Most hip-hop videos back then didn’t even attempt to set the bar, but don’t discredit the style. An undeniable cool is tied to the 90’s style, and there’s a certain flow to the images that I like. Look at that. I’m getting caught up in my own generalizations. I don’t want to dislike this video, I admit.

You want some real positive criticism? Right here: In this video, Wu-Tang gives a subtle finger to the big money style that was also a popular style at the time. There’s that fabulously cliché scene near the end, with the boys sitting around the table of champagne and money bags, casually tucking cigars into their mouths while sneering at the camera. That’s C.R.E.A.M. for ya kid.

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