1. Wu-Tang Clan "C.R.E.A.M." (1993)
Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Dollar dollar bill, y'all. "C.R.E.A.M." (Cash Rules Everything Around Me) became another way for rappers and rap listeners to describe their riches, but the song itself was far from an anthem about poppin' bottles or makin' it rain.
Rather, the hard look at economic depression sees Raekwon complain about the shortcomings of being a stick-up kid ("My life got no better/Same damn 'Lo sweater/Times is rough and tough like leather") and decide that "the only way I begin to G off is drug loot," while Inspectah Deck laments a troubled childhood, memorably noting, "Life as a shorty shouldn't be so rough."
Mesmerizing keys and tortured wailing backed by Method's authoritative voice on the choppy hook still command your attention 18 years later as the financial gap in this country widens between the haves and have-nots.