Art and Culture: Same Soup Different Bowl Theory

25 Jan

There’s a lyric from a Wu-Tang Clan member album, A Better Tomorrow, as Gza claims, “Same soup different bowl, Wu Ceramics, Same group large scale dynamics” off the track “Hold the Heater.” (2:35-37 seconds).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXM3E9BPu9w

To consider this idea, Same Soup Different bowl, poses that would mean art just means the same thing in other genres. From a musical standpoint, this is the staple of the Wu-Tang Clan’s methodology. The same lyrics that a Wu-Tang Clan member can say on a guest appearance can appear on a different song. For example, the beat for Masta Killa’s “R U Listening” is used for Wu-Block collab album between the Lox and Wu-Tang Clan. The track is called “Crack Spot Stories.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hgoj2woapM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLUwUpFzm4

            So, if “Same soup, different bowl” can be applied to rap artists in the Wu-Tang Clan, it’s not like this hasn’t been done before in the art world itself. 

            William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy has characters who appear for brief seconds of time, but they all exist within his stories. Johnny Mmenoic, belongs to the William Gibson oeuvre. It’s not to say that Johnny Samurai from Cyberpunk is a direct allusion to William Gibson either, because the creator, Mike Pondsmith, admitted this was true. https://www.wired.com/story/cyberpunk-mike-pondsmith-interview/

            So, inspiration can be direct and indirect, and should it follow a set of rules? 

            What if the “same soup different bowl” lyric is more directly involved in how businesses often repeat a same practice, but it’s always incorporated in other ways. Apple always seems to make the same product with a few change ups, while the phone still represents a phone, and iPad, are a larger version of the iPhone? Same soup, different bowl, right?

https://www.komando.com/smartphones-gadgets/7-clever-tricks-that-make-your-iphone-or-ipad-easier-to-use-2/266500/

            Companies and brands often rely on what they are known for selling. If you want to buy a pot, you go to Caraway, but are they going to sell you a pot that looks like a rectangle? Shapes that are associated with pots don’t look like triangles either. So, it’s all about what the shape of something can represent in your art. A book, routinely, has pages and words in America that reads from left to right, but sometimes, text can be changed to represent new art forms (see House of Leaves by Mark Danieleski as an example.)

Text is deliberately misshapen. https://stingingfly.org/2016/11/01/house-leaves-mark-z-danielewski/

Here’s an old school example. A CD is round, and not a square, because it’s about branding, and how a computer can transfer data or music on a disc, because it is built to fit in CD players. Which plays off the shape of an Vinyl record. So, that even followed a trend. Although MP3 players were rectangular, and adopted the rectangle and the iPod followed that logic.

            So, if the same soup different bowl is directly responsible for a branding idea where shapes are often associated with what a product represents, then it can vary on multiple ends of entertainment. 

            So in a logical world, same soup different bowl, doesn’t really apply to most artistic endeavors, as it would betray the very nature of human beings ability to change and like different things. The Wu-Tang are excellent lyricists and there beats are immaculate, but sometimes, same soup different bowl can’t be applied to every piece of fiction or writing. Unless that artist is using there words and characters over again, or rhymes that they can use repeatedly because it’s there lyrics, and nobody else’s. 

            So, if you wanted chicken soup all the time, why would you ever want to have tomato soup? The thing is, art is not like soup. It has complexity, depth, and the ability to change your mind. So shapes and forms do matter, it’s how you interpret art is up to you.

-Louis Bruno is the author of more than 15 books, The Michael Project, Thy Kingdom Come, The Disintegrating Bloodline, Apocalypse Soldier, Hierarchy of Dwindling Sheep. His books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. He can be found on Gab, https://gab.com/thereallouistbruno, Minds https://www.minds.com/lbruno8063/. His latest work, Come Home, Young One, is available on Lulu.com, and will be available on all other major chains and ebook at a later date. https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/louis-bruno/come-home-young-one/hardcover/product-pw8q7z.html?page=1&pageSize=4.

Note from Louis: Thanks so much for reading my articles and being such a constant reader. Also, I want to stress that to keep my content ad free, please subscribe, donate (or share the article if you can’t donate, all help is appreciated) to have access to top tier content, and also grow my page to help keep corporate sponsors mad all day. 

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