First Play: Kyle Hubbard's "New School Slang" Vs. hasHBrown's "Grand Champion"
Houston exists largely as its own market. As such, rappers here tend not to like - on the record, anyway - ranking themselves, their albums or their songs against each other or each other's. So we'll do it for them. Email sheaserrano (at) gmail (dot) com.
The Songs: Kyle Hubbard's very smooth, very traditionally hip-hop "New School Slang" came out earlier this month to the delight of many hip-hop blogs. Securing a verse from the perpetual blog favorite Big Pooh of Little Brother tends to garner quite a bit of goodwill in your favor.
hasHBrown's synthetically aggressive "Grand Champion" was also released earlier this month. If "New School Slang" is a dap greeting on a Sunday afternoon, "Grand Champion" is a punch in the nose at 2 a.m.
Ironic Tie Between The Two Songs: The most obvious, most immediate comparison to draw to "Grand Champion" is Big Boi's "General Patton," ironic because Big Pooh references Big Boi in his verse on "New School Slang."
The Better Title: "Grand Champion"
You have to love the idea of Hash sitting around thinking of song titles like, "Hmmm. What can I call this? I want it to be something that lets people know what's up. Something that really let's people know how I see myself -nee, how they should see me. Should I call it 'Champion'? Nah, nah, fuck that. That's not quite grand enough. Hey... I'VE GOT IT! 'Grand Champion'! Booyah, bitches."
That's probably exactly how that went. Rap is not a game for the humble.
The Better Production: That's a toughie ("Toughie"? Yes, toughie. #GangsterShit). They're both appropriate for what each song is trying to accomplish (coolin' vs. in-your-face), so that's a wash. And neither of them steps on the rappers' toes, or ever gets in the way, so that's a wash too.
And they both sample songs (Monica's "So Gone" on New School Slang"; Cream's "White Room" on "Champion"), so neither pulls ahead on originality. But hasHBrown is just a smidge more creative in his interpretation of his sample, so "Grand Champion" pulls it out. Winner here: "Grand Champion."
The Better Line: Kyle Hubbard drops this doozy right in the thick of verse two:
"Biggest fear I ever had/ They consider me a fad/ A gimmick who can rap, just a kid who isn't black."
If You've Only Got Room On Your iPod For One, Upload: It's close, and both are obviously good, but "New School Slang" is a tad bit better. Though that's mostly because it's just thismuch easier to listen to than "Grand Champion," which very well may have been the point of "GC." Who even knows anymore?