It can be said that people pitt the U.K. and U.S music scenes up against each other when the two are spoken about.
One of most frequent discussions in this is the co-sign. The co-sign is a divisive topic with strong points to each side. Yes it helps expand the market when someone big from across the pond shows support. But it doesn’t always work out. If we look at Drake, the biggest artist in the U.S arguably, he has been co-signing the U.K. for years. Whilst his more recent efforts have garnered success, remixing Dave’s Wanna Know and Giggs on KMT, some of his efforts have fallen short. Way back in 2012, Drake shouted out Sneakbo and Johnny Gunz which you can see here. Both were doing well at the time in the U.K. but Drakes co-sign didn’t actually do better things for either of them. You could argue that maybe this shows that a co-sign alone isn’t enough and that it requires a collaboration to work but there’s even examples of that failing. If we again look back Giggs worked with B.o.B on Don’t Go There. Both were big at the time but that American co-sign didn’t do much for Giggs in the international scene especially the U.S.
Another aspect to this is to look at our artists that have done very well internationally. The names you could bring up to this discussion are few but it could be argued that Tinie Tempah, Skepta and Stormzy have made the biggest connection to the audience in the U.S. But what’s interesting is none of these artists got a big co-sign from the U.S. Instead it was each individuals personal and unique brand that resonated. Equally interesting to note is that each of these artists had first conquered the U.K. before embarking on their respective trips to America, which goes to show talent can trump the co-sign.
Chip is a curious case in this topic. Chip has been a huge success in the U.K. for years now. But during his rise amongst talk of him going pop, Chip did have more than a brief stint in America. He was signed to T.I’s Hustle Gang imprint and even released a project, London Boy. Now whilst the project was excellent and a return to form in a definite move away from the pop image, the project doesn’t seem to have received much love in the U.S. Whether it was because of accent, or just bad timing we can only speculate but Chip didn’t make the big splash he should have. This is even after having huge support from American artists. Now back in the U.K. we have Chip back at his best having just released the quality League Of My Own 2 which you can stream here.
But on the other hand…
Something Chip did prove out there is that U.K. artists and U.S artists on tracks can really work, but also that the U.K. can spin even those seen as the best. So in the spirit of this, here are some of the best collaborations between the U.K. and U.S where the U.K. artist eclipsed the U.S one.
The Link Ups
Drake Ft. Giggs – KMT
This is Giggs’ song, anyone who thinks differently hasn’t seen the snapchats, videos and more of how Giggs’ verse shuts it down everywhere. To most of us when we think of KMT we think of Giggs because Drake doesn’t even come close to touching the levels of Giggs on this one. Wordplay, delivery and flow wise Giggs bodies the beat in a way only he could. Shoutout the unofficial Prime Minister and author of the real U.K. national anthem on this one.
Tinie Tempah Ft. Wretch 32 and J Cole- Like It Or Love It
Another one of our greats, Wretch 32, did not come to play on this one. This is on a track with J Cole one of the most talented and loved lyricists in the game but Wretch steals the show with no sweat. Hitting the track with a laid back flow, some of the most outrageous bragging on a track and the signature Wretch wordplay it’s no surprise as to why he completely outshines the rest.
Dave Ft. Drake – Wanna Know Remix
As much as we all enjoy Drake and appreciate his efforts towards promoting the U.K. scene, on tracks with out artists he doesn’t do too well. This time he chose to remix Dave’s huge Wanna Know. That was his first mistake, the track does so well on its own that a remix was unneeded. As such when we got it there was high expectations, and Drake for once did not meet them. Whilst he got the song spread more in the U.S, on the actual track Drake did it no favours. The original eclipses the remix in terms of quality.
Chip Ft Meek Mill – Pizza Boy
On the aforementioned London Boy Chip goes toe to toe with Meek Mill. Whilst many feel Drake destroyed Meek Mill, this was way before that with Meek still riding high off of the success of Dreamchasers. Whilst Meek is no slouch in the track, the reason you’d go back to listen wouldn’t be Meek’s verse. Now speaking of Chip and U.S collaborations he’s had a few having worked with T.I, Young Jeezy, Chris Brown and more. Chip even spun T.I on R.N.F on the same project, that track also featured Jeremih.
Lloyd Banks Ft Sway, Giggs, Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Ryan Leslie – Start It Up Remix
What a line up on a track. But still Sway really did a lot on this one and so did Giggs. Each held their own and undoubtedly they had the best verses, however this time Sway takes it. Plenty of flows and great content lyrics wise. When making this list trying to remember who was in this track I actually thought it was Kano and not Sway that’s how strong the verse is and forced me to put some more respect on Sway‘s ability.
Skepta Ft. Diddy Dirty Money – Hello Good Morning Remix
Whilst Skepta definitely won on this one it was a grime remix of the track and featured Dirty Money extremely lightly. So not to take away from Skepta but he can’t feature on the actual list just because of how little input there was from Diddy and Dirty Money.
Giggs Ft. 2 Chainz – Ultimate Gangsta
Now this is in honourable mentions because it’s not a clear spinning. 2 Chainz holds his own on the track with Giggs for an outstanding verse that even Giggs himself defends. Also although I do think Giggs did outdo 2 Chainz, I thought it was only fair to only include one track per artist due to the fact that some such as Giggs and Chip have worked with a fair few more Americans than the others.
— Chuckie Lothian (@ChuckieOnline) October 27, 2017