Being a center for all things international, we normally don’t get too America-centric at MTV Iggy. But it’s the week of Independence Day, and those smells of burning gunpowder and grilled meat hanging in the air can get to you on some deep, ancestral level.
Seems like there’s a lot of good music coming out of the UK these days, and at the risk of unearthing old beefs, we decided to take this occasion to determine, once and for all, which nation is the greater musical power. We’ve pit artists from ten categories against each other, and after a highly scientific (read: completely arbitrary) judging process, we’ve come to a verdict. Without further ado:
Ladies of Rap
Nicki Minaj (US) vs. Lady Leshurr (UK)
The Deliberation: All respect due to Nicki Minaj – the lady has undeniable skills, and her appearance on every track ever starting last year seems to have heralded a second coming for females in the rap game. She spat one of the verses of the century on “Monster,” in which she rhymed Sri Lanka with Willy Wonka. We liked that. But on the flip side, Birmingham’s Lady Leshurr just completely and utterly slays her. You win this one, England.
The Winner: Lady Leshurr (UK)
Iconic Aughts-Era Rockers
The White Stripes (US) vs. Coldplay (UK)
The Deliberation: This is a toughie. Both bands dominated rock charts in the early aughts and had some great tunes and lasting legacies. The White Stripes’ biggest hit, “Seven Nation Army,” has somehow become the go-to soccer chant of the 21st century, sung by drunken English fans at every game. And Coldplay, we respect how you are man enough to play a cover of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” live on the radio. But whenever I listen to your music, I feel like I’m staring out the window into the rain. While that’s very British, that’s not very much fun.
Beyoncé (US) vs Adele (UK)
The Deliberation: I’m sorry, this one isn’t even really a competition. Yes, we know Adele has “such a great voice.” This is true. But nobody f**ks with the Yoncé. Beyoncé could sing circles around Adele, while simultaneously juggling fire and saving the world from a zombie apocalypse. End of conversation.
The Winner: Beyoncé (USA)
Skrillex (US) vs Skream (UK)
The Deliberation: The intercontinental dubstep wars might be the most significant US-UK conflict since the War of 1812. We can admit it, dubstep is something that the English actually did event. And while Skrillex can be given a lot of credit for opening up new markets for the sound, he is often accused of ruining the genre, and turning it into an empty shell of its former self known as “bro-step.” YouTube comment pages for dubstep videos have become a bloody battleground of angry 16 year olds yelling at each other. It’s dark out there. MTV Iggy is here to settle the beef once and for all: I’m sorry Skrillex, but your dubstep is like a Bud Lite. Skream’s dubstep is like a goblet full of mead.
The Jonas Brothers (US) vs One Direction (UK)
The Deliberation: We wanted to draft Justin Beiber for the battle of the bubblegum, but it turns out that Canada isn’t actually a part of the US, so we had to settle on the Jonas Brothers. Yick. While they seem to be popular among the pre-tween set, something about those little asshairs just makes you want to commit road rage. One Direction on the other hand is another story. Even a fierce Hell’s Angel could be soothed by their irrepressible cuteness. The sweeping string arrangements, the clarion voices: it just makes you want to be pubescent again.
Santigold (US) vs Charli XCX (UK)
The Deliberation: Charli XCX, from the wee little dale of Hertfordshire, has all the signs of making hipster chick music: synth pads for days, reverb up the wazoo, and unintelligible lyrics. But she really passed the test when named a mixtape called “SUPERGIRLS <3 SUPERLOVE <3 MIXTAPE <3.” Santigold, at this point, needs no introduction. Both ladies make excellent music, but Santi’s sophomore album Master of My Make-Believe is such a gosh-darned masterpiece that we had to give it to her.
Winner: Santigold (US)
Obnoxious Tourists (US) vs. Terrible, Terrible Food (UK)
The Deliberation: Ok, so these aren’t artists, but there’s more to life than music, you know? We can’t refute it, Americans make horrific tourists, waddling around with their sunburns and their loud voices and their garish fashion tastes. But even putting up with our nation’s worst specimens is no match for having to baked beans and pudding for the rest of our days.
Winner: Obnoxious Tourists (US)
Twee Indie Darlings
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (US) vs Allo Darlin’ (UK)
The Deliberation: In this category, it’s rigged from the start in the UK’s favor. We’ve had our share of twee bands, and we can do twee. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are pretty f***ing twee. But the British, they get twee. They are born with some kind of some subcutaneous twee organ, that injects an element of twee into almost every situation. Such as asking people to pass the kettle. Or offering a friend a biscuit.So it’s natural that Allo Darlin’ are the favorites in this match up. I mean, they have the word “Darlin’” in their very name. We didn’t stand a chance.
Winner: Allo Darlin’ (UK)
Jerk (USA) vs Donk (UK)
The Deliberation: Jerk, you may know, is a dance and music subculture from Los Angeles that involves black teenagers in day-glo colors and skinny jeans who do off-kilter, stuttery dance moves to lo-fi hip-hop beats. Donk, as made famous in this Vice documentary, is hardcore dance music from desolate factory towns in Northern England with extremely vanilla rapping and a twisted, party drug energy.
Winner: Jerk (USA)
Rappity Rap Rappers
Kanye (USA) vs Wiley (UK)
The Deliberation: Kanye is one the ruling lords of US hip-hop; Wiley the undisputed “King of Grime.” Yes, Yeezy may be a giant international star and media celebrity. But Wiley has that British-Caribbean accent and a raw flow, generally employed over spare, grimey beats. I would call it a toss-up, but this amazing Wiley video just puts him over the top.
Winner: Wiley (UK)
Final Scores: US, 5. UK, 5.
Drats, looks like we didn’t manage to beat the Brits out, even on our own Independence Day. Let’s face it, you guys are dominating hard right now. As you might say in the UK, I tip my hat to you, good sir. Just remember who won the war!