BSBB Round 1: Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora, "Black Widow" vs. Bobby Shmurda, "Hot Boy"
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Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules

Black Widow

Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora

Hot Boy

Bobby Shmurda

CRAIG JENKINS: “Black Widow” began life as a Katy Perry song and, as such, is designed almost entirely to buttress its titanic hook. Iggy Azalea’s just treading water here; she’s no match for Rita Ora’s soaring chorus. Viral sensation Bobby Shmurda’s ascendant “Hot Boy” has no identifiable chorus and instead clawed its way to the upper rungs of the Hot 100 thanks entirely to the Brooklyn kid’s manic locomotive energy. Your attention might wander during the quiet spots of “Black Widow,” but “Hot Boy” doesn’t leave time to breathe.
My Vote: “Hot Boy”

CAITLIN WHITE: It's offensive that these two are even matched up. The shadow of Shmurda loomed over this year, whether it was through the lyrical gem "bout a week ago" that memefied quicker than wildfire spreads, or the equally hot "shmoney dance" that made its way up the food chain all the way to the Biebs and Rihanna. Then there's the production! The way that menacing siren in the beginning sets up this vacuum of expectation, Shmurda dropping in with a flow that's already become a new style and perfect bass drops, perfect percussion. The narrative arc of "Hot Boy" also brings up an important question with regards to its rival — what is "Black Widow" even about? It's a muddled mess from two artists who seem pretty unclear on what their musical identity really is. I'm here for misandry, but "Black Widow's" violent, vengeful themes carried out in stilted rap verses end up being predictable pop slop.
My Vote: “Hot Boy”

JASON LIPSHUTZ: Imagine, for a second, that “Black Widow” ended after its first 37 seconds. It’d be one of the best singles of the year, right? That menacing, handclap-laden intro leading into a chest-pounding performance by Rita Ora is downright mesmerizing — but then the momentum completely halts when Iggy starts talking about cat-and-mouse games. “Hot Boy” isn’t the best trap single of the year, but it is the most popular, and since his EP is titled Shmurda She Wrote, Robert Shmurda gets the easy win here.
My Vote: “Hot Boy”

JILLIAN MAPES: Look, I’ve done the Shmoney Dance. I’ve even argued about the sound effects on “Hot Boy” (that’s totally an irate crow cawing, c’mon!). But “Hot Boy” is not a good song. I’m not saying “Black Widow” is either (stop trying to make Rita Ora happen in America!), but at least it’s easy to get into. I get the Ora hook stuck in my head like it’s Rihanna’s hook on Nicki Minaj’s “Fly.”
My Vote: “Black Widow”

JEREMY D. LARSON: You know that scene in The Simpsons where Homer’s watching Bachman Turner Overdrive and he’s like “Play ‘Takin Care of Business!’” and then he’s like, “Get to the ‘working overtime’ part!”? That’ll be Bobby Shmurda and “Hot Boy” and the “caught a body ‘bout a week ago,” circa 10 years from now. This year, though, the song is amazing and pervasive — and no disrespect, “Black Widow,” but you don’t even have your own meme.
My Vote: “Hot Boy”

HARLEY BROWN: "Black Widow" is catchy at first, and I love Iggy Azalea and feel kind of bad for Rita Ora, but the shmoney dance is, well, money -- and the story behind the track and how it caught on is just way more interesting. He also gets props for riding on the Vine wave, also. It's hard to argue with a viral sensation.
My Vote: "Hot Boy"

“Hot Boy”

Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules