Artist: Kanye West
Song: “Champion” from 2007’s Graduation
Sample Lyrics: “When it feel like living’s harder than dying/For me, giving up’s way harder than trying”
Better Than Artest’s Track? Yes. By sampling Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne,” Mr. West created a song about being a champion in life—not just on the basketball court. It was enough to propel this song onto the U.S. Billboard Pop 100 chart, despite the fact that it was never released as an official single.
Artist: Ace Hood
Song: “Champion,” featuring Jazmine Sullivan and Rick Ross, from 2009’s Ruthless
Sample Lyrics: “Coming up, I used to watch TV/Look at the screen, then look at my mama, tell her, ‘Ma, that’s gon’ be me”
Better Than Artest’s Track? No. True, this is one of Ace Hood’s more memorable songs. But Artest gets the nod here because Ace only succeeds thanks to a strong hook from Sullivan and a guest verse from Rick Ross. And what exactly is Ace Hood the champion of anyway?