And just like that, the Verzuz battle between Soulja Boy and Bow Wow is just around the corner — tomorrow to be exact. On June 9, it was announced that the two would go head-to-head in a song battle on Saturday (June 26), and once the news hit the net, fans began speculating about who, exactly, would take home the belt in this showdown between two young legends who left indelible marks in the early 2000s.
In one corner, we have Soulja Boy, an artist who’s as inventive as he is charismatic. Between the way he would upload his own songs under the titles of popular tracks on Limewire and the way he got the world to Superman, he is a clear cut rap icon who pioneered many of the marketing tactics artists use today.
In the other corner, we have Bow Wow, an artist who came up in the shadow of Snoop Dogg and Death Row Records before carving out his own path to stardom beginning in 2000. While he’s taken a variety of internet L’s over over the years, no one who’s followed hip hop can seriously question his run through the 2000s. Bow Wow had a variety of hits with varied stylistic approaches and he deserves all of his flowers. Even Drake has had no choice but to give the legend props.
Now, ahead of their Verzuz battle, REVOLT takes a look at 11 classic songs from Soulja Boy and Bow Wow to get you ready for the main event. Check out the list below and we’ll see you there!
1. “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”
With an infectious steel pan riff, a semi-instructive hook and an easy-to-perform accompanying dance, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” is the song that made Soulja Boy an icon. Released in 2007, the track defined viral during a time before Twitter was popular. Instagram didn’t even exist. Playful, effortlessly catchy and attached to a memorable dance, the track was a TikTok hit seven years before the social media platform was even created. In a way, that’s something Soulja really did do first.
2. “Fresh Azimiz” featuring J-Kwon
This thinly veiled Romeo diss had the benefit of a dope beat, reckless flexes from Bow Wow and a hook that’s as dismissive as it is catchy. For the track, Bow recalls his days following Snoop and gives himself a series of pats on the back to celebrate his status as growing rap star. After years of making fun-oriented tunes, Bow — formerly known as Lil Bow Wow — showed that he had some bite, and it’s hard to imagine this one not ringing off in the Verzuz match.
3. “Zan With That Lean” featuring Kwony Cash
Soulja Boy dives into Auto-Tune and codeine-drenched melodies for this 2011 bop. Like all of his best songs, it’s straightforward and memorable — free from any pretenses of verbal acrobatics or, really, anything besides real-time intoxication and fun (for him). Video game synths help give the song an opiate effect that matches the lyrics of the song.
4. “Shortie Like Mine” featuring Chris Brown
With a tender Chris Brown-assisted hook, an irresistible beat and disarmingly warm bars, “Shortie Like Mine” is a track that can stand up to any lovey-dovey tune Soulja has ever put out. Naturally, the track peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Bow one of the biggest hits of his career.
5. “We Made It (Remix)” featuring Drake
When Soulja Boy dropped off “We Made It” back in November 2013, it was already a big-time slapper. That status was owed to its triumphant horns and Soulja’s casually forceful declaration, one that sounds like victory. But when Drake jumped on the track for an official remix a month later, it naturally reached a whole new level.
6. “Let Me Hold You Down” featuring Omarion
Fueled by sentimental piano, a catchy sped-up vocal sample and Bow’s lyrics that are as smooth as Omarion’s hook, “Let Me Hold You” was a staple for school dances in the mid to late 2010s. Years later, it still slaps, too.
7. “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” featuring Sammie
As evidence by “Kiss Me Thru The Phone,” Soulja Boy could let loose romantic slaps, too. Like most of Soulja’s best works, this one is effective because it doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is: A wide-eyed, teenie bop love song designed for people to sing to loved ones who are currently out of reach. This track was a real-life mood during quarantine.
8. “Bounce With Me” featuring Xscape and Jermaine Dupri
“Bouce With Me” had the bounce, and it’s kind of that simple. Speaking more elaborately, though, it’s a song that showcases both Bow’s beyond his years rapid-fire flow and an underrated knack for memorable hooks. Because it’s from the earlier part of his career, it can be an easy one to miss, but it’s one of the best tunes he’s ever released.
9. “Turn My Swag On”
“Turn My Swag On” is a song that’s emblematic of a time when using the word swag was kind of cutting-edge. It’s a track that’s inextricably tied to its era and might sound a bit on the nose in 2021, but in Verzuz, nostalgia is a big factor, and you can bet that a lot of people watching Bow Wow vs. Soulja Boy played this one as they got drippy for the first day of school.
10. “Let’s Get Down” featuring Baby
“Let’s Get Down” was an absolute bop. It’s got bouncy strings and a two-part hook that plays out a romantic overture that doubles as a script for asking a baddie to dance (if you were in, like, middle school or high school when this dropped and nothing about that seemed corny to you). Make no mistake, “Let’s Get Down” will make things go up.
11. “Marco Polo” Bow Wow featuring Soulja Boy
Thirteen years ago, Bow and Soulja Boy linked up for “Marco Polo,” a track laced with audacious flexes and relentless confidence from both artists. It’s not an incredible song, but with a catchy hook and solid verses from both stars, it’s a reminder that these two definitely held things down in the 2000s.