I Don’t Know Which Very Smart Brotha Needs to Hear This, but Maxwell’s 'Ascension' Is Actually the Best Song Ever

Illustration for article titled I Don’t Know Which Very Smart Brotha Needs to Hear This, but Maxwell’s 'Ascension' Is Actually the Best Song Ever
Screenshot: YouTube/Maxwell

Before we get into this, let me first start by setting the framework for this entire piece with the wise words of Linnethia Leakes: “I said what I said.”


Now that that’s established, I think it’s time that the real truth about the best song ever finally be released. For context, over the last few weeks a couple of very smart brothas (namely Damon Young and Panama Jackson) have made strong cases for what they believe are the best songs on God’s green earth. Panama’s pick? “Return of The Mack” by Mark Morrison. Damon’s? “U Don’t Have to Call” by Usher.

Now if I’m honest, upon initial reading of both their arguments, I was torn—like, hella torn. Why? Because I happen to completely love both of those songs. I love them so much, in fact, that I’ve memorized every riff, run, and ad-lib in each and am waiting for outside to open back up so I can completely murk the first fool who challenges me at karaoke night. But then, I started thinking some thoughts. I started thinking some very smart thoughts. And what are those thoughts? I’m glad you asked:

  1. Why are they pitting two bad bitches against each other? Those songs are both equally hot, equally cultural staples, and equally able to get all Black folks dancing on the floor during the function. It makes no sense.
  2. Don’t they know that nobody wins when the family feuds? Jay-Z taught us better than that. A house divided cannot stand. They should’ve just sat there and ate their food. Smh.
  3. I wonder how it feels to be both extremely loud and extremely wrong? Wow. I hope I never find out. Big yikes.

You see, it’s one thing to be loud. But it’s a whole other thing to be loud AND wrong. And unfortunately for them, they are both. And that’s because the truth of the matter is, Maxwell’s “Ascension” is—for all intents and purposes and for all intensive purposes—the best song ever made, ever performed, ever sung, ever written. When that bass guitar starts, his silky silhouette starts swaying, and he belts out that easily recognizable “WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” at the 42-second mark, everybody’s internal auntie or uncle jumps out. (Or at least that’s what happens for me, The Glow Up’s Managing Editor Maiysha Kai can attest.)

And those are just the facts. Those are so much the facts that the Recording Industry Association of America has now recognized “Ascension” and put it firmly where it belongs: in the Platinum club. (Just in time for Urban Hang Suite’s 25th anniversary, which happens to be this Friday.) Now, I know what some of you may be thinking: “Well if that’s your barometer, then Usher’s clearly got more platinum AND diamond recognition. And “Return of The Mack” is also platinum. Check the stats, sis.” Unfortunately for you, that’s not my barometer so you can quit bumping your gums on that front. The reason why “Ascension” is that girl is because there is literally no other song in the world that instantly evokes memories of joy, simplicity and happier times. It’s the only song GUARANTEED to get all Black folks dancing on the floor at the function and the kickback.


It’s elating.

It’s effervescent.

And ultimately? It’s unable to be compared amongst two baddies such as “U Don’t Have to Call” and “Return of The Mack,” Why? Because in a world full of Kelly and Michelle’s—let’s face it: there can only be one Beyoncé.


And “Ascension” is her. Sorry to these brothas.



So we’re just pretending that Janet Jackson’s: “All For You”, doesn’t exist? We’re pretending that the most perfect 5 min 29 sec aural experience doesn’t exist?


Besides, if the metric that we’re going on is: “It’s the only song GUARANTEED to get all Black folks dancing on the floor at the function and the kickback.”, then it isn’t “Ascension”, but Frankie Beverly’s & Maze’s “Before I let Go”.