I daresay if you have been awake this past month, you are aware that September 11 was the official drop date for two rap albums: 50 Cent’s Curtis and Kanye West’s Graduation.
It has, for reasons that remain blurry at best, been a heated battle for top sales, and at one point 50 said he’d give up rapping if Kanye’s record did better than his. Uh oh!
Even before the albums went out, unofficial polling showed that Kanye had the upper hand–and now, after looking at the sales, it seems clear that he is the favourite. To be fair, Kanye never really thought a record race was a great idea, and the winning rapper has remained rather quiet on the subject.
On September 12, when it became clear that Kanye’s expected 750,000 record sales would top the Billboard Chart and 50 Cent’s 550,000 would likely reach the number three slot (1) (although further sales put him at number two), the more outspoken of the two artists decided to blame his record label. The rapper says a lack of proper promotion led to his record selling less than Kanye West’s release, and after this debacle he plans to leave Interscope following his next album (2).
But why the one-sided hostility? After all, Rolling Stone quotes Kanye West as describing the rivalry as ?the stupidest thing? (3).
The record race was originally conceived by BET hosts on the show 106 & Park; the two artists had both had their release dates pushed back to the point when they would be simultaneously presented to the public, and BET hosts decided this was a great time to stir up a little action and healthy rivalry between the two rappers. 50 Cent turned up to say that he was all for the record race; he also predicted that Kanye West would have no part in it.
In the end, however, the two artists sat down together for a couple of interviews and talked about how they each want the top spot and how they have collaborated on music in the past, even as recently as 50 Cent talking to Kanye West about the new album Curtis.
Fans aren’t sure what to expect from this outcome, and heated debate continues as to whether or not 50 Cent will keep his word and actually give up his career in rap.
(1) MuchMusic. ?Kanye Stronger than 50.? Retrieved September 19, 2007, from http://www.muchmusic.com/news/story.asp?id=19850
(2) MuchMusic. ?50 Blames Label.? Retrieved September 19, 2007, from http://www.muchmusic.com/news/story.asp?id=19856
(3) Rolling Stone. ?Kanye West Calls Proposed Debate With 50 Cent ?The Stupidest Thing?.? Retrieved September 19, 2007, from Rolling Stone