By Daniel Ucko
As the computerized words “Work it, make it, do it, makes us
harder, better, faster, stronger” spread through the airwaves like
the West Nile virus, it’s difficult to find a moment to reflect on
the whole Kanye West vs. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson gangster
The two popular hip-hop artists both released their new albums
on Sept. 11, and what better way to market their third CDs than
wage a war, hip-hop style.
50 proclaimed that he would quit rapping if Kanye outsold him,
and it turns out Kanye won. By a landslide.
The numbers were obvious from the first week’s sales: at 957,000
copies, Kanye’s “Graduation” sold 266,000 more than Fitty’s
At a mere 691,000 after the first week, it looked like we would
be seeing the last of 50 – something a lot of listeners wouldn’t
However, since he placed second in sales, Mr. Cent has backed
off and rescinded his claim.
Instead of tipping his hat (or doo-rag) and retiring, he has
doomed us with the news that he has (gasp) another album in the
Before he’s had the chance to recover from the album war
backlash, 50’s already prepared himself for future defeat, calling
the next album “Before I Self-Destruct.”
He’s also blaming his label, Interscope Records, for not
promoting “Curtis” well, when the real problem is simple: 50 is out
and Kanye is in.
Studded with slick jackets and his own brand of Kanye Retro ’80s
style sunglasses, Fitty’s sound seems too dark for the day.
While Kanye’s song themes go from “Good Life” to “Barry Bonds”
and “Drunk and Hot Girls,” Curtis still seems to be brooding from
all those bullets in his behind.
Past the scary, but moving image of 50 on the cover of “Cutris”
lies titles like “My Gun Go Off,” “I’ll Still Kill” and “Fully
While song titles are merely names, the sounds inside make them
Speech impediment aside, 50 is still rapping about shooting
things up in the hood, while Kanye is much more danceable and
I will admit to a bias. I was a big fan of Kanye’s sample of
Daft Punk in his single “Stronger,” and stopped paying attention to
the Cent after he wrote a song about window-shopping.
The other factor is I much prefer dancing to throwing on a hood
and cocking my .45 pistol.
While our country continues to wage war on every terrorist
country, the ice caps melt, and technology slowly takes over our
lives more than we realize, it seems Americans are in the mood for
more fun these days.
We’ve exhausted ourselves talking about Iraq and a bad
president, and have moved on to creating comedic YouTube videos in
support of candidates for the 2008 presidential election.
Whether Kanye and Fitty’s war is over the music or the their ego
is questionable, but either way there’s still plenty to be thankful
Besides giving us something more interesting to talk about than
the latest Osama bin Laden video, the recent album feud helped fuel
CD sales at a time when the record industry is at an all-time
Even better is that the two rappers actually get along, which
means we probably won’t be losing these two top rappers to bullets,
like so many of their predecessors.
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