D-Day Nears for Kanye, 50 Cent

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May 19, 2006
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By Steve Jones,

USA Today

Posted: 2007-09-10 07:38:39

Filed Under: Music News

(Sept. 10) - After two months of hype, blogging and bantering, hip-hop fans go to stores Tuesday to decide the winner in the showdown between 50 Cent 's Curtis and Kanye West 's Graduation.

The SoundScan battle between the superstars is easily the genre's most talked-about event since Jay-Z 's "retirement" in 2003. The buildup has involved plenty of trash talking — 50 boasted he would stop making solo records if West outsold him — but none of the acrimony that sometimes accompanies hip-hop rivalries. The two posed together for the current Rolling Stone cover and shared the stage last month at T.I. 's show at Madison Square Garden.

On Tuesday, they'll appear live on BET's countdown show 106 & Park, performing songs from the new albums. ESPN's Stuart Scott will provide the play-by-play and analysis.

An adamant 50 Cent insists it's no contest. "If I put out a record that nobody had heard, with no single, I'd still sell more records than Kanye West," he told USA TODAY.

The excitement generated by the face-off has been a boon for a genre beset by a shrinking market and growing criticism about content. It could draw fans who have grown used to plucking singles off the Internet back into stores.

"It's great for hip-hop," says Thomas Harden, music editor at hip-hop magazine The Ave. "If you're in the store and you buy Kanye's album, you might as well buy 50's album because they'll be right next to each other."

Says Erik Parker, director of content at urban community SOHH.com: "This is hip-hop politics at its best. Even if the showdown is a little contrived, both artists are in on it. They recognize it's a great moment for hip-hop."

These are the third studio albums for 50 Cent and West, who have dominated hip-hop for the past four years, both in sales and controversy. West seems to have the edge online, outpacing 50 in iTunes and Amazon preorders. A SOHH.com poll of 3,000 fans favors West 51% to 37% to sell the most.

Still, most experts say the battle will follow past sales patterns, with 50 Cent maintaining the upper hand at the cash register while West leads the way in accolades.

In 2003, 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' sold 7.7 million albums. He followed that with The Massacre in 2005, which sold 5.1 million copies. But 50 has yet to win a Grammy.

West, meanwhile, has moved close to 3 million copies of 2004's The College Dropout and 2.8 million of last year's Late Registration. He has won six Grammys. Any of their previous first-week figures would be massive in the current market: Linkin Park is this year's biggest first-week seller, moving 623,000 copies of Minutes to Midnight in May.

D-Day Nears for Kanye, 50 Cent - AOL News

I thought Kanye's album release was moved to a week earlier? Oh well im not buying either one of the albums.