‘Stronger’ Kanye outduels
|Posted Sept. 28, 2007|
On Sept. 11, two prize fighters laced up their gloves to rumble in the event of the year.
Instead of heavyweight boxers, two respectable hip-hop artists were matched up against each other in a heavily touted match for being named the best.
The rounds were long, with words and taunts thrown back and forth.
However one came out on top, and can now claim to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the hip-hop world.
Kanye West outsold 50 Cent by 266,000 copies, ending the first week sales of his album “Graduation” with 957,000 copies, according to Billboard. 50 Cent came in second with 691,000 for “Curtis,” but it seems that 50 Cent will be partying in a retirement home instead of ‘In Da Club.”
While West may have won in first week sales, University of La Verne students have mixed feelings.
Many praised West for his efforts to bring substance back into hip-hop, but some felt he came up short.
“It’s different. It’s very positive,” Britney Collins, a senior English major, said. “He doesn’t talk about sex and drugs. He’s talking about things that really matter to me.”
“Graduation” is West’s third solo album, whose release date was pushed to the same date as 50 Cent’s album.
The album features the single “Stronger” which includes a sample from Daft Punk.
Some students feel West’s stream of music has a more positive vibe, which is different from his hip-hop counterparts.
“I support positive hip-hop and Kanye is the face of positive hip-hop,” Collins said.
50 Cent’s album, “Curtis,” named after his biological first name, is also the artist’s third solo album.
The single “ I Get Money” is in heavy rotation on radio stations.
“There were good songs, but I’m not that big of a 50 fan,” sophomore Seve Villarreal said.
“50 Cent is more like ‘gangsta’ rap. Kanye West is more like a conscious rapper,” Melvin S. Ward, a senior theatre arts major, said.
Dana Reed, store manager for Rhino Records, located in the Claremont Village, reported huge sale tallies for West’s “Graduation.” The store sold out of “Graduation” the first day of release.
As of Sept 17, 64 copies of “Graduation” were sold at the store, compared to 15 copies for 50 Cent’s “ Curtis.”
“People that usually sell out at Target and Best Buy, usually don’t sell out here,” Reed said.
West and 50 Cent are no strangers to the spotlight.
Both artists have had their share of multi-platinum albums.
Both have also had their share of controversies.
50 Cent stormed on the scene with his single which was featured on the “8 Mile” soundtrack.
The song brought praise and controversy to the rapper for his feud with rival rapper Ja Rule.
Later 50 Cent released “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” an album that gave him critical acclaim and multi-platinum status.
West, on the other hand, had been a successful producer for other artists until he released his own album, “The College Dropout.”
This album featured a slew of singles such as “The New Workout Plan” and “Through the Wire,” a Chaka Khan-sampled track inspired by his near fatal car accident.
Success later followed West and 50 Cent on their second albums “Late Registration” and “The Massacre,” respectively.
Both have also been busy in other projects.
West is still active in producing for other artists.
50 Cent released the film “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” in 2005.
The film was loosely based on his life story, and even his acting received glowing reviews.
West may have stormed to conquer the most album sales, but students feel this feud was one to boost sales, instead of gaining as much clout as the Nas and Jay-Z feud or the respect of legends like Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.
“I guess you can say it’s good for hip-hop, but it helped them more,” Brown said. “Jay-Z and Nas was serious, this was fun and games.”
“It’s all publicity,” Joseph said.
In addition, this comes at a time when the music industry is still struggling in various ways.
Although both artists reported huge sale tallies, sales are down 9 percent compared to last year’s totals, according to Billboard.
Some students point to the effects of downloading, which makes West’s huge sales even more impressive.
Others point to the quality of music that artists are putting out.
“Some days I feel like 50. Some days I feel like Kanye,” Joseph said.
50 Cent had remarked to several media outlets that if West’s album outsold his own album, he would retire from producing his own music, although he would still help other artists in the hip-hop world.
Has West really put 50 Cent out of the game forever? Only time will tell.
Jonathan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.