For West, ’50’ Is Pocket Change
The much talked-about battle between rappers 50 Cent and Kanye West continues in a seemingly endless slough of finger-pointing and accusations. With declining album sales in the past few years, record companies are welcoming publicity stunts and the latest antics pulled by ‘Fiddy’ and Mr. West are no exception.
With September 11 as the album release date for both of those hip-hop chart toppers, it was no surprise that some friendly competition arose. What fans did not expect, however, was 50’s declaration that if his album, ‘Curtis,’ did not outsell West’s ‘Graduation,’ he would no longer pursue a career as a solo artist.
Whether 50 will hold true to this statement or if it was merely a way to encourage fans to buy his album remains to be seen. The two titans of hip-hop agreed to appear in a debate together on ‘BET’s 106 and Park Countdown’ the day of their album release. This ‘debate’ may not have been exactly what hosts Terrance J. and Rocsi had in mind. Through the frenzied screams of the adoring audience, little debating occurred. Their appearance together on the cover of September’s ‘Rolling Stone’ has added to the hype surrounding the celebrity feud, but the two certainly seem to have kept the hostility at bay enough to promote themselves and their new albums.
Both West and 50 have a proclivity for doing and saying things that raise eyebrows and put them in a critical spotlight. Most recently, Mr. West apparently threw a tantrum backstage at MTV’s Video Music Awards when he did not win in any of the categories he was nominated for. The result? Kanye has vowed not to return to MTV.
But West’s self-instated hiatus from MTV has had little effect on his record sales. At the end of the first week, Billboard charts reported ‘Graduation’ to have sold nearly a million records, outselling 50’s ‘Curtis’ by over 200,000 So far, 50 has not addressed his threat to quit his career as a solo artist. Fans can remain calm knowing that no letter of resignation has been sent to Interscope Records just yet.
But in no way is 50 taking this lying down. Recently, he cancelled his upcoming promotional tour in the United Kingdom. Originally scheduled for the end of September, 50 cites West’s chart-topping record sales as the reason for this cancellation. Still, the brooding continues, with 50 publicly blaming his record company for the lack of album sales and went as far as to accuse West’s record label, Def Jam, of buying multiple copies of West’s album to ensure the success of ‘Graduation’ in its debut week. While arrows fly from 50, West seems unable to bask in the recent success of his already billowing career. He still found time to accuse MTV of using struggling pop star Britney Spears to increase its ratings during the MTV Video Music Awards.
The fate of 50 Cent’s career is yet to be determined, though it is doubtful that he will be leaving the music scene anytime soon. Fans of the rappers can be sure to expect more snarling, childlike tantrums from both sides into the next few weeks. Perhaps the reason for these sour grapes is that the soundtrack to the movie ‘High School Musical 2′ has outsold both of the rappers’ albums. If sales are their goal, perhaps they ought to call up Zac Efron and the good folks at Disney.