By Griffith Fuller
By Griffith Fuller
The battle over good versus evil is as ancient as Cain and Abel, but when it is applied to two of the top rappers in the music industry today it seems so much more compelling.
The chart war between 50 Cent and Kanye West started when 50 Cent, (real name Curtis Jackson III) declared that he would end his solo career as a rapper if West outsold him in album sales.
The two rappers both released new albums on the same day of Sept 11.
50 Cent represents a brutal primitive beast-like street rapper, that doesn’t care about the consequences of talking tough and threatening people’s lives.
In a recent Rolling Stone interview he stated, “I’m King Kong. Kanye is human. Humans run when they see King Kong, because they’re scared.” Without a doubt, 50 Cent doesn’t have a problem embracing his ape-like hyper-masculine persona.
50 Cent’s comments however shouldn’t be a surprise; this is the same rapper that bragged about getting shot 9 times on his first two albums.
“Curtis”, 50 Cent’s third major release album, unfortunately does nothing for saving hip-hop or showing personal maturity and growth as an artist.
Sure , songs like “I Get Money,” “Straight to the Bank,” and “Ayo Technology” are catchy and even possible of enslaving reluctant listeners to head-bobbing; but the overwhelming negativity and glorification of gang-life overpowers the album’s likeability.
If 50 Cent bows out now, it will be a cowardly bow and he will be remembered for being a gangsta rapper caricature.
He already cancelled dates to European shows after finding out that West outsold him and landed the No.1 spot on Britain’s album chart this past Sunday. 50 Cent landed in the number two position on Britain’s album charts.
West, on the other hand is no squeaky clean rapper, but far from what 50 Cent represents himself to be. He came from a well off middle-class black family from Chicago. His father was a former Black Panther member and photojournalist; his mother is an educator.
In comparison to Jackson, West came from a good background. Jackson came from a background in which he sold drugs as a teenager and was heavily involved in street gang activities.
The contrast is obvious in the sense that 50 Cent was raised in a rugged street environment and Kanye West was raised in a structured disciplined environment.
West, who has a reputation for being arrogant and conceited, managed to keep hip-hop innovative and interesting with the release of his third record, “Graduation.” He continues with the higher education theme and discusses such issues that range from the state of hip-hop to persevering as an artist.
With key tracks such as “Homecoming,” (featuring Chris Martin of Coldplay), “Big Brother” (one of the most honest hip-hop songs to be made), “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” and “Flashing Lights,” (featuring Dwele), “Graduation” strongly outshines “Curtis” as a piece of art.
In “Everything I Am” West says, “I know that people wouldn’t usually rap this/but I got the facts to back this/just last year, Chicago had over 600 caskets/man, killin’s some wack s**t/ oh, I forgot, ‘cept for when n***a’s is rappin’ /do you know what it feel like when people is passin’?” West’s frustration with violence expressed on “Graduation” strongly contrast to 50 Cent’s glorification of violence and refusal to let go of the violent hood mentality.
Song titles on his record such as “I’ll Still Kill,” “My Gun Go Off,” “Fully Loaded Clip,” and “Man Down” says a lot about Curtis as a person.
West’s album has a touch of genius to it and embraces every aspect of hip-hop; he loves the art of hip-hop. Yet 50 Cent’s album is yet another product to put out for him to market his gangster persona and get rich off of it.
One album is a testimony to the survival of hip-hop and its essence, while the other is a testimony to harmful machismo that is a determent to hip-hop and the black community.
Eventually the public chose a maturing artist over a sophomoric thug.
According to Soundscan, as reported Sept. 19th, West’s “Graduation” sold 957,000 copies, while 50 Cent’s “Curtis” sold 691,000 copies.
This places West in the No.1 position for album sales. Now fans are wondering is 50 Cent going to live up to his prior word of retiring, or is he going to wallow in the success of boosting his record sales from the 50 Cent Vs.West publicity.