Rappers’ new albums compete after same release date
It’s an all out war between Kanye West and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Musically that is.
“If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on Sept. 11, I’ll no longer write music,” 50 Cent said on SOHH.com, a Web site devoted to hip-hop happenings. “I’ll write music and work with my other artists, but I won’t put out any more solo albums.”
These words, printed on SOHH.com over a month ago, sparked the supposed feud and ingenious marketing strategy involving superstar rappers 50 Cent and Kanye West.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the opposing artists’ new albums were released. Kanye released “Graduation,” and 50 Cent released “Curtis.”
Instigating this unforeseen rivalry is exactly what the music industry needs at a time where overall album sales are down. According to figures from Nielsen Soundscan, record sales are down 18 percent from last year and hip-hop sales are down an even greater 20 percent.
The cover of Rolling Stone’s September issue further ignited the hype showing the two artists face-to-face. So far, the marketing ploy is a success. Both artists appeared in Rhapsody’s top downloaded albums and iTunes’ top albums before either album was released.
Fans are even bolstering the competition by taking sides and only buying the album from the artist that they want to win. Several popular blog Web sites, and even CD reviews on iTunes, contain messages from fans about helping their particular artist win.
So, the remaining question is who will dominate the competition?
The answer: Kanye.
Although 50 Cent’s previous two albums sold more than one million copies within the first week of their releases-compared to around 500,000 copies for Kanye-the failure of 50′s singles from “Curtis” will inevitably keep his sales down.
Other Albums released on Sept. 11:
Kenny Chesney – “Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates”
“Grey’s Anatomy Original Soundtrack Vol. 3″
Hot Hot Heat – “Happiness Ltd.”
Backstreet Boys – “Inconsolable” (Single)
Animal Collective – “Strawberry Jam”
In fact, 50 Cent decided to push back the album’s release date as a result of this. His third single “Ayo Technology,” featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, peaked at 18 after only four weeks on the Billboard charts, whereas Kanye’s first single, “Stronger,” peaked at number two with six weeks overall on the chart. Neither of 50′s first two singles managed to place on the Billboard charts.
50 Cent titled his fourth album “Curtis” after his birth name. Utilizing fellow artists from the labels Shady Records and Aftermath Entertainment, the new album stars Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Akon, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke and Tony Yayo.
Songs like “I’ll Still Kill” featuring Akon’s signature high-pitched yelps, “Fully Loaded Clip,” and the eerie “My Gun Go Off” aspire to reestablish 50′s street credibility after several years removed from the street. However, repeating the phrase “I’ll murder them,” backed by a heavy beat and deep piano, falls very short of establishing any sort of credibility.
On the other hand, Kanye’s lyrics reached a new level in his third release, “Graduation.” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, is a reflection of his career as a rap artist, and “Everything I Am” is a poignant ballad about his faults and slip-ups.
Kanye’s hit club song is the album’s second single, “Stronger,” which has a catchy background of effected vocals accompanied by a great hook. The single has already reached number one on iTunes’ Top Songs chart.
“Graduation” has fewer songs and guest artists than “Curtis,” but the album is more toned and Kanye chooses fewer mainstream artists to work with such as ‘Lil Wayne, Mos Def and Chris Martin of Coldplay.
“Homecoming” will be Kanye’s next single and is a catchy, melodic jam with Martin who echoes, “I’m coming home again, do you think about me now and then, cause I’m coming home,” which is an ongoing theme of the album.
“All of Me,” featuring Mary J. Blige’s Grammy award-winning voice, and “Touch the Sky,” are high-notes on 50 Cent’s album. Overall, the rest of the album is too repetitive, with themes similar to those of 50′s last two albums. 50 needed to branch out more with some new, unique beats and new topics.
Early results from iTunes have “Graduation,” with 437,000 overall sales, in a clear lead over “Curtis” with 350,000 overall sales. Currently, “Graduation” sits at number one in top albums while “Curtis” is barely in the top ten at number eight.
Furthermore, Kanye’s new album has already sold out at both Albums on the Hill and the Target at 28th Street in Boulder.
Contact campus Press Staff Writer Devon Taylor at Taylordj@colorado.edu
- Cold War Kids pleases packed crowd
- El-P's new LP shows what independent hip-hop is all about
- PlayStation 3 sales lag behind competition
- New tunes from the Arctic Monkeys
- Iraq war draws discussion on campus