The Far-Reaching Fallout of the 50 Cent/Kanye West Feud

A decade ago, Kanye West became the king of mainstream hip-hop.

A decade in the past, Kanye West turned the king of mainstream hip-hop.

Photograph by Marco Torres

Hip-hop has definitely witnessed its share of beefs. The Tupac-Biggie/East Coast-West Coast feud definitely involves thoughts, as do quite a few others. Jay-Z and Nas had their variations. Ice Dice waged verbal warfare on N.W.A. after leaving the group. Drake definitely has his detractors inside the rap group. And Eminem feuded with rattling close to everybody sooner or later.

A few of these feuds have ended tragically. Others managed to finish in friendship. However regardless of how every ended, sooner or later in time, every appeared to function some actual animosity. Which brings us to Kanye West and 50 Cent.

Ten years in the past this week, the 2 hip-hop superstars – every of whom maintains a well-known identify, if barely lesser musical portfolio, to this present day — waged a struggle that didn’t middle on violence or private slights. As an alternative Kanye and 50, ever the businessmen, centered their battle on report gross sales.

Sure, there was a time when report gross sales have been an precise factor. Artists would launch CDs, individuals would go to shops to buy them, some firm referred to as Soundscan would tally up these gross sales and report them. Promote a half-million copies? You go Gold. Transfer one million? Congratulations, you’re a Platinum-promoting celebrity. So, sure, we’re courting ourselves a bit in reliving the Kanye v. 50 battle, if solely as a result of it’s exhausting to think about Drake and Kendrick Lamar battling to see which artist might obtain extra streams in every week.

However, for a time in September 2007, Kanye v. 50 was the most important factor in music. This was an odd reality, contemplating the 2 actually had no historical past in any way. Whereas Biggie and Tupac a minimum of shared a previous of types that paved the best way towards their feud, Kanye and 50’s feud kinda simply popped up at some point, when the 2 determined that a publicity stunt centered on report gross sales would generate curiosity and line their pockets within the course of.

It was primarily music’s model of Floyd Mayweather v. Conor McGregor, two completed fighters from vastly totally different backgrounds who generated curiosity in a glorified exhibition match, all within the identify of monetary achieve. Factor is, the strategy labored then, simply because it did now. The Mayweather-McGregor bout was successful, as was the Kanye-50 showdown.

When first-week figures have been launched, Kanye’s Commencement bought greater than 950,000 models in its first week, in comparison with a shade beneath seven hundred,000 for 50’s Curtis. This marked solely the second time in historical past that two albums moved greater than 600,000 copies in the identical week (Weapons N’ Roses managed that feat by itself in 1991 with Use Your Phantasm I and II). Positive, Kanye gained, however in the long run, each males emerged victorious.

This held notably true for 50, contemplating Curtis was about as mailed-in a document as one can think about. No marvel 50 Cent engaged within the publicity push; it was actually the one strategy to garner curiosity in his newest report. Which brings us to profession arcs. The 50-Kanye…

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