50 Cent bet his entire career on outselling Kanye West back in 2007 and even claimed he’d quit releasing solo albums forever if West outsold him.
Ye’s third album, Graduation, dropped on this day 15 years ago and was immediately hailed as a classic on release.
Featuring hits like ‘Stronger’, ‘Flashing Lights’ and ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’, the project was one of Kanye’s most commercially successful and a landmark moment in hip-hop history.
Yet, one of the more fascinating aspects of the album’s pre-release was the burgeoning rivalry between West and 50 Cent, both seen at the time as kings as their respective lanes.
Coming off of the back of the immense success of Get Rich or Die Tryin, 50 was arguably the biggest gangsta rapper in the world at that point, whereas Kanye’s trademark production chops and off-beat persona had brought him huge critical acclaim and ushered hip-hop into a new direction.
So when it was revealed that the two would be dropping their new albums on the same day in 2007, many saw it as a battle between the two titans of hip-hop.
It was reported at the time that the rapper said that he’d quit music forever if Kanye outsold his album Curtis, and in new footage shared by SOHH to mark the two album’s 15-year anniversaries, he can be seen putting his money where his mouth is.
In the clip, Fiddy blasts Kanye’s critical acclaim as down to him being a ‘safe choice’ for award shows, saying: “I don’t get trophies, I get the checks. He [Kanye] gets the trophies."
15 years ago today, one of the best head to head weeks in Hip Hop was underway. Kanye’s Graduation & 50 Cents Curtis both dropped & Graduation ended up outselling 957k to 691k. Iconic opening day. pic.twitter.com/KOT78t9l7V— Kanye West Streams (@kanyestreams1) September 11, 2022
"They’d like to see Kanye West give me a problem because I’ve worked myself into a space where I’ve become the favourite,” 50 Cent continued. “Everybody roots for the underdog when he goes against the favourite, but let’s raise the stakes.
“If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on Sept. 11, I’ll no longer write music.”
He clarified: "I won’t put out any more solo albums."
Despite his tough talk, 50 Cent eventually ended up losing heavily to Kanye, with Graduation selling 957,000 units to Curtis’ 691,000.
The ensuing rout was credited with killing gangsta rap in the mainstream and established Ye as the undisputed king of late 2000s hip-hop.
In a recent interview with Hotnewhiphop, CyHi the Prynce, who frequently collaborated with Ye, called the feud 'the biggest shift in our culture.'
“That's when I feel like, around that time, the Lupes, and the new guys who could really spit got that chance -- even with Drake, if it wasn't for Kanye standing up to 50, would Drake music be able to work at that time, you know what I'm saying?" he continued.
50 ended up releasing two more solo albums after losing his wager, with 2009’s Before I Self Destruct and 2014’s Animal Ambition released to mixed acclaim, although neither managed to outsell his previous work.
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