Will 50 really stop making music?

Andrew Gaug

September 11 has obvious historical significance, but this year it will also hold a landmark moment in hip-hop. The genre, which was king during the late ’90s and early 2000s with Eminem, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy and Outkast, has fallen on hard times. A major sales slump has occurred. According to Soundscan, rap sales are down 33 percent from 2006 with few rappers actually going platinum within the last year.

Enter 50 Cent and Kanye West.

Both are multiplatinum artists whose previous releases sold quickly despite the decline of album sales in general. In 2005, 50 Cent’s second album, The Massacre, sold 1.14 million in its first four days, Kanye West’s sophomore release, Late Registration, sold 900,000 copies its first week.

While both of their upcoming albums, 50 Cent’s Curtis and Kanye West’s Graduation, were expected to be big releases, it would almost be unheard of to go against each other on the same week. But with both being pushed back to the same date, it’s bound to be an epic competition.

The ongoing rivalry is almost an anomaly in music, as record companies and PR firms usually make sure release dates for big artists don’t clash in order to maximize sales. The last time two big releases went head-to-head in hip-hop was Jay-Z’s then-final CD The Black Album and 50 Cent’s group G-Unit in 2003. Both albums leaked, causing both to get put on stores shelves early, thus putting a kibosh on the competition.

The same has occurred again with both Curtis and Graduation, as both have found their way onto the Internet. Both still appear to be set for September 11. If so, this poses to be the surge of album sales hip-hop has needed. With the line drawn between 50 Cent and Kanye West fans, they’ll have to wait until Soundscan sales are released to see who comes out on top.

Andrew Gaug