Friday, September 14, 2007
You Might Be Surprised
You may even be alarmed that I have an opinion to register on the topic of the Kanye West-versus-50 Cent showdown that's been all the hype in the music industry this week. If you don't already know about it, the basic gist of it is that rapper 50 Cent has said he will stop making solo recordings if his "Curtis" album sells fewer copies than Kanye West's "Graduation" during their first week in stores. Both albums were released Tuesday. Sales figures will be revealed next week.
I admit, I'm a pretty basic white girl with a taste that leans more toward indie rock, folk, and alt country ... but I've listened to my share of rap music--ever since my hip hop days in junior high (don't ask). These days, my hip hop repertoire doesn't go much deeper than liking or not liking whatever rap singles filter into my consciousness by being big radio hits, so I don't claim to be an expert.
(For the record, I LOVED Kanye's "Gold Digger," (2005) and the line "We gonna party like it's yer birfday" from 50's single, "In Da Club" (2003) has entered my lexicon as a thing I might say.)
But I do have a vote to register.
I don't plan to buy either album--which is the "real" way to vote, in this case, but I will say that Kanye's album is far more enjoyable a listen than the 50 Cent equivalent. In fact, I don't think I can actually call them equals.
The albums' respective titles are actually pretty good indicators of what's "inside." 50 Cent's "Curtis" is full of the usual gangsta rap bravado, including a nonstop flow of words that would make my mother very uncomfortable indeed. The first song on "Curtis" is "My Gun Go Off," which pretty well sets the tone for the rest of the cuts.
Kanye West's "Graduation," while still liberally peppered with dirty words, has brains. Critics have long credited Kanye with thoughtful and inventive lyrics, and I also happen to like his lyrical style much better. His crisp and creative phrasing has more flow than 50's rough-and-tumble slur, and his storylines appeal to a wider audience than just rap devotees. Case in point, Kanye enlisted Coldplay's Chris Martin to sing on his track, "Homecoming," which (Midwestern white girl that I am) is one of my favorite cuts on "Graduation."
While it may be true that 50 Cent would win in a street fight, I'm putting my money on Kanye this time. My hunch is, if Fiddy remains true to his threat, we won't have to hear from him again. But really, does anyone believe that he's going to drop off the face of the earth is he loses this faceoff? Naw, he has only promised to stop making SOLO recordings. So watch for plenty of collaborations in the Fiddy's future.