Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Can Kanye graduate with a 50?

Published: August 31, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

This September 11 will mark the sixth anniversary of the tragic attacks upon the World Trade Center. However, for spoken word style rap artist Kanye West, and self proclaimed kingpin of the gangsta rap, 50 Cent (a.k.a Ferrari) this date commemorates the release of their albums Graduation and Curtis respectively. What may have started as a mere coincidental matching of dates has quickly grown into an all out competition to see who will sell more records. 50 Cent claims that he refuses to make another solo album if he loses to Kanye.

Now this is how I feel. Kanye is obviously the better artist. His beats have been revolutionary even before his inception into Roc-a-fella records, and with more recent productions like Impossible featuring Twista among other artists (if you havent heard this song yet, or dont remember it go buy it off iTunes right now), one can obviously see that the man just continues to become more diverse and creative.

Mr. West has worked with the voices of legends such as Chaka Kahn and Ray Charles, and has more recently expanded his pool of talented collaborators to Australian pop singer Connie Mitchell who can be heard as the undertone of his current single Cant Tell Me Nothin, Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine, and the legendary duo Daft Punk who worked directly with Mr. West on his new song Stronger [Theyre the guys with the robot helmets on in the video).

Kanyes lyrics have always been highly clever and very self analytical. And as we hear Mr. West honestly tell us what an arrogant, hypocritical guy he can be, we cant help but think of ourselves for a moment and consider a.) how flawed we are and b.) if we are as honest with ourselves as Mr. West is.

Now here are the facts. I am a firm believer that 50 Cent will win this competition. While Kanye bombards us with complex metaphors and states that If the devil wears Prada, and if Adam and Eve wore nada /that hes somewhere in between but way fresher, 50 Cent continues to remind us of the three things that have allowed him to go platinum as many times as he has. Hes a G, he gets girls and most importantly, He gets money, money he gets.

50 Cent is way more marketable than Kanye West because 50 Cent makes way more party songs. Granted, Kanyes hits Gold Digger and Workout Plan are party favorites but Mr. Wests usual subject matter is way more introspective. I dont know about anybody else but I felt kind of weird dancing to a song called Jesus Walks.

I am very aware that this discussion may seem one-sided in Kanyes favor. Im actually a 50 fan though. I acknowledge that hes only doing what hes doing to make money and hes quite successful at that. I can also strongly vouch for 50 Cents early work and believe that his underground album Power of a Dollar was one of the best rap albums of its time.

My commentary is not so much anti-50 Cent but more pro-deep artists like Kanye. Some of the best minds of the rap game are guys like Talib Kweli, MF Doom, and Mos Def. These guys all make great music but hardly receive their proper dues in terms of accreditation or financial reward. Kanye West is blessed to be one of the only marketable deep rappers I know.

Personally, I dont think that his popularity will be enough to overcome the huge amount of clout that 50 Cent holds with the mainstream audience. Needless to say, Im sure that many people are all split up by this turn of events. 50 or Kanye hoes or prose. I honestly cant say Im any better. I already reserved both albums.