Kanye West – Graduation and 50 Cent – Curtis: Early Review

by Ed Lau on September 2, 2007

I’m sure most of you have heard that both Kanye West’s and 50 Cent’s albums have been leaked. This is after months of “beef” between the two popular rappers over who would sell more records since both albums would be dropping on the same day, September 11th. It even came to the point where 50 said he would retire from music if Kanye outsold him…and even to the point where they said they would “debate” on television, for some reason. I’m not sure how that’s going but I’m rather sure it would be disappointing. Note to Kanye and 50: No one cares what you guys say outside of your albums. What on earth would you debate about? Bringing peace to the Middle East? The degradation of the world’s ecosystems? Socio-economic stratification? No, I’m almost sure neither one of these otherwise talented artists could actually have a debate anyone would care about. In fact, I imagine it would go something like this…

Now I’ve heard both albums, or at least the advance copies of them, but I’ll reserve my final verdict until I’ve heard a retail copy because of the suspicious nature of the leaks. Curtis can only be found in a “clean” copy with no explicit lyrics and I believe Graduation is missing a track. Either way, it almost looks like to me that both artists (or their management) leaked the albums on purpose to build buzz since both are somewhat incomplete.

In terms of singles, the Daft Punk sampling Stronger is a freakin’ awesome song with that infectious beat and it’s a better song than the Timbaland/Justin Timberlake-powered latest single from 50′s album, Ayo Technology even though that’s a solid song as well.

I’ve never been a big fan of 50 Cent’s music, really. I’ve never thought he’s had anything important to say other than he’s been shot or dealt drugs or whatever. If you look past the sometimes entertaining beats, it’s all very hollow and lacks substance. Some of his rhymes are clever but most of the time, I find him quite bland. Kanye on the other hand, usually has top notch production and decent storytelling lyrics. However, I found The College Dropout to be a better album than Late Registration for the same reason I find early Coldplay to be better than X&Y: after they made it big, they lost some of the sincerity that got them there.

Graduation is still a good album but you feel like Kanye is showing off to the critics and living up to his cocky reputation rather than putting his real creativity into his work. There are some good, even great songs but there’s nothing incendiary like Jesus Walks.

I can’t even say anything about Curtis yet, really since there are so many pauses for expletives. I hate “clean” music. Not because I really like hearing swearing but because it’s watered down music. You’re not hearing it the way the artist intended. However, some of the beats are quite catchy and entertaining.

We’ll revisit this subject when the retail CDs (or a non-fake leak…) are available. Because of the popularity of both artists, I’m sure both will be monster hits but if you’re looking for a Vegas line, I’d bet on Kanye. His music is more commercially viable and appeals to a wider audience.

in Entertainment

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

krillz September 2, 2007 at 5:24 pm

So I grabbed the albums I got some split feelings on each, great and bad.
Some of them are already played on the radio over here, the rest that I didn’t hear before I have to say aren’t all that great some aren’t at all.

Well it’s not the first time I had a first impression that something sucked to later find I actually like it.

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Gdog September 2, 2007 at 11:43 pm

I just watched the video for Ayo Technology…Justin doin his little dance behind 50 as he raps…hollllaaaaa!

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Andrew Chang September 3, 2007 at 2:30 am

Although i never comment, i had to say something about this post.

First off, ayo technology is actually the 4th single released from Curtis. Straight to the Bank, Amusement Park, & I Get Money (the biggest hit so far) were all singles before ayo technology, which was leaked way before it was supposed to have been.

Regarding the comment of Kanye being more commercially viable and appealing to a wider audience, that is far from accurate.

50′s album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ sold over 12 million records worldwide (7.5 mil in the US alone) compared to Kanye’s College Dropout which only sold 4 million (2.7 million in the US)

50′s next album The Massacre sold over 9.8 million records worldwide (just over 5 million in the US) while Kanye’s Late Registration sold only 2.8 in the US.

In summary, both of Kanye’s albums combined wont even come close to any of 50′s albums that he’s released. 50 has sold 15 million more records than Kanye and if Kanye released another 3 – 4 albums, he still wouldn’t match 50 in terms of #’s.

Also, regarding the comment that Kanye is more clever and has more substance in his music (which i agree is sometimes true), people need to dig deeper and listen to 50′s whole album before they comment. His unreleased record Power of the Dollar had a song called “How to Rob” which may be on of the most clever songs you will ever hear. Also, whenever he does guest apperances on songs that never receive any airplay, he usually kills it. His 1st album is definately his best work by far and it has probably dropped a little bit, but most artists are usually like this as you said earlier.

I’m also a fan of Kanye’s work, i’m just informing most people who probably wouldn’t know of 50′s other work since most of his singles are more “commercially appealing” than his other songs that dont ever become singles which are more raw and tell the story of his life (which was obviously more hardcore and gangster like than Kanye’s, hence more referrence to drugs, shootings, etc.)

Let’s still give 50 the benefit of the doubt due to past history and record sales. However, i will definately agree that this time around, it will be much closer due to Kanye having 2 solid hit singles to promote his album while 50′s promotional campaign this time around has been much more messy and disorganized, with songs and videos being leaked out when they shouldn’t have been and each song not getting the proper promotion.

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Ed Lau September 3, 2007 at 3:27 am

I should’ve said “latest” single. My mistake. What I meant was Kanye’s music is more radio friendly.

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krillz September 3, 2007 at 4:34 am

radio friendly indeed, and he usually has good beats which is a huge part when it comes to getting a hit.
Unfortunately most people don’t even care about the lyrics the first time they hear a song.

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Alex September 3, 2007 at 7:48 am

Funny cartoon! I personally like 50 cent better, but I don’t think he would actually retire if he got outsold.

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krillz September 3, 2007 at 11:55 am

you know what the problem with fifties albums have been, the songs are pretty much the same in every album.
The first was best yes sure, that’s because all the others are just like his first which sucks and that’s why most people have gotten tired of fifty.

Kanye was different, until sadly his latest album, some songs feel very similar to old ones, if the similarity doesn’t lay in the beat it does so in the style of rapping.

They should start to mix and experiment more with other genres of music and produce something new.
Something a la Timberland.

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ms danielle September 4, 2007 at 3:05 am

i saw a recent episode of america’s next top model and 50 cent was throwing a swanky party. he got annoyed with one of the models and pushed her into the swimming pool. i don’t listen to 50 cent but he sure knows how to entertain :D

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spryt September 11, 2007 at 7:27 am

50 and kanye are both big rappers, they dont need to discuss who is going to sell more records. they will both sell what they deserve but in my opinion, 50 cent is a big man, he is going to sell more records anyway.

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Al September 14, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Kanyes Albums way better… ok 50 has some good tracks but Kanyes Albums ALL gOOD.. its this shit.. im liking kanyes music better.. But there both going strait to the Bank

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Aimee February 27, 2009 at 8:27 am

Fifty is a real artist rapping about the only truth he knows
He couldn’t be fake if he tried- I think his lyrics and rhymes
are genius – will buy every album he records

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Brett @ bnordin.com January 26, 2010 at 3:04 am

Man has 50cents work gone right downhill. The guy needs to go back to his roots. Kanye is a wacko but still has a passion and does his work for the fans! Gotta love it.

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