Edge

Dueling CD Reviews: Kanye West and 50 Cent

Mr. Pink Polo expcted to bury the Southside King

Will 50 cent put in for his early retirement? As the first day sales estimates come in, Kanye is estimated at the 575,000-700,000 range, while 50 is predicted to be in the 500,000-600,000 range.

In an era when hip-hop is allegedly dead flawless albums are hard to come by, but Kanye’s album achieves greatness through his beautifully crafted tracks where we hear his arrogant but meaningful rhymes over his melodic symphonies we have come to adore. Although 50’s album is four tracks longer, quantity doesn’t mean quality and “Curtis” is average in comparison to his previous efforts. While his first album was truly a masterpiece, each consecutive album lacks creativity and willingness to stray from street rap is very apparent on the new album.

Even though Kayne walked away empty-handed at MTV’s Video Music Awards, he undoubtedly has established himself as one of the best in the hip hop game, and 50 has unfortunately failed to prove himself at a pivotal moment. So, if 50 stays true to his claim “If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on September 11, I’ll no longer write music,” then it is safe to say we have seen the last of Curtis. Thankfully, we will still have Kanye around to keep our ears satisfied in 50’s departure.

Kanye West: ‘Graduation’
4 out of 4 stars

Chi-Town’s living legend has returned to the record stores with what very well may be the best album of the year. Kanye’s new album “Graduation” is a 13-track masterpiece with tracks featuring Chris Martin, Mos Def, Lil’ Wayne, T-Pain and Dwele. Amazingly, not only did Kanye write every one of his verses, but he also produced every track on the album except two.

Kanye has always been known to be a musical and creative genius, but with “Graduation” he truly bests himself. The opening track, “Good Morning,” boasts his return to the hip hop game, and welcomes us into the work of art he has created for our listening pleasure. A few tracks later, Lil’ Wayne joins Kanye on “Barry Bonds,” on which Kanye boasts: “And the flow just hit code red/Top 5 MC’s you ain’t gotta remind me/Top 5 MC’s you gotta rewind me.” Finally, on the closing track of the album, Kanye shouts his love and admiration to his “Big Brother,” Jay-Z.

He pays the respects that are certainly due over a heartfelt melody, and tells the story of how his mentor guided him into superstardom.

50 Cent: ‘Curtis’
2.5 out of 4 stars

The self-proclaimed King of New York is back in the record stores this week with his third album, “Curtis.” 50’s new album is a bit longer than Kanye’s, with 17 tracks, and features industry heavyweights Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, Eminem, Akon and Mary J. Blige.

The album opens with an rather generic gun shop dialogue; 50 then quickly jumps into three consecutive intimidating street anthems of sorts, with “My Gun Go Off,” “Man Down” and the Akon-featured “I’ll Still Kill.” The album then comes to one of 50’s singles, “I Get Money,” which is undoubtedly the best track off the album. The drum kicks from the track will surely be heard blaring from car stereos for a few months. 50 then joins Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke on consecutive tracks with “Ayo Technology” and “Follow My Lead,” in an effort to show his softer side.

50 is a rugged rapper who claims to be a former drug dealer, and he has just bought into that persona a little too heavily. His delivery seems forced.

Dan Buyanovsky may be contacted at danbuyanovsky@yahoo.com.

September 13, 2007

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