Bulletproof vests and pink polos: 50 vs. Kanye

Up to this point, hip hop music in 2007 was starting to look like 50 Cent’s acting career: void of talent and ugly. Aside from a few lyrically skilled (Common’s “Finding Forever”) and commercially successful (T.I.’s “T.I. vs. T.I.P.”) albums, Nas has seemingly been correct in predicting that hip hop is dead.

However, this past Tuesday was one of those rare instances-like finding two prizes in your box of Lucky Charms-when two hip hop juggernauts both released eagerly anticipated albums on the same day. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, the thugged-out hip hop mogul, released “Curtis,” while Kanye West, the collar-popping, unnecessarily political producer-turned-rapper, debuted the prematurely leaked “Graduation.” To make the competition a little more interesting, Mr. Cent has said he will stop putting out solo albums if Mr. West sells more records than him.

It’s hard to choose a side in this battle. For one, I personally hate 50 Cent’s music. At first I thought he was tough. In the eyes of a high school freshman, anyone who gets shot nine times and lives to tell about it is pretty damn gangster. Then he stuck to the stereotypical “money, hos and rims” script in rap and completely sold out. That’s not to say that he’s not an incredible businessman, I just think he sucks at rapping.

Still, it’s hard to root for Kanye West either. Figuratively speaking, the man has the biggest head in music. The self-proclaimed “Louis Vuitton Don” considers himself the best dressed, thinks that every album he works on should win a Grammy and believes that he could run the country better than President Bush (even though he probably could).

Despite his arrogant attitude, I do love Kanye. He’s the King Midas of producing and a lyrical mastermind; the samples that he uses (from Ray Charles to Daft Punk) make every one of his tracks a hit. I also like how I can relate to him. We both grew up in the suburbs; we both went to college (although I don’t plan on dropping out); and we both should go to the gym more often. (When was the last time you saw Kanye with his shirt off?) He’s admired and respected by everyone, from true fans of hip-hop to middle-aged white folks who like him because he looks like he goes to church. Even his mascot is likeable: Who doesn’t love a teddy bear?

This dispute won’t be settled until those final Nielsen SoundScan numbers come out. Although I’ve bought Kanye’s album (which is amazing) and hope he outsells “Fiddy,” I can’t stand how inflated both of these guys’ egos have become. I think the funniest and greatest slap in both of their faces would be if the final results looked a little like this:

#3: 50 Cent – “Curtis”
#2: Kanye West- “Graduation”
#1: Kenny Chesney – “Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates”

Felipe “50 Peso” Yanez is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. He is not a wanksta and may be reached at FYanez527@hotmail.com.