50 Cent: What He Once Said He’d Do If He Didn’t Outsell Kanye West
50 Cent and Kanye West helped define rap in the 2000s and continue to court controversy to this day. What certain fans may not know is that they were once competitors. Back in 2007, they both released an album on the same day and 50 Cent swore he would come out on top. Did he?
The 2007 competition between two of the biggest names in rap
According to Rolling Stone, 50 Cent scheduled his album Curtis for release on September 11, 2007. Later on, West decided to release his album Graduation on the same day. 50 Cent was convinced Curtis would sell better than Graduation.
Mine will sell and his will still be on the shelf,” 50 Cent told Rolling Stone. “He should be terrified. What do I do? Do I send flowers? Do I send my condolences?”
The competition between the two artists was friendly. West said the sort of drama he and 50 Cent created gave magazines a reason for existing. In addition, West felt the sort of intrigue they brought to music was comparable to that of Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison.
50 Cent raises the stakes
Although there was no animosity between 50 Cent and West, 50 Cent put the stakes very high. Uproxx reports he vowed to never make another solo album if Graduation sold more copies than Curtis on its first day of sale. Plenty of artists have left the recording industry, but few major artists would vow to leave the music industry over sales numbers. Regardless of what 50 Cent said, Billboard tracks album sales over the course of weeks rather than days, so fans judged if Curtis was more popular than Graduation by looking at the albums’ first week sales.
The moment of truth — and where 50 Cent went from there
During its first week of sale, Curtis sold an impressive 691,000 units. During the same week, Graduation sold an even more impressive 957,000 units. Billboard reports Graduation sold better than any West album up to that point.
West clearly won the competition with 50 Cent, however, some fans felt they both won — in a way. No pair of albums had each sold over 600,000 copies in a single week since Guns N’ Roses’ albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II in 1991. However, Curtis sold considerably fewer copies than 50 Cent’s previous album, The Massacre, which sold over a million copies in its first week.
50 Cent broke his promise to never make a solo record again if Graduation outsold Curtis. AllMusic reports he’s released two albums after Curtis: Before I Sef-Destruct and Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire to Win. Billboard reported none of the singles from Before I Self-Destruct crossed over and 50 Cent’s career never equaled its earlier peak. Regardless, he’s still managed to sell many records — and spark interesting music industry drama.