Musical scholars will study and remember this day until the end of time. On Sept. 11, 2007, God himself reached down from the heavens and, with his outstretched palm, gave us two gifts that will live forever in the annals of aural greatness.
Or maybe not.
The hip-hop (and I use this term loosely) war between Kanye West and 50 Cent officially kicks off today with the release of both of their albums. Two distinct artists (again, I use these terms loosely) with carefully crafted images as opposite as Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat will attempt to trick us into caring about who sells more albums.
Two steps forward, two steps back.
In the olden days, a skirmish between MCs was about respect. It was about finding out who had more skill on the microphone. Now it’s about how many teenage girls will buy your CDs.
It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.
That’s what bothers me about the back-and-forth between Pinky McPoppedcollar and Curtis VonBulletcatcher.
Their jabs at each other have nothing to do with skill. They merely insult one another’s public image and record sales.
Outsell or sell out, what’s the difference?
Maybe they don’t attack each other’s “skills” because they would suffer from lack of material. Given the choice between the two, I’d take West for his talents as a producer and the fact that he is at least somewhat creative. Also, 50 Cent promised to retire if Kanye’s Graduation outsells his Curtis. The thought of having one of these clowns gone forever does wonders to ease my queasiness.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t always a hater of Kanye and 50 Cent. In fact, I was a big fan of both. When 50’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ came out, I was one of the first in line to buy it. I called Kanye’s The College Dropout a breath of fresh air for hip-hop. Somewhere along the line, thought, things changed.
50 Cent seemed to run out of things to say years ago, but never realized it. I almost look forward to the single from his next CD, which will probably be called “Guns, Guns, Guns, Money, Money, Money.”
When Kanye West first came out, he carried
himself with a confidence that seemed to stem from his hard work and belief in his skill. Somewhere between his early braggadocio and his appearance as Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone, I realized that he thinks he’s a little too special.
But people continue to buy their albums, wear their clothes and gobble up magazines with their pictures on the cover. People still care who sells more albums, when they should really care about who makes the best music. People still write articles that perpetuate the nonsense and . . . oh shoot.
Aaron Hertzog can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.