The Fall Of Curtis: How September 11, 2007 Changed Everything For 50 Cent

fiftyvskanye.jpg
Let me indulge in a little bit of Jay-Z/Kanye fan fiction in the least 50 Shades of Grey way possible:

Def Jam President and retired rapper Jay-Z was fed up.

50 Cent had been sending subliminal barbs Jay's way for eight years, starting with a shot Mr. Carter's way on "How To Rob" when they were both climbing their respective hip-hop ladders. In 2007, with both at the peak of their careers, Fiddy was back at it, baiting Jay-Z with braggadocio lyrics and interviews about his then-fiancé, his money, and how he'd sold out.

Jay didn't know what to do, although he was well aware that a nasty feud with the Queens-born MC in the middle of his own corporate ascension would be PR suicide.

Enter Kanye West, who had been working on the follow-up to his mega-successful Late Registration and who was looking at a fourth-quarter release date.

"What if I dropped my album on the same day at 50 Cent's?" Kanye asked. "Yeah, I'll put my album out on the same day as 50's, start a sales battle."

A solution! And one that would take Jay out of the fray. After oodles of hoopla, September 11, 2007, rolled around, and Graduation and Curtis both hit shelves. A week later, the dust cleared, and 50 Cent was defeated—without Jay having to lift a finger.

While it's unclear how Kanye (and Jay) came to the decision to release Graduation exactly five years ago today, it's pretty easy to speculate that 50 and Jay's cold war was a prime motivator behind the biggest rap marketing circus this side of pretending Detox will ever come out.

In the run-up to September 11, 2007, Kanye and 50 Cent went on a media blitz challenging each other to see who would sell the most records. In August, 50 swore he'd retire if he couldn't sell more records than Kanye West during their albums' first week of release, although he later told the Voice he was sick of being asked about Kanye. Perhaps he felt the storm clouds brewing, because when the figures came in, Kanye's album had sold 957,000 copies while Curtis's Curtis sold a respectable-yet-runner-up 691,000.

While it's clear that Graduation was a far superior album, quality hasn't traditionally had much of a determining factor in hip-hop first-week sales. The fact was, Justin Timberlake cameos aside, people were already getting tired of 50's act. The G-Unit head hocho burst on the scene as a man hungry for feuds and negativity: He single-handedly took down Ja Rule for his sing-songy pop act, sold more albums than humanly possible, and was on top of the world. But 50's "beef" gimmick jumped the shark right around 2004, when he started feuds with Fat Joe and Jadakiss because they made songs with Ja Rule, and got into a a feud with Nas because... well, it's still unclear.

50's knack for confrontation and negativity wore thin on fans by the time 2007 rolled around. It didn't help that his albums were declining in quality with each passing year, either. So when the news broke that Kanye had crushed him in their duel, his reaction was cringeworthy: He took to radio stations to plead his case that he'd actually won because of international record sales. He stopped short of bringing pie charts and moneyball statistics to justify his embarrassment, but since then, the musical juggernaut known as 50 Cent ceased to exist, his career turning into one calamity after another.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
28 comments
EakaErick
EakaErick

@Deen8 @TrillSmith 50 Cent slander >>>>>

LWKY
LWKY

Do y'all remember what 50 did to Rick Ross?! He even went on to take his kids to Floyd's house and take pictures with them. He had his kids saying "G-Unit" and everything. No one wants to give 50 credit for messing with Officer Ricky. Officer Ricky never even responded back and just took it. Only thing Ricky did was keep it moving. The fact people were over 50 worked in his favor. Trick Ross is a cornball. 50 can make an LL like comeback if the music is dope.

hannahistheone
hannahistheone

revisionist would be putting it kindly. this may mark a new low in rap blogging!

smallpox
smallpox

this is garbage revisionist history. u dont know hip-hop if u don't even know why 50 and nas had problems

beebo
beebo

The Rick Ross moment marked a shift where audacious wanksterism became culturally acceptable. We're still in that moment, see: Drake. But 50 made shitloads of money, as he has let us know all know, from the short-lived gangsta mini-resurgence he started (and ended) with Get Rich. He can wait. That might be his game. Shit hasn't really gotten better for the hood or the trailer park ever since Lehmann Brothers. Stands to reason that eventually the masses might wake up and want off rich kid dick. Then guess what, here comes bad old 50.   

chicorican
chicorican

@Combat_Jack @DavidDTSS I worked at Circuit City that week & the anti-50 movement was real. Ppl wanted Kanye to win & waited to cop 50

Navjosh
Navjosh

@Combat_Jack @DavidDTSS How exactly did 50 "lose" to Ross?

SargeWP
SargeWP

@Combat_Jack @DavidDTSS revisionist history especially the ross part , everyone thought ross was done until bmf dropped in 2010

DavidDTSS
DavidDTSS

@Combat_Jack thanks good sir

Deen8
Deen8

@EakaErick @TrillSmith ALL slander >>>>>

DavidDTSS
DavidDTSS

@Navjosh @Combat_Jack did he win? lol

DavidDTSS
DavidDTSS

@SargeWP @Combat_Jack I never considered Ross done and the fact DTR came out during the whole mess and still did well is indication

Navjosh
Navjosh

@DavidDTSS @Combat_Jack How is 50 always criticized for his beefs but no 1 said a word to Ross for starting something outta no where?

Navjosh
Navjosh

@DavidDTSS @Combat_Jack .. started the beef. It was very convenient for him since 50's buzz had started to decline.

Navjosh
Navjosh

@DavidDTSS @Combat_Jack Everybody wanted 50 to lose in all ways and Ross dropped a couple of street hits. Not to forget, it was Ross who..

SargeWP
SargeWP

@DavidDTSS @Combat_Jack read every major blog from the early 2009 period, they thought he was done. DTR was his lowest selling album

SargeWP
SargeWP

@DavidDTSS yeah.....the smoking section is a household name, and i should instantly recognize the initials, cute.....

MatineeWilly
MatineeWilly

@DavidDTSS crying @ "I Should Have Made It More Obvious"

DavidDTSS
DavidDTSS

yeah, I should make it more obvious RT @SargeWP @DavidDTSS if i'd known you wrote for that hating ass website TSS i'd never have responded

SargeWP
SargeWP

@DavidDTSS if i'd known you wrote for that hating ass website TSS i'd never have responded *shrugs* say hello to "john gotti" and j tinsley

DavidDTSS
DavidDTSS

If I woulda known your whole timeline was G-Unit/50 Cent news I woulda just sat this debate out from jump lol @SargeWP

SargeWP
SargeWP

@DavidDTSS whatever bro public opinion was in 50's favor until ross dropped BMF& teflon don & went on his 1 year "reign". It's over now tho

DavidDTSS
DavidDTSS

And with that, the conversation ends lol RT @SargeWP read every major blog from the early 2009 period they thought he was done.

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...