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 defeatedwithout 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.More »