50 Cent Vs. Kanye West: How A ‘Rolling Stone’ Cover Altered The Career Paths Of Two Hip-Hop Titans

09.11.15 3 years ago 49 Comments
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Eight years ago this week, Rolling Stone released an infamous issue with Kanye and 50 Cent on the cover. When that magazine hit shelves, it changed the course of both artists’ careers, more than they ever could have imagined.

Issue 1034 dropped on Sept. 6, 2007, with a hybrid, double interview pitting upcoming releases from Kanye and 50 against one another – Graduation and Curtis, respectively. Amidst a shifting music industry, the theory was to leverage the competitive nature of hip-hop – the only musical genre where artists literally challenge one another for the top spot – and help generate needed buzz about a business being overrun by iPods.

The two artists spoke on their “feud,” prepping for the piece.

50: “It’s the competitive nature of hip-hop, we gotta compete on some levels.”

Kanye: “Hip-hop is just dropping albums, like there ain’t no competition. When Biggie/Wu Tang, Jay Z and Nas coming out the same time, people were like I want that Raekwon. I wanna have the best joint.”

50: “The competitive nature of this art form doesn’t exist in R&B or in classical music or jazz, they make great music, but it’s not as competitive as hip-hop music. It’s why you get the friction. They say it’s beef, that’s the new terminology for battling.”

Kanye: “I look at it as a sport… This the only sport that people really going for that number one spot… going for that moment to be the most important, most talked about….”