When 50 Cent said he'd quit music if Kanye West sold more albums than him this week, you may have unwittingly misconstrued 50 Cent as saying that he'd quit music if Kanye West sold more albums than him this week.
Clearly, though, that isn't the case – 50 Cent didn't mean that he'd actually quit music, or forever, or if Kanye West sold more albums than him this week. Because now, possibly because copies of Kanye West's Graduation album are massively outselling copies of 50 Cent's Curtis, 50 Cent has only decided that he'll quit music if sales of Kanye West's album don't drop by 70% next week, and only so long as 'quit music' means 'release at least one more album after this one'. And good for 50 Cent – we don't want him to quit music either. That's because less 50 Cent albums obviously means more 50 Cent movies, and that alone is why we're currently writing this next to three wheelbarrows brimming with unopened copies of Curtis.
In the history of rap feuds – be it Tupac Vs Biggie or Jay-Z Vs Nas or Snoop Dogg Vs the UK or Diddy Vs flame-assed jive turkeys or Suge Knight Vs his own legs – no rapper has ever said that they'll quit music forever if they don't win. That's because they understood that this sort of thing polarises people into those who like you, those who hate you and those who don't care but they'll buy a copy of Kanye West's album if it means you'll quit music because they think it's funny. And very often, as 50 Cent is discovering, those last two groups outnumber the first one.
By now you know that this week saw 50 Cent releasing his Curtis album in direct competition with Kanye West's Graduation album. That alone would have boosted sales for both albums, but 50 Cent wanted to take it further – he wanted to have a debate with Kanye West about who is better at rapping and stuff. And then 50 Cent took it just that little bit too far – he said that he'd quit music if Kanye West outsold him. Here's the money quote:
"If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on Sept. 11, I'll no longer write music. I'll write music and work with my other artists, but I won't put out any more solo albums."
Now – possibly because he misjudged Kanye West's ascendant popularity compared to his own career freefall, or maybe because Kanye West throwing at tantrum at MTV helped boost his sales, or maybe even because people don't like 50 Cent and want to see him fail – the inevitable has happened. Kanye West is outselling 50 Cent. And that means that 50 Cent will now have to quit music, right? Not quite, because 50 Cent has just slung out a bunch more desperate provisos, as the Los Angeles Times reports:
Even with his future solo output seeming to hang in the balance, little attention has been paid to 50's opt-out clause — his promise to quit only if certain terms and conditions are met. "And I bet this, when Kanye West's sales come in, he's gonna have a 70% decrease [the second week] 'cause Def Jam is gonna buy records to keep him closer to 50 Cent," he continued. "So watch the first week and then watch the second week. Watch his [expletive] drop off the planet. We keep our angles covered before we make a decent bet." In a conversation with The Times, the rapper confirmed that a steep second-week sales drop for "Graduation" is a central part of his challenge.
So 50 Cent thinks that Kanye West's record label is rushing around buying up copies of Graduation just to make 50 Cent quit? Fair enough. But even though chart manipulation on that scale is almost impossible to achieve, 50 Cent is convinced that Kanye West's album sales will drop by 70% next week. Congratulations Fiddy, you've just made sure that everyone who already owns a copy of Graduation will go and buy another copy next week just to make sure you go away forever.
And anyway, even if Kanye West's sales go up next week it doesn't mean that 50 Cent will actually quit music immediately – he's already recorded the follow-up to Curtis and that'll be released at some point in the future too. It was apparently set to be called Before I Self Destruct, by the way, but now there's a chance that 50 Cent will rename it to After I Self Destructed Then Made Up A Bunch Of Lame Conditions And Then Self Destructed Anyway And Started Drinking A Tin Can Of Rain Water For My Dinner.