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Hip-Hop Summit: Kanye West Vs. 50 Cent

50 Cent and Kanye West talk strategy on the eve of their showdown

Kanye West and 50 Cent at BET Studios in New York.
Brad Barket/Getty Images
September 20, 2007

There's been a lot of talk about your rivalry, but today at the Rolling Stone photo shoot you seem pretty friendly.
50 Cent: It's the competitive nature of hip-hop. We've gotta compete. Kanye West is a talented producer. In fact, I actually stopped by the studio and I heard some of the material he had and I was like, "Wow." He had some joints there.

Kanye West: When 50 said that "Can't Tell Me Nothing" was his favorite joint, we went with it [as the first single].

50: And it worked. I wish I told him another one worked so there wouldn't be so much competition right now.

50 Cent and Kanye West: The Rolling Stone Cover Shoot

So it raises the game for you both.
50: The competitive nature doesn't exist in R&B or other art forms.

KW: Hip-hop is the only sport of music. Rock artists aren't thinking about each other to that extent. And these are like championship moments. People are going for that number-one spot, going for that moment: to be the most important and most talked-about. I call it stadium status. Do we have that copyrighted? That's what my album is: stadium status.

50: Without having conversations with each other, we're still in tune with what each other's doing. You have to be. Hip-hop changes so fast that if you're not paying attention, you'll be left in the dust.

KW: We both had times when people was like, "Yo, fuck 50. Fuck Kanye. We not feelin' that no more," They forget who the real kings of this game were for a second. And that's the reason why this is the most talked-about release date since 50's first album dropped, since Snoop's first album dropped. People gonna remember this date for the rest of their life.

50: That's right. It's impossible for you not to know Kanye West and 50 Cent is out September 11th.

KW: Except for when you kept on telling people that I had moved the date.

50: Yeah, I had to do it. "Yeah, I told you he moved it. He's coming on the 21st." Gotta get a little bit dirty here and there.

This is a story from the September 20th, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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