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Kanye West Unveils "Graduation," Badmouths All-Star Hip-Hop Jams

August 29, 2007 2:02 AM ET

Last night Kanye West officially previewed his new album, the excellent Graduation, to a lively, packed house at a midtown Manhattan movie theater across the street from his record label's offices. As usual, Kanye came close to overshadowing his own music: He talked to the crowd at length after the album played, asserting that Graduation is one of the "top ten" hip-hop albums ever and that he's one of the "top five MCs" of all time. When asked what it felt like to be onstage with Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Diddy and T.I. at New York's Screamfest concert last week, Kanye said "it would have felt better to hit the stage with me and Jay like we planned." He also fed the fire for his September 11th record-sales showdown with 50 Cent -- 50's Curtis comes out the same day as Graduation -- claiming that his presales were higher than 50's and that he "had to build it up for Rolling Stone." (Thanks, chief!) West also talked about how one of the new album's songs, the lovely "I Wonder," was inspired by the U2 track "City of Blinding Lights": After seeing Bono and crew perform "Lights" to rapturous crowds when he was opening for them, Kanye told himself, "I want one of those."

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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