10 Music Publicity Stunts Gone Wrong

Madonna's 'Sex'-capade, Garth Brooks' weird alter ego and other artist ploys that didn't go off as planned

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50 Cent Pledges, Fails to Outsell Kanye West (2007)
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50 Cent Pledges, Fails to Outsell Kanye West (2007)

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson had everything to lose, and little to gain, by pitting himself against up-and-comer Kanye West in a fabricated feud in 2007. The showdown hinged on which artist would sell more copies of their latest album: Curtis or Graduation. It inspired a Rolling Stone cover story that year, with 50 even pledging to cease his solo career should he lose. He did lose, and big: Graduation beat out Curtis to the tune of more than a quarter of a million units. Curtis still performed well overall, due partly to the stunt, but the loss was a resounding blow to 50's eminence. It also dramatically illustrated that Yeezy was on the ascendant. From there on out, 50 slowed down and settled into the role of elder statesman rather than that of the fresh, young hotshot.

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