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. Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images

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.