As fans seemingly wait to see if Kanye West will release his elusive 10th studio album, Donda, on Friday (Aug. 27), they are also wondering if Drake will attempt to play spoiler and crash the party with his own long-awaited project, Certified Lover Boy. Considering the pair’s recent war of words, some are wondering if a head-to-head sales showdown is in order; if it is, it wouldn’t be the first time West was involved in one.
On Sept. 11, 2007, West squared off against New York rap titan 50 Cent for the title of hip-hop alpha dog with their all-important third albums. 50 was coming off two massive-selling releases in 2003’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and 2005’s The Massacre, which both topped the Billboard 200 and featured a slew of Hot 100 hits. Touted as one of hip-hop’s premier gangsta rappers, 50’s street aura and pop hooks helped him topple the competition.
As for West, he emerged as a production whiz-turned-hit making artist, becoming a prominent voice for the internet era with his seminal debut album, 2004’s The College Dropout, and his expansive sophomore effort, 2005’s Late Registration. With the artists’ contrasting styles and commercial powers fueling the fire, the crown was officially up for grabs when West bumped his release date from Sept. 18 to Sept. 11.
As much as fans relished the coveted match-up, so did the media. West and 50 graced the cover of Rolling Stone, held a staredown at the 2007 VMAs days before their release date, and of course, embarked on some fun trash-talking leading up to the releases of Graduation and Curtis.
Ultimately, the showdown resulted in a West win, with Graduation scoring a massive opening-week sales figure and the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. As the album campaigns progressed, West also edged out 50 when it came to Hot 100 singles, and the highest peak from those singles, with “Stronger” edging out “Ayo Technology.”
Take a look at the full stats from the epic 2007 battle below.