Rap Wars

Since Kanye West ("Graduation," Def Jam) and 50 Cent ("Curtis," G-Unit/Interscope) both confirmed a Sept. 11 release date for their new albums, retailers, rap fans and bloggers have whipped themselves

Since Kanye West ("Graduation," Def Jam) and 50 Cent ("Curtis," G-Unit/Interscope) both confirmed a Sept. 11 release date for their new albums, retailers, rap fans and bloggers have whipped themselves into a frenzy over who'll sell more units. And the battle was pure.

50 recently told Sohh.com that if West outsells him, he'll quit the rap game. West answered sarcastically that he really likes 50's music and would hate for him to stop rhyming once "Graduation" sells more than "Curtis." The two men have also sat for a joint Rolling Stone cover story and will appear together on BET on street date.

"Curtis," which is the follow-up to 2005's "The Massacre," features production from Dr. Dre, Eminem and Timbaland, plus guest turns by Eminem, Akon, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls. Several pre-release singles from the album, including "Straight to the Bank" and "Amusement Park," have failed to achieve major chart numbers.

West, on the other hand, already has a No. 2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with the Daft Punk-sampling "Stronger." "You can't control if people are going to buy your music. At the end of the day you have to keep challenging yourself," says Def Jam president Jay-Z. "He has zero problem with that. He is never complacent. We mixed 'Stronger,' I'm not even joking with you, 17 times. He could not get the bass drum exactly the way he wanted it."