50 Cent and Kanye West appeared on BET's 106 & Park yesterday, further promoting their retail battle -- their new albums, "Curtis"(Aftermath/Interscope) and "Graduation" (Roc-A-Fella Records/Def Jam) respectively, hit shelves yesterday -- and encouraged fans to either stake their loyalty or support both superstars.

The show kicked off with 50 Cent's performance of "Ayo Technology," from his new album, and continued with the rapper giving away $500 in cash, and later another $1300 to an expressionless female audience member. Despite the fan's indifferent reception, 50 Cent exclaimed, "Kanye can't do that!"

The Queens rapper then sat discussed the rumor that he'd torn up his G-Unit office once his latest video, "Follow My Lead" featuring Robin Thicke, leaked several weeks ago. "I was pissed," said 50. He closed his segment with his hit, "I Get Money" supported by rapper, Tony Yayo.

West began his segment by performing two cuts from "Graduation," "Champion" and "Can't Tell Me Nothing," during which he held a female fan's hand causing her to cry and go into convulsions.

After, West sat for an interview and explained why he was so upset after this year's VMA's. "I snapped for not getting a fair shake," West said of his post VMA outburst. A filmed clip of the rant is currently floating around youtube.com. "It was always my dream to open the show with "Stronger"...I already hate that I ain't win no awards, so when I saw Justin [Timberlake] backstage, I said 'where you going?' He said 'to perform on the main stage.' That's when I said give a black man a chance."

And after West closed his set with "Big Brother," an ode to mentor Jay-Z, Def Jam's president joined West on stage for "Encore." "I thought ["Big Brother"] was brilliantly written," said Jay-Z, when asked his opinion.

50 Cent and Kanye West met onstage for the show's finale and encouraged fans to purchase their albums. "I really believe I could sell one million first week...I do it for the people," said West. "My full body of work should speak for itself," said 50 Cent. "I don't care if you steal it, download it, just get it."

The September 11 release of both "Curtis" and "Graduation" has stirred excitement in the music industry and the consumer marketplace. Both 50 Cent, who said he'd stop rapping if West outsells him, and West, who countered that he hoped 50 didn't stop rhyming when "Graduation" outsold "Curtis," have continued the controversy with competitive statements.

Yesterday, retailers told billboard.biz that "Graduation" was outpacing "Curtis" in their early sales. The early numbers were confirmed today when, according to results that will be posted later today on Nielsen SoundScan's new Building Charts feature, first-day sales hit 437,000 for West's "Graduation" and 310,000 for 50 Cent's "Curtis."

50 Cent's last album "The Massacre" sold 1,141,000 in it's first week, while West's last album "Late Registration" sold 860,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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