Kanye West
Harder Than You Think

kanye-1.jpg
That’s the invisible marketing pump for 2007’s fight of the year. In one corner, weighing in at 21 million worldwide sales, hailing from Southside, Queens—the man you love to see hated—50 Cent. Diametrically across the ring, weighing in at six Grammys (including Rap Album of the Year for each of his two previous LPs), representing the South Side of Chicago—the man you hate to love—Kanye West.

The contest will begin on the historically heavy date of Sept. 11, concluding eight days later, Sept. 19, when the victor will be crowned the top-selling recording artist in America.

Styles make fights. While 50’s robe reads, Give me riches or give me death, Kanye focuses on something more coveted than currency in certain circles: acknowledgment. He named his record company G.O.O.D. Music. You can imagine the flowing script stitched on terry cloth: I’m God with an extra O.

See, ’Ye isn’t just battling to win over the average rap fan. He’s fighting for hip-hop’s rights—rights to have options in a genre that’s lulling itself to sleep with formula. In fact, Kanye thinks many of those likely to buy his album don’t really want to be his fans. They simply don’t have many options. Released as it was in the gangsta saturated climate of 2005—alongside the likes of Young Jeezy, The Game and that 50 guy—Kanye’s last album, the XXL-rated Late Registration, was a choice that wasn’t even a choice for 2.8 million consumers thirsting for a different perspective.

Unfortunately, that alternative perspective—even as it expresses itself in something as superficial as fashion sense—tips certain scales against him. That hardcore rap fan base the G-Unit general reps so thoroughly lashes back at ’Ye for replacing oversized baseball caps, T-shirts and pistols with snug-fitting pastel-shaded knits, Christian Dior jeans and venetian blinds–style eyewear. To them, the Louis Vuitton Don is simply too “gay.” And gay isn’t hip-hop. (In a recent interview with QD3.com that circulated on the Internet, Kanye’s own Roc-A-Fella Records stable mate Beanie Sigel turned on him, saying, “You might as well come all the way out the closet, homeboy.”)

So Kanye’s ready to rumble. This past spring, against his label’s protests, he leaked the irresistible and appropriately titled “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”—potent, confessional braggadocio deliberately delivered over DJ Toomp’s cathedral keys. In the summer, he followed with “Stronger”—techno-tinged hip-hop futurism accentuated by a Japanimation-inspired sci-fi video. By August, his third full-length work, Graduation, stood as iTunes’ most preordered album.

On a gorgeous August night, inside Los Angeles’ Chalice Studios, with less than a week to turn the final, mastered product into label brass, Kanye is hard at work. Somehow, though, he manages to sway his attention away from editing his next single, “Good Life”—a celebratory gem featuring a nibble of M.J.’s “P.Y.T.,” vocoderist of the moment T-Pain and, as if irony struck the lotto, a borrowed lyric from 50 Cent—to talk to XXL. Openly, honestly, at times excessively, he discusses going head-to-head with 50, which rappers are better than him, being called gay, the engagement to his longtime girlfriend (fashion designer Alexis Phifer), and why he thinks he has the hardest job in hip-hop. Consider this Kanye’s prefight trip to the podium. The G.O.O.D. guy’s about to weigh in.

With The College Dropout, you had to prove yourself. On Late Registration, you were solidifying your spot among the upper echelon of contemporary artists. What statement did you set out to make with Graduation?
I set out to make songs, first and foremost, that work in a stadium. Every song I pick is a career choice for me, because I’m gonna have to perform this song for the rest of my life. So I wanted songs that could tear down stadiums. Like, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is anthemic. The chorus is equal to a rock chorus, like it could’ve been a Black Sabbath record or something. I randomly threw that out, like I listen to Black Sabbath. [Laughs] But from what I know about it, it sounds like they could use that melody: [sings] Laaa, la la la…

Do you use the fear of failing as fuel for your creativity?
Definitely. I feel like a lot of people dropped albums this year like people were gonna ride with them regardless. It’s like when somebody spends money on some bullshit. You can tell they had extra money in their account. People who don’t have a lot of money may be some of the freshest people, because they know they need to do this specifically. I felt like I was in a position, musically, where I didn’t have money to waste. So I was like, Bam! “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” Or “Throw Some D’s (Remix).” I really feel like niggas be like, “We don’t wanna fuck with you.” So I made music that way. I make albums like people wanna turn on me at any given chance, and I gotta make it so that they can’t.

kanye-2.jpgWho are the five best MCs today?
I think the hottest rappers in the game right now are Wayne, T.I., then me. I feel like Fab is definitely in the top five. Then I’ma put Jeezy. I said Andre 3000 before, but Jeezy definitely has more presence right now.

It’s interesting that your top five includes a rapper like Jeezy, who not only isn’t a lyrical rapper, but doesn’t care about being one. Everybody else on your list, yourself included, clearly takes pride in lyrics.
Well, I say my music is inspirational and his music is motivational. People are inspired when they hear me, while he’s more of a motivator. We have different techniques, but both have voices that can move people. That’s a necessity to being one of the hottest MCs.

You put Lil Wayne at No. 1. Do you consider him your stiffest competition?
Yeah. But I have to bow to Wayne, because I have to put in so much more work to make raps that’s on that caliber. He’s doin’ that shit like this [snaps fingers]. I wouldn’t doubt that, if all I did was rap, I could be on that caliber, but the body of work is overwhelming. My favorite Jay story is, we were in the studio doin’ “Heart of the City,” and the “Fiesta” video with him and R. Kelly came on. He walks over to the booth, puts the headphones on, starts rapping, does the first verse, second verse—“Take ’em to church…”—third verse, takes the headphones off, walks out of the booth, and the video was still playing. That was like one of the most amazing things. So Wayne records at a higher volume than everybody, but then it’s the type of killer punch lines… Like, I had the “Devil wears Prada” line a month before I recorded “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” So I wonder if he’s walking around with all of these lines in his head. Wayne baffles me.

Lil Wayne is the only other MC appearing on Graduation. It’s been said that you could possibly executive produce his next album, Tha Carter 3. Will you?
I definitely want to. I’ma just do enough songs where if it’s like six or seven beats, then I think I would deserve that title. But if I’m too busy, then I wouldn’t deserve it. I’m almost finished with my album, so I think I really can go in and get more work done. Plus, I got some official joints that didn’t make [Graduation] that I think might fit Wayne better.

On Sept. 19, SoundScan’s sales numbers for the Sept. 11 releases will be announced. How badly do you wanna be No. 1 against Curtis?
I never cared about being No. 1. Never cared about having the No. 1 record on Billboard or anything like that. As many raps as I’ve written, and as much shit as I talk, have I ever mentioned that I sold 850,000 copies of Late Registration the first week? I never mentioned that, because—I appreciate the fans going out and buying, I would hope to sell a million the first week—but my whole thing is not about the numbers, but more [about] people saying, “That song ‘Roses’ really helped me out when my grandma died.” So even if “Stronger” can’t move past Sean Kingston [on radio-play charts], it doesn’t matter, because in five years it will be important to people… When [J-Kwon’s] “Tipsy” was out, I couldn’t compete with that record’s spins, but now it’s not gonna show up against “Through the Wire,” because “Through the Wire” connected with the people… I can name so many albums that were No. 1 this year, but once people found out that me and 50’s records were coming out on the same date, it doesn’t matter how much they sold—they don’t compare to the energy that me and 50 are getting.

——- Read the rest of our Kanye West feature in XXL’s October 2007 issue (#96)
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  • Calibud

    “50 told me go ‘head switch the style up, and if they hate then let em hate and watch the money pile up.”

  • G-UNIT SOLDIER

    His nice to see that he accepted the fact that 50 will crush him come sept. 19th

  • http://www.reggaetonpesao.com Hoodlife

    1st Ye is man

  • UK’S FINEST

    FIRST BTICHES!!!!

    FYI: Jeezy is a nobody!

  • Kanye is a Joke!!!!

    Top 5 Mc’s Alive

    1. Eminem
    2. Nas
    3. Jay Z
    4. Andre 3000
    5. Ludacris/Snoop/Obie???

    For all y’all who be praising lil wayne saying he’s the best thats a joke. I’ll admit he had some hot songs, verses and mix tapes recently and he elevated his rhymes but he can never compare to those guys on top lyrically. Lil wayne got punchlines and metaphors but he cant flow or make a good song. The best song from him is “hustler musik”, when he can bring out a classic album and sell real records then he can swim with the sharks but until then he better stay with the fishes!!! Any of those niggas on top would chew him up and spit him out!!!

  • CURTIS / GRADUATION

    I’ve heard both , 50′s album is harder but i maybe think Kanye’s album is better…50 got a better flow , but Kanye’s beats and all that makes it better anyway …

    I Hope Graduation sells more than Curtis ! :-)

  • Danny D

    kanye and fif are the present and the future…..whoeva outsells….as long as we got a lot of good music.

  • Vince

    Are u serious? KAnye is a joke??? i suggest u buy the CD or download it off limewire or somethin, its a work of art, unlike somethin ive never heard before….

    Lets go through your top 5
    1. LOL you must be white, all em does is yell about his baby momma, LOL, hes not #1 or not even top 5, i dont even know his last album name
    2. Hip Hop isnt dead, but he tried to kill it with his last album
    3. Was on life support, then Ye brought him (and the roc) back with all the beats
    4. Great lyrics, although i like big boi better
    5. you couldnt evn finish a your top 5

  • fuck that

    game should be in there dont get me wrong i like jeezy but him being compared to the game thats insane he is one of the best if not the best

    top 5 mc (not rappers)

    the game
    jay-z
    andre 3000
    nas
    rakim

    and come man please stop saying lil wayne is the best i anit hating but he had some hot tracks but he aint the best

  • GRADUATION

    GRADUATION ALL THE WAY IM COPPIN IT TODAY!!!

  • Dan99

    Kanye got a better album than Curtis. I think that it’s bullshit when kanye said he dosn’t care if he’s not number 1. He’d throw a tamper if he didn’t win a grammy.

  • Rockcity

    Top best MC’s alive. . . Not n order

    1.Nas
    2.Rakim
    3.Jay-z
    4. EM
    5. Andre 3000

    Kno dat

    Neway,any real artist doesnt give a fuck about record sales. 50 is gonna do whatever he got to do to sell where as Kanye doesn’t give a fuck, it’s funny how a nigga like ye is bringin out the bitch n 50. Too bad im not gettin either copy today, maybe next week or next month, fuck feedin a millionaire.

  • Rich Arte

    get my fuckin pool in the back

    I had to.

  • og bobby j

    FUCK THAT

    you serious…The Game?? Butterfly game?

    Tongue ring game?

    You must bge from Cali….holdin on to the only mainstream west coast artist….he is average at best. Shit, i could have rapped over the beats on the documentary and it would have been hot….he is mediocre at best

    TOP 10 MC”S ALIVE
    Lyrically
    1. papoose
    2. cassidy
    3. eminem
    4. andre 3000
    5. jay z
    6. nas
    7. lox…all 3
    8. redman
    VINCE SAYS:
    LOL you must be white, all em does is yell about his baby momma, LOL, hes not #1 or not even top 5, i dont even know his last album name

    ——-
    White or black….admit that em would lyrically destroy your favorite rapper…which i can only image is kanye or lil gay.

  • Don’t Matter

    Yo black people don’t listen to Kanye West. I’m so fucked up how many people think he’s a lyricist he’s trash. Yall the same one that will be try’na tell me Canibus shit be to hard to understand. Anyway nobody in any hood say yo you heard that new Kanye joint. I know why he put Wayne #1 because gay people gotta stick together. Top five right now
    1. Em
    2. 50
    3. GDK
    4. Jay Z
    5. TI
    Yeah and GDK is Gillie Da Kid, he assassinated Wayne twice after Wayne threw that bullshit shots at him

  • http://www.myspace.com/krazy_sexxxy_kool king_of_gq

    who iz on the new cover of KING MAG …any body know

  • Fire

    Nas is the best rapper alive! People that hate on Nas must not be that intelligent or must not like smart rhymes. Lil Wayne is not the best rapper alive, but he has some damn good punchlines and makes a lot of good songs. Graduation is far better than Curtis. Kanye’s not the best lyricist, but he is a good lyricist. Oh, and Gillie Da Kid is a crab who sucks.

  • aaronedge

    this dude just put gillie da kid over jay-z………………………………………………………….hahahahahahaha

  • LP

    Anyone who put 50 or Game in there top 5 is outta there damn mind. I wish either one of those two would go up against any of the following, they would get absolutely mercked.

    Jay
    Nas
    Andre 3000
    Em
    Rakim

  • bottom boi g

    Dont matter is the perfect name for you cuz you really dont matter. This nigga put gillie da fuckin squid in his top 5. WTF so you tell me GDK is better than Jay-z or 3000 nigga get the fucl outta here dont listen to hiphop ever again your card is revoked.

  • KANYE IS A JOKE!!!!

    Yall niggas is racist man, I’m Black and I say Em is the SHIT, Tiger woods is Black and he run shit in GOlf!! So what Eminem is white, no one is better SHIT!!!!! Nas is good but come on can he see eminem??? Yea Eminem fell off from 8 Mile but who else write mind blowing amazing shit like him? NO FUCKING BODY!!! If Nas wud stop rappin about president Mugambi and Hyrogrifics and shit maybe he would connect more with the hood!!! He came back saying hip hop is dead and look at the shit he comes out with lol If hip hop was dead he bury that shit!!!

  • Freddy(Vega$)

    All I know is that its a great day for hip hop and everyone in the hop hop community should be happy that they can go out and know that they are purchasing some great music!!! Big Ups to both them niggaz!!!!!

  • fuck that

    og bobby j naw man im from ATL i like your list too of your rappers my thing is i dont care if he had butterfly and all that i didnt even like his how we do i like his shit like scream on em one noght ol english i dont need your love i like that raw shit cuz i can relate to that my nigga

    i like cassidy’s flow

    redman is and meth together is like candy

    papoose is one og the best from the east him and
    saigon cuzz they be spittin that real shit

  • dockevoc

    top
    1. Scarface
    2. Ghostface
    3. Slick Rick
    4. Rakim
    5. Eminem
    6. Andre 3000
    7. Redman
    8. Devin the Dude
    9. Nas
    10. Gza

  • dockevoc

    top 10 rappers alive

    1. Scarface
    2. Ghostface
    3. Slick Rick
    4. Rakim
    5. Eminem
    6. Andre 3000
    7. Redman
    8. Devin the Dude
    9. Nas
    10. Gza

  • fuck that

    OG BOBBY J
    naw man im from the south i like your list of mc some real mc on their.. thing is i dont care if he had a butterfly on his face i like some of his shit he is the best when he is spittin that raw shit like scream on em one night ol english and shit like that i don’t like how we do or wouldnt get far i like that raw shit because that is something i can relate to

    i love papoose shit he spit that raw shit
    saigon to best some of the best new york artist’s

    redman is fire

    the lox hasent put fire out in a minute but when they do i’m sure it’s gonna be sick

  • http://yahoo DC Rice

    Top 5;
    Jay
    Nas
    Scarface
    Em
    3000

  • http://www.skavenger.com luc

    50 is gonna fall harder than the towers did today he’s done. Graduation is sick!

  • http://www.skavenger.com luc

    50 is gonna fall harder than the towers did today he’s done. Graduation is sick!

  • J2thex

    1. Ja Rule
    2. The Game
    3. Lil Wayne
    4. Snoop Dogg
    5. T.I.

    ************************

    Haters, Waitin’ on your reply ’bout Ja… He’ll make a comeback with The Mirror…

  • Og Bobby J

    @ Fire,
    Hey man…I can respect that…to each his own…I actually like both game albums but on a lyrical level…I dont think he is seein anyones top 10. For example…I personally think his 300 bars shit was weak as fuck, yet he gets madd praise for it.

    But its all good….I just wish he would stop mention 50, dre and a khaki suite everytime he raps…..

    oh yea….sheek louch, the more I listen, I think he just might be the best of all 3…..what u think?

  • Youngz

    Why are u fuckers hating on Eminem????
    He´s last album sucked-I agree, but his first 3 made him a legend and HE´S THE BIGGEST SELLING RAPARTIST OF ALL TIME before 2pac…
    1.2pac
    2. Biggie
    3. Jay-Z
    4. Eminem
    5.Scarface

    Nuff said!!!!!!!

  • fuck that

    for sure sheek louch is great but my man went underground

    walk witt me classic

    yeah the game is really pulling bitch moves dissing 50 we all know he had issues with fiddy but you dont have to dis the man all the time

    300 bars was a bit wack

    i like cham to

  • Louis Vuitton Don

    Who The FUCK is 50 Cent. Fuck Fifty.

  • og bobby j

    walk wit me is a classic…nice to see someone else who thought so…burned madd els to that shit!

    Cham is aight….he can spit but i hope he dont start going soft.

    u kno who else is fire….termanology …u fuckin wit dat?

    if not..youtube his watch how it go down track….all his hood politic tapes are fire

  • http://xxlmag.com Albert

    lil wayne is so fucken over-rated. it pisses me off. thats the reason i dont like him. some of his music is good but he just annoys me. i cant think of no order but fucken RAKIM got crazy rhymes. EMINEM duz 2. snoop dogg has sum good lyrics, but i think ppl just luv him cuz hes kool, i dont think he really tries sum of the time tho. hes fucken awesome. IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE is fucken crazy bro. THE HEIROGLYPHICS 2, even tho they split up as a group, but even seperately they’re crazy. CASUAL-”we mean mug popo they only got glocs” lol.

  • Westside Impala

    Kanye deserves an applause for realizing it was going to take a page from the book of 50 Cent to sell records in today’s climate. We’ve watched over and over how 50 pulls out all the stops to create controversy that will get the media to throw his name everywhere everytime he has an album coming out. First it was Ja, then Game. Then him and ‘Ye come up with this genius plan, and there you have it – the answer to an audience that doesn’t buy records anymore. Matter of fact, they took the whole downloading factor out – who’s asking, “Who are you gonna download?”. Nope – just get to Best Buy and drop some money. On who? Who cares. Everybody wins.

  • fuck that

    i love walk wit me

    im feeling this dudes flow termanology

    cham lets hope he don’t go soft

    OG BOBBY J
    the best songs to get high to is any redman album i get high just listning to that shit ..
    and styles p record good times

    u should check my dude immortal technique he is raw any of he tracks

    and check omar cruz out too
    he got some hot shit to

  • Jep

    GUNIT – GAY UNIT 50 went soft after Get Rich or Die Tryin everything is all about money and bullshit shit that everyone else raps about 50 was good then wack then descent. hes back on track but still Ye is the truth.

  • DTRIP

    J2THEX…are you out of your retarded ass??…that was the worst lineup I’ve ever fuckin seen!!…shit…i bet your top 20 include Dem Franchize Boys and The Shop Boys…Goddam…come on hip hop..don’t die on the count of people like this fuckin idiot…Joel Ortiz, Papoose, SOMEBODY…PLEASE HELP

  • DTRIP

    J2THEX…are you out of your retarded ass??…that was the worst lineup I’ve ever fuckin seen!!…shit…i bet your top 20 include Dem Franchize Boys and The Shop Boys…Goddam…come on hip hop..don’t die on the count of people like this fuckin idiot…The Game has had TWO CD’s…get off his nutz….Wayne has had ONE good one (The Carter)…T.I. is popular but nothing special…Snoop is the only TRULY artist you could even make the argument about and still not a good one at that…Joel Ortiz, Papoose, SOMEBODY…ANYBODY…PLEASE HELP AND STOP THE BLEEDING…on some real shit!!!

  • fuck that

    never heard og termanology before but i’m feeling his flow

    the best joint’s to high is any redman album i get high just listning to that nigga and styles p good times

    you fukin with IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE listing to caught in a hustle or dancing with the devil he is raw

  • gnixs

    I like KanYe and I hope he outsells 50, but I can’t f’n stand him saying Wayne (Nas with a 5th grade education) is the best. He’s overrated, and most people know this. KanYe outflowed him on Barry Bonds too.

    Oh yeah, where are the members of N.W.A in your top 5. They made all that gangsta stuff (50, Game, Em, etc.)in rap cool. Plus they were first to say F The Police!

    “I’m still Cole like I’m Keisha’s family”-Lil Wayne
    —–um.. don’t you mean c.o.l.d??

    also, whenever you say Nas doesn’t connect with the hood, but Em is #1 in your top 5, you probably just should shut up. If can relate to a fake ass white boy who mocks your culture and makes money off of it, but you can’t relate to a well read black man, that says something about you!! Em fell off for real!! He was good once, but I still don’t understand what happened .As you get older, shouldn’t your vocabulary increase?? Yeah, I thought so too.

    I will say that the Game has improved his lyrics with that Murder Game Chronicles mixtape. Next album will be XXL.

  • http://xxlmag.com Phantom

    Enough with the bullshit, here’s the top 5 of all time:
    Rakim
    KRS one
    Biggie
    Nas
    Jay
    As far as 50 and Kanye go, any blind man can see that Graduation will murder Curtis. Truth is truth, 50 has given us some real bangers but Kanye is giving us real misic-that’s the difference between hip hop and rap. 50 used to be a killa but now he’s just a Ja Rule upgrade. You cannot deny that Kanye is giving music with substance. All that killing and gettin high bullshit is over; REAL HIP HOP IS COMING BACK!

  • http://www.myspace.com/najib4 N-GAGE

    ok you go in and buy 50′s album and if you buy kanye’s album ppl are gonna laugh at you and call you a gay white boy and then fuck you up.ok another motherfucka sais that ja is n.1 ja is #10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 and thats better than he wishes and game gay he dis jay and apologize the next day.50 CENT IS THA BEST PPL JUST HATE CUZ THEY JEALOUS OF HIM!!!!!G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-UNIT!!CURTIS COP IT I COPED 3

  • az$$rugerman

    Who gives a shit on what both these artists sell, IT AINT LIKE IT’S GOIN IN YOUR damn BANK ACCOUNT B!!! so shut the fuck up and quit crying you little tight pussies..
    and sum of those ARTIST lists are embarassing…
    TOP ten ALIVE for them real G’S:
    1. Rakim
    2. Nas
    3. Hova
    4. Kool G Rap
    5. Rass Kass
    6. Cormega
    7. Andre 3000
    8. Scarface
    9. The GAME
    10. Papoose

  • mrLex

    Top 5 MC’s:

    1) Rakim
    2) Nas
    3) Gza
    4) Andre 3000
    5) Eminem

  • sept 11

    i got the GRADUATION cd today and its way better than i expected…..wow i am kayne west fan now….hope kayne wins!!!

  • MURRAY

    Top 5 MCs in no order has to be Lupe, Common, Phonte (Little Brother), Papoose, Nas.
    And please somebody tell me how lil Wayne just climbed to the top of list. He and Juelz are the most overrated rappers ever! This dude is average at best. His flow and punchlines are always incomplete.

  • CHICAGORILLA

    Ahhh…where do I start?? Ok, I respect 50′s hustle, but he’s not fuckin wit Kanye on this album sales business. ‘Ye’s shit is 69 times better than 50 album, hands down!! In every aspect too, lyrical, production, originality…its that G.O.O.D shit…wit and extra ‘O’!

  • Phantom

    tight lil pussies…come down to new orleans and talk that shit

  • Vicious Seiger

    I guess everybody’s entitled to their opinions on the top 5 today (not ever or alive – just today). The constant rave reviews for lil wayne has become a little passe. I like wayne but when everybody says the same thing like they don’t have a real opinion of their own it gets old. I really don’t agree with kanye’s picks (and some of the others bloggers picks to boot) but it would have been nice to hear some wildcards or rookies instead of the usual suspects. I especially expected something like this from kanye. The whole kanye vs 50 thing is getting real old it’s a non subject not really worth discussing – it’s a great marketing move on the parts of def jam and interscope but I really, really, really don’t care who outsells who. Why? Because at the end of the day when I open my mailbox GUESS WHAT?! I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE A DIME OFF EITHER RELEASE. 50 and kanye aren’t mailing me any money so why are half of these lame f*cks on this blog crying about “I hope kanye beats 50!” or “You know 50′s gonna bury kanye!” Who the hell really cares except numb skulls under 25 who think this is the most pressing issues facing America today? If I have to hear or read just one more person’s passionate emotional testimony on either of the two – I gonna lose all hope on this next generation. Find something else to pour that energy and passion into.

    PS – I bought both albums:
    Kanye’s was not his best work (esp. in comparison to his previous masterpiece LATE REGISTRATION or even COLLEGE DROPOUT) Decent but far, far from classic.
    50′s was as expected, no curve balls, no incredible cameos just another Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Just more MTV friendly than BET.
    Neither was quite a let down but neither was a rock solid release.

  • http://xxlmag Half-toN

    haha the only way 50 will outsell kayne is if he buys 1 million of his own recoreds(which hes probly gonna do)

  • Kid Wave

    Hip Hop Is Dead was the best album of 2006…

  • TAKE NOTES

    Nobody is fuckin with God’s Son…Nas. And that’s real talk.

    My top 5 alive…
    Nas
    Jay-Z
    Lupe
    Andre 3000
    Jadakiss

    Yeah I left Rakim off this list cause he may have inspired everyone in Hip Hop today, but he’s no longer relevant and he’s just not that good anymore, but he is a legend. Jadakiss is a motherfuckin menace on the mic…
    Oh and I think Game, Ghostface and Kanye are all about 6, 7 and 8. People like Ice Cube and other Wu Tang niggas like Raekwon just ain’t got it anymore…Eminem is garbage. He sucked on 50′s album, on T.I.’s, on his own, I even think Jay shitted on him on Renegade,ya’ll people are crazy. Oh, and I would put Wayne somewhere like 15 or 16 in the game TODAY cause he has some good punchlines and is the hardest working rapper in the game today, but that don’t make him good…

  • complete package

    it’s seems there’s only a few people on here who even knows what an mc is, j2 youre definetly not one. em’s talented just like alot of other rappers, wayne and jeezy definetly not.dokevoc i like your list got to throw in there biggie, big l, big pun, method,raek, early kurupt, mos etc.

  • FUCK KANYE WEST!!!!!!!!!!!! HE IS THE BIGGEST BITCH EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALL KANYE DOES IS STELLS OTHERS MUSIC AND TAKES ALL THE CREDIT!!!!! FUCK KANYE WEST!!!!!!! TALENTLESS LITTLE BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    FUCK KANYE WEST!! AND FUCK LIL WAYNE TOO!!!! TWO FUCKING BITCHES WHO DESERVE NOTHING FROM REAL HIP-HOP FANS. THEY ARE NOTHING BUT AN EMBARESSMENT TO HIP-HOP/RAP. HIP-HOP IS DEAD BUT ONLY BECOUSE OF THOSE WHO SUPPORT LITTLE PIECES OF SHIT LIKE LIL WAYNE AND KANYE’S LITTLE PUSSY. NIETHER OF THEM HAVE TALENT, ALL THEY HAVE IS SHIT!!!!!!!!!

  • http://xxlmag.com NORTH MEMPHIS FLYBOY FRESH

    HEY YALL BETTER STOP SLEEPIN ON YE HE JUST BEIN HUMBLE BOUT WAYNE BUT THA BOY A BEAST AND I PUT MY STAMP OF APPROVAL ON THAT WAYNE SAY SHIT WIT PUNCHLINES DAMN THA MANE A FOOL WIT AND YE SPIT SHIT WHERE YOU BE LIKE WAT THA FUCK REWIND LET ME HEAR THAT AGAIN IM LOVE MUSIK AND I CAN TELL U WZUP CUZ ITS IN MY SWAGGER WAIT TILL I GET MY MONEY RITE THEN CANT TELL THA NORTH MEMPHIS NIGGA NUTHIN IM GONE LIKE DRO 1

  • http://thebeatniks.blogspot.com Seattle F*CKING Slim

    Wow for once an interview where he wasn’t on too much bullshit. Umm I wouldn’t put him nor T.I. in the top 5 rappers. I keep my shit real.

    1) Tupac
    2)Biggie
    3)Nas
    4)Jay-Z
    5)Wu-Tang Clan (as a collective AND solo) BITCHES!!! LOL

  • j-o-e

    top 21 mc’s all time nuff said
    21-snoop
    20-rakim
    19-missy elliott
    18-b real of cypress hill
    17-the game
    16-lil wayne
    15-ludacris
    14-DMX
    13-big boi
    12-andre 3000
    11-common
    10-mike d Beasties
    9-method man
    8-eminem
    7-ice cube
    6-ll cool j
    5-krs 1
    4–jay z
    3–scarface
    2–biggie
    1–pac

  • http://students.polytechnic.edu.na DJ-WEST

    man every body thinks 50 is going to ssell, well think again 50 supporters, coz you gays are going to be supprised when kanye sell half a mill in the first 2 days, coz so far kanye west’s singles are hot compared to 50′s first two releases. consider that and u’ll know wht im ealking about. pees

  • Ali

    wow….i seen sum1 put snoop in tha top 5…r u tryna be funny? honestly lol…here it is 4 real

    top 5 of all time

    1. Rakim
    2. 2pac
    3. NaS
    4. Jay-Z
    5. Common

  • Me

    Alot of yall on here be just sayin shit to get a response… everybody on here know em is nice… if he was from yo hood youd be sackin him. and everybody sayin wayne aint shit but your favorite rapper is givin him props!!! So who the fuck are yall.

    Both 50 and Ye got halfway decent albums. I wouldn’t say go buy them but get them

  • http://www.hoodgrownonline.com hoodgrown

    Yeah.. 50 album is cool.. but Kayne has a better overall sound to his album.

    Cartel
    HOODGROWN MAGAZINE – A Different Kind Of Hip Hop Magazine
    http://www.hoodgrownonline.com

    MyHood
    http://www.hoodgrownrecords.com/myhood
    The Adventures Of An Underfunded Hip Hop Label In It’s Quest To Be Seen And Heard!

    http://www.myspace.com/hoodgrown
    http://www.youtube.com/hoodgrown

  • KANYE IS A JOKE!!!

    Wow…Did someone put T.I. as one of the 5 best rappers alive???? Hommie u needs not to be in here, das if u are a nigga. U may be one of those hoes who think he’s cute or sum shit. I’ll admit TI got a lil swagger going on but he is far from the best alive, trust me. If u know hip hop then u would know who is the best!! Rakim and Jay Z said Eminem is crazy….I think Em is the best alive. He just needs more motivation but here is my list in order.

    1. Eminem (flow, lyrics, style, hooks, sales, swagger)
    2. Jay Z (flow, lyrics, swagger, sales)
    3. Nas (Flow, lyrics)
    4. Rakim (flow, lyrics, style)
    5. Andre 3000 (flow, lyrics, style, sales )

  • Rodjilius

    kanye will do good on his sales dont matter what everybody else thinks dont kno about if its better than 50 but hes real wit it that he doesnt care he always said he never cared but both are good in their own way

  • FrenchyBlaq

    When “XXL-hiphop-on-a-higher-level” asked for the top 5 MC’s he talked ’bout the hottest rappers… Who got it twisted?

    “Who are the five best MCs today?
    I think the hottest rappers in the game right now are Wayne, T.I., then me…”

  • FrenchyBlaq

    The top 5 MC’s? :

    1_Rakim
    2_Murs
    3_Outkast
    4_Common
    5_NaS
    5_NYG’Z

  • nick

    Common is the best rapper in the game, hands down.

  • Hova

    what the fuk is some of them lists u ppl listen to some garbage ass rap
    #1.God Mc Jay Hova best rapper alive
    nas ,rakim ,kool g ,Krs 1.
    best deceased
    2 pac
    Eazy E
    Biggie
    Big L
    Big Pun
    50 got the better album kanyes is some straight ladies night shit go home with that.50 got some hood bangers in there take out the pop shit at least 3 or 4 but the rest is straight.

  • MEMPHIS 10

    2PAC
    BIGGIE
    JAY
    NAS
    SCARFACE

    YALL NIGGAS SLIPPIN ON YE TOO… HE’LL BE THERE SOON.. AS FOR LIL WAYNE…. CASSIDY WILL EAT HIS ASS UP!!!

  • og bobby j

    J-O-E put MISSY ON HIS LIST

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAHHAHAHAHHAAAHAAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHA

  • cjr

    yo DONT MATTER this is for you. tell me where the fuck gille tha kid is at right now. After that publicity stunt does anybody outside of philly know that dude. Wayne still rapping the same and killing it. now I aint goin be ignorant and say wayne is the best in the game but he damn sho in the top five. Hold up, I just scrolled up and saw you got 50 cent and gille da kid in you top five. Nigga you lost you mind. Is gille da kid even in the game. I aint never even seen this nigga album in a store correct me if I’m wrong. And please 50 cent, this nigga put ja out the rap game for singing and now all you see on t.v. is this nigga singing with somebody. dumb ass boi. Get cha head out ya ass.

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  • FrenchyBlaq

    J2thex Says:

    “Haters, Waitin’ on your reply ’bout Ja… He’ll make a comeback with The Mirror…”
    ——————————————

    “The Mirror” is already a flop before it comes out… Ja Rule made history…Nobody did dis before…

  • http://www.myspace.com/lilci33 C3EzY Ef.

    YES,YES,YES!!
    BIG UP 2 XXL 4 the LOVE on my TRUE RAP ARTIST KANYE WEST!!!
    HE THE TRUTH and hes letting it be TOLD!
    4 GET all the haterz!!
    XXL you just keep giving me more reasons to stay subscribed to your magazine!

  • CHI-W

    Kanye makes fresh music. 50′s shoot em’ up, hard rap shtick is gonna get old.

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  • 8-TRACC

    The Top 20 MC’s of all-time are (in no particular order)

    KRS One -He Is trully the Teacher of Hip-Hop
    Chuck D- He was probably the first to bring politics into his Rhymes
    2 Pac- He was my generations Malcolm X
    Biggie- One of the best lyrically
    Jay Z- this man has never wrote down his lyrics
    Nas- He single handidly made people think about the state of hip-hop today. Also if he did’nt say that “Hip-hop is Dead” most of you clowns would have Hurricane Chris or Paul Wall on Your List.
    Ice Cube- He started this gangsta shit
    Snoop- He got all you cats smokin weed
    Big Daddy Kane- Lyrically one of the best
    Outkast- One of the best groups ever
    Big L- The hardest underground rapper ever!
    Eminem- Cant hate the white boy
    LL Cool J- Just because he’s been in the game so long and is still making music
    Guru- He brought the jazz element to the game
    Scarface- The true king of the South and probably the most underappreciated MC Ever!
    RedMan- Some of the best metaphors ever
    Papoose- “Alphabet Slaughter” Nuff Said
    Q Tip- You may disagree with this one, but with out him there would be no Common, Talib,Mos Def or any of the other concious rappers out there
    Brother J from X Clan- Just listen to his lyrics trust me this cat was hard and also he helped brind in revolutionary lyrics.
    Rakim- If he only had harder beats and if He had stuck with Dr Dre producing his beats. He Would probably have the same popularity of Micheal Jackson Or Elvis. He made this list alone for one line alone “I’ll take seven mc’s put em in a line/and take seven more brothas who think they can rhyme/well it’ll take seven more before I go for mine/Now that’s twenty-one mc’s ate up at the same time….true Legend of hip hop.

  • Rekboogie

    Kanye is definately skilled..his album is dope with concepts and real music..50 cent’s album uses that same boring formular..I guess that vitamin money don’t energize beats and lyrics…
    song with beat by Dr.Dre….Weak
    song with Eminem…Weaker
    using leftover songs from last two albums…Dumb
    seeing fifty eatin his wack words inevitable….
    50 could have done a whole lot better..
    I mean his first four singles over the summer was bangin..whut happen fiddy.. don’t worry I heard that sidekick song from Hot Dollar hopefully he can help you get ya swagger back…Hip Hop Bitchez

  • osadummy

    top 5

    1. Wayne
    2. Kanye
    3. Juelz
    4. Andre 300
    5. Common

  • Jus ME

    TOP 5 (alive) no order at all…

    1. Wayne
    2. Kanye
    3. Jay-Z
    4. Em
    5. Andre 3000

    But in XX i do like the fact Ye mentioned Jeezy cus he does motivate a lot of ppl, so he is in the top 10.

  • Westonmaback

    Man fuck u loosers

    1. The Game Chuck Taylor bitch
    2. Immortal Technique Too complicated for yo dancin ass nigz
    3. Tupac Pac is pac
    4. Ice Cube The Father of rap nigga 20 yrs still on top
    5. Wu Tang Clan You dont smoke enough weed as i do so u dont know shit bitch

  • FUCKING IDIOTS

    Why the fuck are all these young rappers in your top five? The problem with puttin young rappers in your top mc’s is the fact that they haven’t stood the test of time yet. Game didn’t even go platinum, if gold, his second album. You see niggaz still bumpin Biggie and Tupac ten years later….CUZ THESE NIGGAZ MADE CLASSICS. Can you say the same for Lil Wayne’s mixtapes??????? Hell no. When a new one comes out, you throw the other one away. Secondly, if a rapper has never gone multi-platinum(LIL WAYNE) he doesn’t deserve to be in the top five.Plain and simple.

  • HOLD Up

    Hold on, i can’t knock lil wayne, cuz like buddy said, he is the hardest workin rapper in the industry right now. I definately can’t knock his hustle. He should be with the greats right now but he hasn’t elevated himself to full potential. Maybe in two years, he will actually be the best rapper alive. He just needs to learn how to put a fuckin album together. Mixtapes are alright but them shits get old….QUICK.

  • big dick cheney

    LET ME JUST SAY THIS, WITH THIS BIG ARGUMENT OF WHO’S THE BEST RAPPER AND WHAT NOT, IT PROVES THAT HIP-HOP IS IN FACT STILL LIVING. NOW I DON’T DOUBT MY BOY NAS THAT IT WAS DYING BUT NO ONE HEARD HIS EXPLANATION OF WHO WAS KILLING IT…. THE MOTHERFUCKIN DJ’S OF THE RADIO STATIONS PLAYIN ALL THIS FUCKIN WEAK ASS SHIT INSTEAD OF PLAYIN SOME TRUE-TO-LIFE REAL HIP HOP. YO WE NEED TO BOY COTT THESE FUCKIN RADIO STATIONS TILL THEY START PLAYIN REAL FUCKIN MUSIC. EXCELLENT ALBUMS ARE GETTING PASSED UP JUST CUZ THE ARTIST CAN’T COME UP WIT SOME FUCKIN LAME ASS COMMERCIAL SINGLE THAT WILL HELP THEM SELL. BOTH KANYE AND 50 CENT REALLY DIDN’T HAVE BIG SINGLES THIS TIME AROUND LIKE THEY USUALLY DO. IF 50 CENT WOULD HAVE NOT CAME UP WITH SUCH AN INGENIOUS PLAN TO GET CONSUMERS TO BUY RECORDS, BOTH THEY MOTHERFUCKIN ALBUMS WOULD BE SITTIN ON THE SHELVES RIGHT NOW, WIT NO HOPE OF SELLIN…SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY TOOK THE HIGHER ROUTE AND BOTH CHOSE NOT TO PUT OUT WHACK SINGLES THAT INVOLVE SNAPPIN. YO TO SUM IT UP, RADIO DJ’S FUCKIN SUCK. THEY’RE TO BLAME FOR HIP-HOP’S SOON-2-BE DEMISE.

  • therealrob

    top 10
    alive or dead:

    10. Coolio

  • therealrob

    top 10 dead or alive:
    10. Coolio
    9. Schooly D
    8. M.C. Skat Kat
    7. Ya Kid K
    6. Q-Tip
    5. Goretex
    4. Aaron Carter
    3. Ice-T
    2. Kid Sensation
    1. Brotha Lynch Hung

  • therealrob

    top 10 alive or dead:
    10. Coolio

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  • Get ‘Em Killa

    HOW MUCH DID “CURTIS” SELL CUUURRRRRRRRRTIIISSS???!?

  • AR-15

    Kanye is a Joke!!!! Says:

    September 11th, 2007 at 10:37 am
    Top 5 Mc’s Alive

    1. Eminem
    2. Nas
    3. Jay Z
    4. Andre 3000
    5. Ludacris/Snoop/Obie???

    For all y’all who be praising lil wayne saying he’s the best thats a joke. I’ll admit he had some hot songs, verses and mix tapes recently and he elevated his rhymes but he can never compare to those guys on top lyrically. Lil wayne got punchlines and metaphors but he cant flow or make a good song. The best song from him is “hustler musik”, when he can bring out a classic album and sell real records then he can swim with the sharks but until then he better stay with the fishes!!! Any of those niggas on top would chew him up and spit him out!!!

    Hey faggot u must not listen to wayne he is the best at this moment listen to any new mixtape bitch da drought 3 if that was a cd that hit stores it would go triple platinum but everyone got that shit for free his flow is ridiculous and andre 3000 is aight but 4th dawg ur on crack homie

  • ifemiz

    top 5 alive

    Nas
    Jay Z
    Lauren Hill
    Commom
    Mos Def

  • Rap Godfather

    top 5 mc u gotta rewind me haha yeah rite kanye its all aobut these dude cus they can beat anybody on the soundscans
    1)soulja boy
    2)young Dro
    3)kevin federline
    4)MIMS
    5)jermain dupri

  • Im Feelin Kanye’s List/ Dat Nig Dub

    Kanye said some of the coldest shit I’ve ever heard(ex:”Killin yal niggas on that lyrical shit, mayonnaise color benz I push miracle whips”)

    And aint to many rappers that can make a song that was hot in the church as well as the streets, Jesus Walks is probably amongst one of the top hip hop songs ever made.

    My List In Order

    1. T.I.
    2. Lil Wayne
    3. Kanye
    4. Jeezy
    5. Jay-Z
    Honorable mention: Ludacris
    Any of the artist I name can drop an album whenever and it would go platinum, and be quality.

    Ya Diggggggg

  • http://r101records.co.uk KONTRAST_R101

    Wassup XXL?.. Now lets clear this all up.
    50 Cent releases ‘Curtis’ on the 11th September..Kanye West releases ‘graduation’on the 11th September, which is the best? And the winner is… Kanye West!
    I had the privelige of following this from day one, hearing lots of samples e.t.c, and it was obvious who wanted to make the better album, who actually cared about makin a real fan album, and that man was Mr. Kanye West. Its a great album, real feel good factor about it, and then you have Curtis. Sounds a lot like ‘Massacre’ in many respects, put together tracks that dont show real effort. 50 is a good rapper, he blasts out hits for fun, and in fact gets the fortune to work beside the greatest producer in the world, Dre.
    So, to sum up this story, go and buy Graduation! he might be an outspoken, confident, loud and proud rapper, but he certainly put a lot of time into this album!

  • http://www.myspoace.com/ghanghiskhan Wu brother#1

    Top 5

    1. Rakim – the true GOD MC
    2. Kool G Rap – Will beat your fav mc anytime any day
    3. KRS ONE – The teacher
    4. Nas – Can’t deny -llmatic and It was Written
    5. Andre 3000 -Son got lyrics 4 days

    Go check out http://www.myspace.com/ghanghiskhan and listen 2 my dude. He really got lyrics.

  • http://keeponkeepingonyoungbrother Vernon D Smith

    I personally like your style but i see its a lot of hating on you just like on pac do your thing and fuck the haters like you said you can do anything if imaginated chi-town love, ONE

  • E

    Ma-Halo!

    … doesnt Gillie da kid write Lil Waynes licks?

    1. Krs-one
    2. Papoose
    3. Dizzee Rascal… go download it.
    4. Big L
    5. Pharaoahe Monch
    6. Immortal technique

    All above is lyrically…
    But u gotta luv Guccimane.

    Elias

  • E

    … And in this 50 VS. Kanye, i swear Kanye is such a bitch, bitchy sound, bitchy songs…
    Gotta be 50

  • G2008

    I used 2 b a huge fan until I read this shyt! He got the game all twisted, he’s number 2??? N who the fuck is Jeezy? Right! He make Chicago people look bad! He’s a fuckin joke! LoL!

  • E

    Fuck i forgot K´naan… YEAH BITCHES!

  • http://www.myspace.com/deandresurrellthegreat deandre

    kanye your success makes me sick…half the people that rap arent even smarter than a fifth grader…and im suppose to lissen to that bullshit?

    i wish hip-hop would be dismantled.50 and kanye used my dialogue to sell records cause i was beefn wit a artist on some street shit and created a buzz….and since im n da street and not on a professional level they took my dialogue and cashed in on it…..muthafuckas!!!

    kanye u blu up off a car crash…..yo name should be ””jawbone””

  • paul keli

    most all yall are wack for hatin on kanye west give tha boy a chance he got better shit then 50 does.

  • Michael

    Have now problem with Ye happy for the guy success.A lot of cats hate because he’s making it for himself.But the mind set of a lot of Chicago artist is they don’t do the business.Its a lot of talk.Prime example I have a lot of respect for ATL NY HOUSTON those guys make there locals stars by supporting them.Chicago has to see you become a star somewhere else before they even take you seriously and show luv and respect.So hey maybe Kanye is a reflection of the vibe here in Chicago.But just think about this smaller markets are producing more successful artist then Chicago alone.Unless you a rock band they killling it.Hell even my man J signed fall out boy.There are a hand full of cats out of Chicago artist like Lupe Fiasco whos has master the art of business and that why he is where he’s at most Chicago cats signed fucked up deals and then they stuck for life.No album no deal nothing.Handle the business chicago.Everybody and they momma on the block wants to be a rapper.Instead of getting out there working a real hustle job and saving up & investing in themselves,but often you hear this lame story about they in the studio recording.My 1st thought as a brother in the industry is do you know what publishing and have you ever heard of ASCAP BMI etc.But a little advice to CHICAGO rap artist.If you want to make it in the game.Its not enough to say you a rapper who cares.The industry don’t respect cats they leach and talk it.They respect those who do it.CHICAGO just do it right(BUSINESS).

    out.

  • Keenan

    Yall are crazy. Rakim is no longer relevant, and honestly neither is Jay-Z with that wack album. Think out of the goddamn box with this shit. nas is slackin too. they are some of my favorites but not relevant now. Top 6 (no particular order).
    1. Twista
    2. Chamillionaire
    3. Saigon
    4. Papoose
    5. Royce da 5’9″
    (peep the mixtapes for pap, sai and royce. commercial success means nothin)
    I’m also feelin Kanye, Em, Game, Jada, Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco and Z-Ro.

    T.I. is so overrated, some of his beats are nice but he never says shit, no trust, no quotables. nothin but afad. any of these rappers would dominate him any day.

  • Bnic

    Jay is the best rapper alive….he’s number one hands down and i’m not even from the east coast Lupe Common Kanye and Papoose are the best right now to me…..the reason why hip hop is dying is because no body is trying to evolve the game everybody is stickin to some lame ass formula which states all hip hop has to be hood….i copped both 50 and Kanye and i give it to Kanye hands down why? Because Kanye is tellin me some 50 is just tellin me about how much he got from Coke Cola for vitamin water…..not everybody has lived a hood life. Once the game evolves and people stop seeing hip hop as a concept of baggy jean white tee’s and fitted caps…there will be a revival…..

    at least thats what i’m prayin for

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Big L

    TOP 5 MC’S EVER
    1.BIG L
    2.EMINEM
    3.LIL WAYNE(AND HES JUST GETTIN STARTED)
    4.2pac
    5.THE GAME

  • naptownrida

    Top 5 Gangsta rappers alive (not bullshit old school or soft mc’s)
    1.T.I. (the hit maker)
    2.Chamillionaire (he can juz play wit words)
    3.Slim Thug(the hardest)
    4.Eminem (the lyrical assasin)
    5.Remy Ma (the hardest chick. she could stomp Trina, Jackie O, Kia, or any other lame bitch)
    and kanye u r a true disgrace to the chi get the fuck outta the way and let Twista represent the city hes the lesser of 2 evils.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Big L

    Kanye West is cute…pause…NO HOMO!!

  • http://xxl.mag YounGuttaBkaGuttaBlaque(LongliveDaking)

    Kanye is cool..He got some lyrics and his cd was hard….T.I…..sucks dicks for days…Don’t eva put himup on dis eva again…EVA!!!

  • http://ATL da Realest Ni99@

    to any1 who says Eminem is the best alive please HANG YoURSELF!!

  • R AUSTIN

    TOP 10 MC’S

    1. HOVA
    2. NAS
    3. SIGEL
    4. SCARFACE
    5. WAYNE
    6. LUDA
    7. CAN-I-BUS
    8. 3000
    9. SLIM SHADY
    10. COMMON

    IN THAT ORDER