I love how Kanye West and 50 Cent have structured this whole album-release-date competition as an election. There's a debate, grassroots campaigning and an unending amount of mudslinging from both sides. That speaks so much to their respective characters. I mean, seriously, what kind of person would effectively compare himself to a politician? I hate them both for wasting my fucking time: announcing "We're both assholes!" would have gotten the point across all the same.
The thing is, they are politicians. They're both power-binging for the sake of power-binging (because their unending lyrical braggadocio isn't going to change anyone's world but their own). Neither would ever take a stance that could hurt their respective futures (even Kanye's bravest moment, "George Bush doesn't care about black people," found him just stating the obvious). Neither would rock the boat musically, either -- Kanye's Graduation is more electronic than his past work (he calls it the "future of rap music," which means that rap is just catching up to Daft Punk circa '01 and/or the vintage-synth-having, Michael Jackson-sporting '80s. He's calling hip-hop retarded, OK?). 50's Curtis is occasionally softer than usual. Either side's new material isn't shocking or particularly fantastic. They'll both lie to your face (Kanye's done with MTV? 50's quitting when he inevitably loses this silly marketing scheme? Now they both just called you retarded.) These two men are slimy, slimy people who gleefully substitute savvy for conviction every chance they get. They have nothing to say except for that which has a chance of grabbing your attention. Choosing one would be like choosing the lesser of two evils. Of course, you could buy Ani DiFranco (here, Dennis Kucinich, obviously) or, I don't know, Kenny Chesney (who's...Christ...uh, Larry Craig?). Go ahead, throw your vote away.
At least this is an election that you can avoid entirely and sleep at night knowing that you didn't have some indirect hand in flushing the world down the toilet. Yeah, you'll end up living through the presence of 50 and Kanye, but you'd have to anyway if you pay attention to pop culture. The only thing that's going to come out of this is that one massive ego will expand -- the other (the loser's [50's]), will just stay where it is, as this will be such an easy thing to forget once it's over (it is, after all, based in pop music). My point is: you can't change things here. The rich get richer and louder and louder. You're powerless, and while I tend to think that this is true even in the grander scheme of things (democracy be damned), you can thank 50 and Kanye for reminding you of it all over again. See? I told you they were assholes.