Unless you've been living under a rock somewhere, you'd know this September 11 is being heralded as the ultimate showdown between two of the music industry's biggest heavyweights - 50 Cent and Kanye West. The gangsta or the pseudo-graduate? But this isn't boxing, folks. Not only do the two multi-platinum artists have to square off against each other, they also have some outside competition coming for that number 1 spot. King-Mag.com dissects the other contenders in 9-11's Royal Rumble of CD releases.
Artist: 40 Cal
Album: Broken Safety 2
Who's going to cop: Harlem heads and Diplomat stans. And Dick Cheney.
Odds of a top ten spot on the Billboard 200: 1:100
How's this for a sales pitchâ€”40 Cal's hardcore lyrics are so gangsta, they may incite you to shoot your own homie. Just ask New Orleans resident Ronnie Webster, who accidentally let off on a friend while bumping the Diplomat MCs music last year. But other than boosting the odds of friendly fire, the punchline-heavy lyricist looks to, um, trigger a Dipset resurgence with his sophomore release. Maybe you should pick up the clean version, for your boys' safety.
Listen to "Where My Niggas At" by 40 Cal feat. Lil Wayne from Broken Safety 2
Album: Don't Talk, Just Listen
Who's going to cop: Your 12-year-old sister/daughter
Odds of a top ten spot on the Billboard 200: 1:2
Since B2K's breakup in 2004, the teenybopper R&B audience has evaporated quicker than J. Lo's backside. Even the Scream Tour has gone the grown and sexy route. But Diddy just might revive the market with B5, his Jackson 5-like group of singing siblings stealing the hearts of 12 year olds everywhere. If this flops, look out for Bobby Brown to title his next album "Boy Bands Are Dead.â€
Listen to "Hydraulics" by B5 feat. Bow Wow from Don't Talk, Just Listen
Artist: Kenny Chesney
Album: Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
Who's going to cop: Modern-day hillbillies, soft-core rockers, and 50 Cent and Kanye West haters.
Odds of a top ten spot on the Billboard 200: 1:1
You might liken Kenny Chesney to the San Antonio Spursâ€”that unexciting force that quietly holds its own behind the two frontrunners, only to scoop the prize from the pot come playoff time. But since he tossed his cowboy hat in the ring with rap's twin titans, Chesney's stock has been valued as higher than ever. Just two weeks ago, the two-time reigning CMA entertainer of the year watched his latest single, "Don't Blink,â€ tie for the second-highest debut in the history of Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Anyone smell an upset?
Listen to "Never Wanted Nothing More" by Kenny Chesney from Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
Artist: Pitch Black
Who's going to cop: Arrogant New Yorkers and hip-hop purists.
Odds of a top ten spot on the Billboard 200: 1:500
East Coast rap music has been struggling to shine amidst the dance-heavy tunes emerging from below the Mason-Dixon. But with Revenge, Pitch Black conjures up memories of NYC's classic, mid â€˜90s-era hip-hop. With production credits from DJ Premier, the five-man Brooklyn collective uses head-nodding, boom-bap backdrops to offer a slice of better times in Big Apple rap.
Listen to "Nice" by Pitch Black feat. DJ Premier and Styles P from Revenge
Artist: Spider Loc
Album: West Kept Secret: The Prequel
Who's going to cop: Other crips and arrogant West Coast hip-hop heads.
Odds of a top ten spot on the Billboard 200: 1:50
The self-proclaimed "G-Unit Cripâ€ gives a glimpse into gang life on this appetizer to his major-label debut. Sure, he's holding down the same release date as his boss, but with his rugged, occasionally rewind-worthy rhymes, the Compton-based rapper plans to keep Left Coasters throwing up dubs. Now that's California love.
Listen to "Blutiful Day" by Spider Loc from, West Kept Secret
Album: I Hear You Talking Behind My Back
Who's going to cop: His homeboys in Houston and rebellious preacher kids.
Odds of a top ten spot on the Billboard 200: 1:250
Formerly a spiritual rapper named Nuwine, Wine-O drops a disc for the secular world with I Hear You Talking Behind My Back, balancing righteous raps with thugged-out quotes. And as if we need anymore, the Houston rapper even gives us yet another hip-hop dance stepâ€”the "Hokey Pokey!â€ Wow.
Listen to "Hokey Pokey" by Wine-O feat. DJ Unk from I Hear You Talking Behind My Back