Egomaniac or Hip Hop Genius? The Controversial Side of Hip-Hop

Rapper, entrepreneur, record producer, and songwriter Kanye Omari West is viewed as one of the most influential hip hop artists, challenging barriers within both music and everyday society, whether it be in the topics he discusses or the diverse musical elements displayed throughout his work.

Curtis James Jackson III, known professionally as 50 Cent, is a best-selling rapper, director, producer, actor, and entrepreneur. Although very successful in music, Jackson is also known for his many business ventures and for stirring controversy within the entertainment industry.


Kanye West entered the music business at 19 as a writer for major local Chicago artists. Following this introduction to the music scene, West began to “ghost produce” for major artists throughout the 90s like  Deric “D-Dot” Angeleettie and Foxy Brown, he was known significantly for developing a style that involved speeding up vocal samples from classic soul records. In the late 90s, West was signed to Gee Roberson and Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshuato’s “Hip Hop Since 1978” management-production company. This sparked his writing career for significant artists on Roc-A-Fella, even credited for revitalizing Jay-Z’s career with his contributions to Jay-Z’s 2001 album “The Blueprint.”

Steady into his career as a producer, West realized that his real aspirations lay in rap and performance. West began to pursue this career but was ultimately denied a deal by Capitol Records as he didn’t fit the popular “gangsta-rap” image popular during the times. With West’s increasing success as a producer, and fear of losing him to another label, former label-head of Roc-A-Fella Damon Dash signed Kanye as an artist. The jumpstart to West’s independent career came in 2002 after he endured a near-fatal car accident that required his mouth to be wired shut. He would later record “Through The Wire,” which was the launch of one of the most successful rap careers in the 21st century.


50 Cent’s early life was nothing short of unorthodox. As early as primary school Jackson began selling narcotics during the 1980s crack epidemic. Jackson would carry drugs and guns to school, which eventually led to his first arrest. This arrest, however, did not stop Jackson’s lifestyle, and he was arrested a few years later for selling drugs to an undercover officer and was sent to a boot camp.

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Rapper, Genius, Entrepreneur?

On West’s debut album “The College Dropout,” he emphasized the musical style he had developed known as “chipmunk soul.” Spending most of his accident recovery time remastering the album after it leaked, adding string arrangements, gospel choirs, improved drum programming, and new verses pushing back the release three times. These stylings inspired West’s third studio album, “Graduation,” which gained popularity in a sales competition with 50 Cent’s Curtis. Graduation outsold Kurtis at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart selling 957,000 copies in the first week, With its number one single  “stronger,” an electronica, disco-house rap song. In 2009 West 

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