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50 Cent Vs. Kanye West: And the Winner is...

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The numbers are in. My very unscientific hypothesis from last week was correct. Kanye West crushed 50 Cent in the battle of hip-hop heavyweights.

According to Nielsen's SoundScan, Kanye's Graduation sold 957,000 copies, the biggest first week total of 2007. 50 Cent's Curtis on the other hand only sold 691,000 copies.

While 50's nearly 700,000 copies sold is the second biggest total for week one sales, it is still a considerable drop-off from his two previous albums (50's last album The Massacre sold 1.1 million while 872,000 copies of Get Rich or Die Tryin' were bought in its first week).

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Don't count on 50 Cent making good on his promise to retire if Kanye outsold him. Last week on the Howard Stern Show, Curtis admitted that the statement was made to help "hype the situation". The rapper turned beverage tycoon went on to say he isn't walking away from the mic anytime soon. Those who bought Graduation just to see 50's career 86ed might feel cheated. But they shouldn't. Kanye's album is good, very good.

And of course, he isn't afraid to say that.

Kanye told AP at last night's GQ 50th anniversary party:

"I think my music is really inspirational and I really made it for the people. I really understood that in this Internet age people are their own superstars ... the best bet that we had was to make a soundtrack to their own lives."

Previously, Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight held the top spot for 2007, with 623,000 albums sold in the first week. Guess that marketing scheme worked, and Universal Music Group is laughing straight to the bank.

AP Photo by John Smock