#22. 50 Cent vs. Kanye West (Rolling Stone, 2007)

Issue: September 20—2007
Art Direction: Joseph Hutchinson
Photography: Albert Watson

With Kanye's Graduation and 50's Curtis sharing a release date, the two rappers announced a competition to see who sold the most records. It was mostly playful in nature, but fans read it as a spiritual battle for the fate of hip hop—the street-minded gangsta vs. the artful backpacker.

Rolling Stone capitalized on the rivalry by putting the two face to face on their cover. Graduation would eventually take the win, topping Curtis' first week sales by a gap of more than 250,000, leaving 50 to weakly make accusations that Def Jam had rigged the competition by buying CDs themselves.