The numbers are in and it looks like the three of us (me, Mike and Dayo) were all low on our projections for Kanye. Dayo’s projection of 50 Cent’s record was a bit high, but not as high as originally thought.

Here are the numbers (from Mike who works in the music industry):

Kanye West’s Graduation: 957,000 units sold
50 Cent’s Curtis: 691,000 units sold

Here’s what Mike posted on The Epinions Music Source message board.

Kanye sold 957,000 units of “Graduation”, making it easily the biggest debut of the year. Actually, if you take away 50 Cent and Eminem, the last album to debut with this strong a number was ‘N Sync’s “Celebrity” in 2001.

50 Cent debuted at #2 with a still-impressive 691,000 units sold, making it the second biggest debut of the year, and for those interested, Kenny Chesney was a distant third place with 387K sold, a number which looks lame next to Kanye’s and 50’s, but would have been the #1 record of the week for about 80% of the year so far.

For Week 1, Kanye Was Stronger

In music today, it’s far more important, simply for the buzz, to create an album that blows up on the first day. Why? Because many record companies won’t give their artists a second chance, if the initial buzz isn’t strong on the record. Thus, you have an increased significance on first week sales.

I remember being in college and leaving one class a little early because I had to go to the old Wherehouse Records across the street and buy not only Jay-Z’s Volume 2: Hard Knock Life, but also Outkast’s Aquemini, which both came out on the same day. Let’s just say that I was very much tempted to skip my next class so I could throw the Jay-Z record on. Can I get a …….

Jay-Z has gone on record as to say that with 50 Cent and Kanye West dropping on the same day, it’s a good day for hip hop. It’s good that two major hip hop artists will have the record stores all to themselves. Well, tell that to Kenny Chesney.

It wasn’t meant to necessarily be like this. 50’s album, Curtis, was originally supposed to drop earlier this year, but because of a lack of buzz for what he was releasing to the streets and radio, it was pushed back. He wasn’t happy with how it was being received so he recorded more tracks and the scheduled release date was last week. And then it was bumped one more week.


As for Kanye, his album, Graduation was projected for a late August release date, according to my buddy Speeddeezy, and was pushed back two weeks. 50 told Kanye (through radio interviews) that he should move his release date or that he’d get slaughtered during the first week. Kanye just smiled and said he’d take his chances. At one point, 50 even claimed that he’d retire from rapping completely if Kanye beat him during the first week. He has since backed off of that statement, and smartly so. My man Dayo (aka balogun) has written about the face-off already, but he also had these words.

As for the predictions, I was initially going to go for about a million each in the first week, giving the slight edge to Kanye, but I think I would be a little more realistic. I give them both around the 800,000 range, again with the slight edge to Kanye. I have to admit, 50’s fans are just as relentless, if not more, and I won’t completely dispel the possibility of him having the upper hand. But Kanye all the way – I just think most people have had enough of the crap rap, and they might be confirmed in their thoughts with the reviews of both albums (in whick ‘Ye no doubt kicks 50’s ass!).

When my buddy Mike, aka Speeddeezy was down a few weeks ago, we discussed who would win, and he’s always thought Kanye was going to outsell 50. I wasn’t so sure, until recently, and I decided that we’d publish our predictions. Dayo joined in as well.

(We did these predictions before any mention of what was projected today.)

Album Mike’s guess Garrett’s guess Dayo’s guess First week total (approx)
50 Cent: Curtis 500K 650K 800K 691K
Kanye West: Graduation 700K 800K 800K 957K

There’s a good chance we’ll all have reviews of the Kanye album by the time the sales get published next Wednesday. And maybe, someone (not me) will review 50’s album as well. I’ll update this post at that time.