50 Cent

By Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer For the past half-decade, gangsta rap icon and international superstar 50 Cent has kept "beef" a steady part of the hip-hop diet by waging vitriolic -- but also cartoonishly entertaining, headline-grabbing -- wars of words with rap rivals. 50 Cent's place in the rap pantheon is also being debated on the cover of this month's Rolling Stone with the headline: "Showdown! 50 Cent vs. Kanye West / Who will be the king of hip-hop?" At issue, West's third album, "Graduation," will be released on Sept. 11, the same day 50 Cent's third album, "Curtis," comes out, and the Queens, N.Y.-born rapper has vowed he will retire as a solo artist if West outsells him in its first sales week. Brushing off questions about the challenge, 50 Cent instead took time to thoroughly diss the crop of rap stars he sees as pretenders to hip-hop's throne: Jay-Z, the Game, Lil Wayne, Nas -- and West. And the tough-talking MC left little doubt about where he feels he stands in the pecking order. "In the music business, you're as relevant as the music you make," 50 Cent said. "I believe my consistency will break their necks, each one of them." Here's what he had to say during a recent interview:
Carolyn Cole / LAT
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