Twin Powers of Rap Collide on September 11th.

OK, so that was my cliche, hackneyed newspaper headline subject for the imminent release of new albums by Kanye West and 50 Cent; but I guarantee the bulk of the real headlines will look SOMETHING like that. Just you watch.

I have the top singles from each guy and I'm here to give you a taste before everybody and their mother chimes in.

I don't hide the fact that I'm openly rooting for Kanye to throttle his competition - even though it's all meaningless since 50 won't REALLY quit the music business if he loses - because he's simply the better rapper and the better producer of music. His albums are more diverse and contain FAR less filler than anybody else in the mainstream of rap music.

Likewise, whenever I hear a Fiddy song, I'm annoyed to no end. His dry monotone, the fact that all of his songs are copies of copies of copies of the shit he was making in his pre-Eminem days - ever see that Michael Keaton movie "Multiplicity"? At this point, we're getting nothing but 75 minutes of 50 Cent's Retarded Clones - he's the epitome of reputation overwhelming talent. 50 has always wanted to be Tupac, but Tupac had charisma oozing out of his eyeballs. Ever see 50 being interviewed? He makes Vin Diesel look like Will Smith and Robin Williams all rolled into one.

So, it was no surprise that when I listened to each new single - Kanye's "Stronger" and 50's "Ayo Technology" - my prejudice instinctively gave the nod to Kanye. Of course, it didn't hurt that he samples one of my favorite techno songs of all time, Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster Stronger."

But, after some repeated listening, I've discovered there's an all new ceiling to 50 Cent's song. I really like the flashy synth thing he's got going over the whole song and even the chorus isn't too bad. Then, I thought about it, and I'm finding the only reason I liked "Stronger" in the first place is BECAUSE of the Daft Punk sample. You take that out and what have you got?

Really, what I should be comparing here is 50 Cent and Daft Punk. DP all the way.

Now, I've heard that 50's new record "Curtis" has had problems on top of problems. Three singles were tried before this one and each bombed pretty miserably. Plus, Kanye's riding the wave of his "Gold Digger" phenomenon, and you can't fuck with that kind of momentum.

Anyway, reputation preceeds both of these rappers. Kanye's star is on the rise while 50's is seemingly in supernova mode. I anticipate great things from "Graduation", but with the sound of the new Fiddy single, I'm not gonna discount "Curtis" without at least a conscious listen