By Dan "Monty" Montalto
Long before either album leaked in its final retail form, many of us here in the newsroom were asking the same question: Who will win this week's epic showdown between Kanye West and Guns N' Roses (a.k.a. Axl Rose and a bunch of new guys)?
In this corner, we have Kanye West with 808s & Heartbreak, which comes just 14 months after Graduation bested 50 Cent's Curtis on the charts. He managed to put together 808s in a year marked by lots of touring and lots and lots of appearances at awards shows (seriously, does this guy ever NOT get invited?). Not only has 808s been on repeat in the newsroom all week, but we've been recounting some of our early Kanye memories right here on the blog.
And in the other corner, we have a comeback (of sorts). Fourteen years in the making and at a estimated cost of more than $13 million, Axl finally decided that Chinese Democracy was ready to be unleashed upon the world. The frontman isn't doing interviews, has not announced a tour and has not released a video, and the album is only available at Best Buy. Yet, for the past two weeks, Chinese Democracy has piqued our interest so much that at any given moment, someone in the newsroom was either listening to it or could be heard defending it against detractors.
So, are fans ready to embrace Kanye as a rapper who no longer raps? Or, as 50 Cent predicted, will fans find themselves unable to forgive Kanye for giving up rapping for singing?
And will Guns fans old and new show up to buy the first album of new GN'R material in more than 17 years? Or have years of unfulfilled promises, canceled tours and a revolving cast of band members taken their toll?
In the video below, we hit the streets to find out if people think Kanye or GN'R will come out on top, but now we want to know what YOU think. Hit us up with a video.