Slang of the Week: front (verb)
to pretend, especially to pretend you are better than you are
Jason said he had a PhD from Harvard, but he was just fronting. He bought the diploma on eBay.
“As far as the VMAs [Video Music Awards] were concerned, Kanye received the upper hand. I ain't going to front.”
— Rapper 50 Cent
It’s a bad time to be 50 Cent. If you haven’t been following his ongoing beef with Kanye West, Fiddy (as 50 is popularly known) made a serious tactical error.
While many rappers cite Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as an inspiration, I’m guessing that Mr. Cent, the one-time protégé of Eminem, has not read it. The sixth century Chinese general’s treatise on martial strategy is full of pearls of wisdom like “All warfare is based on deception”—a lesson West appears to be more familiar with.
50 Cent was scheduled to release his new album, Curtis (his real name), on September 11; West had originally announced his album, Graduation, would come out on September 18, leaving his rival unchallenged for a week. Once 50 had been lulled into a false sense of security, West decided to move Graduation's release date up to the 11th and force a head-to-head contest.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the gentlemen in question, it would be an understatement to say that neither of them has self-esteem issues. In “Stronger,” a single from Graduation, West makes the demand “Bow in the presence of greatness.”
But while West didn't name his adversary, 50 Cent did. He said he’d retire from rapping if West’s album outsold his. Thus, if you are sick of hearing 50 on the radio, things are looking pretty good. As of yesterday, Graduation had sold 957,000 units; Curtis limped behind at 691,000.
If you’d like to check out more slang and see how Kanye West manages to reference God, Nietzsche, Klondike bars and OJ Simpson in the same song, take a look at our translation of Stronger.