10 Classic Live Hip-Hop Tour Performances


THIS TEXT ORIGINALLY APPEARS IN THE STORY “SHOW OUT” FROM THE APRIL 2011 ISSUE OF XXL. ON SALE NOW

Performing for thousands and thousands of screaming fans used to be a rite of passage for most rappers. There have been many historical hip-hop tours over the past decade-plus, allowing dozens of MCs the opportunity to hit the stage at huge venues across the country, such as New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Atlanta’s Philips Arena or Chicago’s United Center. With the decline of major hip-hop tours over the last couple of years, stuntin’ on the huge JumboTron in front of a different stadium full of fans every night is a rare occurrence for today’s MC. But that hasn’t always been the case. Rap tours thrived in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with mega-artists like Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent and their respective crews ruling the landscape. Even up until more recently, visual spectacles like Kanye’s 2008 Glow in the Dark Tour were a regular occurrence. Lil Wayne’s I Am Music Tour (December 2008 to April 2009) and his stint headlining the America’s Most Wanted Tour (July to August 2009) together grossed approximately $42 million and drew nearly 804,000 stark, raving fans. Then the abundance of major tours seemed to cease. “There aren’t that many large-scale tours because there aren’t that many artists who develop their markets and their fan base to the point where they can get 15,000 people to buy tickets in 30 cities across the county,” says Shawn G, Lil Wayne’s tour manager.Meaning that the rise of one-hit wonders may have a direct correlation with the minimal number of artists able to stuff a stadium. The last two years have proved that point, with the major touring circuit dwindling in the hip-hop genre. Another theory has been that the recession has prevented recent large-scale tours because fans aren’t willing to pay the high price of the tickets that it takes to fund these elaborate shows. But these monumental moments in rap history might not be totally over. This past January, Lil Wayne announced the launch of his I Am Music II tour, which kicks off this month and hits 25 major venues.Young Money to the rescue? —C. Vernon Coleman II

XXL TAKES A LOOK AT FOOTAGE FROM CLASSIC HIP-HOP PERFORMANCES

  • Money Mitch

    Most rappers absolutely suck live!! Tech n9ne is easily the best solo artist to see live on stage nobody comes close to him on that tip! hate all you want icp puts on the best live show for any hip hop duo. Bone thugs i’m sorry to say lack on stage all they do is rap and drink their beer but they get a pass with the way they rap they can’t be all over the stage runnin’ crazy i hear Ludacris is dope live though heard nothin’ but good things from him, i saw ice cube live on the family values tour he was dope