The hip-hop package tour, where a group of emcees set out across the country together, has become commonplace in the last five years or so. Shows like Kings of the Mic (with LL Cool J, Ice Cube, De La Soul and Public Enemy) and the Art of Rap (again with Public Enemy, and this time with Ice-T, EPMD, Naughty by Nature and others) have crisscrossed the country, giving some underrated classic acts a mechanism with which to set up a national tour. During the Masters of Ceremony tour, superstars like Rick Ross and up-and-coming emcees like O.T. Genasis share the stage with legends like Rakim and Pete Rock & CL Smooth.
Still, a survey of the lineups for these festivals shows one consistent weakness: A completely random artist roster. Dancehall DJ Super Cat will rock the stage this Saturday on the same bill as House of Pain, for instance; while I’m sure each act loves the other’s work, it seems like some of the lineups are less about an idea and more about logistics.
amNewYork sat down to construct its own package tour proposals, and didn’t even have to leave the borough to do it.
Here are a few ideas of how Brooklyn hip-hop could take itself on the road.
Legends Never Die
For many, the rapper most associated with the borough is still Notorious B.I.G, even almost 20 years after his death. Unfortunately, Christopher Wallace is not the only local emcee to have passed on; MCA of the Beastie Boys, Guru of Gang Starr (technically born and raised in Massachusetts, but he represented Brooklyn as his own on classics like "The Planet") and Ol' Dirty Bastard have each left behind rich musical legacies. Assign one of the current crop of Brooklyn's finest to a record from each of the fallen (Joey Bada$$ (pictured), for instance, has claimed Biggie as an influence) for a much-needed re-imagining of the "artist plays classic album front to back" trope. (Credit: Getty Images for MTV / Randy Shropshire)
The Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers
In 1994, Spike Lee put together a stellar lineup of Brooklyn emcees -- Masta Ace, Buckshot and Special Ed -- for a track on the soundtrack to his film "Crooklyn." Though the names have changed throughout the years, the "Dodgers" have put out two more songs, each with a different cast of rhymers, including Mos Def, Jean Grae and Chubb Rock (pictured). Put them on the same bill (sans Mos Def, of course, who reaffirmed his retirement from music last week) and you've got a touring history of Brooklyn hip-hop. (Credit: Getty Images for National Museum / Terry Wyatt)
The Women of Brooklyn
While hip-hop doesn't have the best record when it comes to gender equality, Brooklyn has been the home to both legendary female emcees (like MC Lyte and 2/3 of Salt-N-Pepa) and up-and-comers (we see you, Little M.A, Chelsea Reject and DonMonique). But mostly, the hope would be that Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim (pictured) would take this chance to put their decades-long beef to rest. (Credit: Getty Images for Live Nation / Kevin Winter)
Hale v. Westinghouse
The closed Sarah J. Hale High School was the home of Big Daddy Kane, Lil' Kim and DJ Mr. Cee. George Westinghouse High, meanwhile, produced Jay Z and Busta Rhymes (pictured). That looks like a pretty good bill for a one-night show, doesn't it? (Credit: Getty Images for Power 105.1’s P / Bennett Raglin)