Summer is here. In addition to seemingly endless plays of both DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” and Souls of Mischief’s “93 Til Infinity,” that usually means it’s unofficially concert season. If we’re following the de facto order of things, low-profile albums are released during the fourth quarter, followed by an increase in activity by A-listers during the spring. This is all capped off by a late spring run of tracks that lend themselves to dancing, being played out of drop-tops and being performed at the local live music venue in your city.
It seems 2014 is no different, as hugely commercially successful artists such as Jay Z, Beyonce, Lil Wayne and Drake have all launched or are in the process of launching summer tours. Obviously hitting the road is not reserved for those atop the Pop charts, as Jurassic 5 and Dilated Peoples and road fixture Tech N9ne have been racking up tour bus miles also.
Using a combination of chart/radio popularity, album sales, gross tour income provided by the likes of Forbes and Pollstar and music the HipHopDX editorial staff actually likes, we’re providing a list of 10 tours making headlines so far this year. It’s not an all-inclusive list, given were just past halfway through 2014. And we’re also not ranking the participants. Although if you’re of the opinion cash still rules, then please continue reading about how Jay and Beyonce are raking in fistfuls of dough with the “On The Run Tour.” Otherwise, feel free to chime in via the comment section with your recommendations.
Jay Z & Beyonce: “On The Run Tour”
Dates: 24 shows in 20 cities
For those that had any doubts or qualms that this tour would dominate the summer, allow these two to reintroduce themselvestheir names are HOV, and Queen Bey. Already on pace to “become the second most successful tour of all time based on gross revenue per show” according to Forbes, this 20 city On The Run Tour seems to be the alliance, culmination, and exclamation point of Jay Z and Beyonce’s scorching success this past year. Since the Carters possess more hits than a Fatburger with T.I. and Floyd Mayweather present, each show runs for an impressive three hours, and boasts over 40 songs from their extensive musical catalogs. To top it all off, Billboard is reporting that Beyonce and Jay Z are also teaming up with HBO for a concert special with coverage from the final two Paris show dates. No need to run anymore Mr. and Mrs. Carter, you’ve already crossed the top summer tour finish line for the gold.
Eminem & Rihanna: “The Monster Tour (2014)”
Dates: Six shows in three cities
When the two artists responsible for the second and third most liked Facebook pages on the planet (Eminem 91.9 million, Rihanna 89 million) link up for a three city tour, it’s safe to say a couple of people might take notice. The joint The Monster Tour makes sense, seeing that both of their collaborations, “Love The Way You Lie” and the tour titled track “Monster,” both peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” chart during their individual 29-week runs. Originally only a three show tour in August at some of the biggest stadiums in the country (the Rose Bowl in California, MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, and Comerica Park in Michigan), Marshall Mathers and Rih Rih decided to add a second show at each tour stop due to the ridiculous demand for tickets. Both known for putting on great performances, The Monster Tour should be able to leave the #RihannaNavy, Stans, and anybody else in attendance satisfied once the curtain closes.
Lil Wayne & Drake: “Drake vs. Lil Wayne”
Dates: Approx. 31 shows
They’re only two little letters, but dropping “V” and “S” in between Drake and Wayne might be the best tour concept of the summer. Although both Young Money artists have their strong respective fan bases (earning $140 million and selling 2.4 million tickets combined from 242 shows they have played separately in the past five years, according to Boxscore), the Street Fighter II, Ken versus Ryu lyrical battle aspect of their Capcom-sponsored tour is sure to raise interest and curiosity from many of those that would have shrugged the tour off otherwise. The 31-city tour is set to kick off August 8 in New York, and the Young Moolah general seems ready to set it off,
“Since, thank god we’ve been so successful, [we’ll just be] going back and forth with our hits and getting the crowd to go crazy, then just finally hit the stage together,” Wayne told MTV in a July 22 interview. “It’s a battle type thing.”
Tech N9ne: “Independent Grind Tour”
Guests: Freddie Gibbs, Krizz Kaliko, Jarren Benton and Psych Ward Druggies
Dates: 80 shows
Tech N9ne could finish off the rest of the year laying on a couch while stuffing his face with Doritos, and you know what? The man would have earned every last second of it. Infamous for his grueling road schedule, the Strange Music CEO gathered up the troops for yet another musical voyage, this time for the appropriately named 70 city “Tech N9Ne’s Independent Grind Tour” earlier this year. Although not quite as strenuous as his record breaking “Hostile Takeover Tour” (which in 2012 had Tech and company perform a staggering 90 shows in 99 days), “Tech N9ne’s Independent Grind Tour” still had double the show dates as almost every other tour on this list. The tour spanned from April to June, and also featured Freddie Gibbs, Krizz Kaliko, and Psych Ward Druggies on the bill. With his non-stop touring schedule and relentless amount of new music, it’s no wonder Tech is gaining the reputation as the hardest working man in Hip Hop.
Kanye West: “Yeezus”
Guests: Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest
Dates: Approx. 32 shows
As “Yeezus” descended into cities all across the globe this past year, two things were made perfectly clear: 1. Kanye West had something to say 2. Kanye West was going to make damn sure people heard him when he said it. The fact that he didn’t simply choose his music as a vessel to do so however, is what made his first headlining tour in five years such a polarizing force. The now infamous “motivational speeches” (read: rants) were heard city to city, state to state, on or off the stage, and plenty of times got more shine than the actual tour (we know you got the answers Sway). But although there was tons going on off the stage, there was still more than plenty happening on it. Yeezy’s opening act for the majority of the tour was none other than Kendrick Lamar, with Pusha T, Busta Rhymes, and A Tribe Called Quest holding down the fort a few nights. Mix that in with state-of-the-art arena concert technology, four customized Maison Martin Margiela masks, and an actor playing Jesus Christ for 53 shows? Yeezus.
Wiz Khalifa: “Under The Influence Of Music Tour”
Guests: Wiz Khalifa, Jeezy, Ty Dolla $ign, Rich Homie Quan, Sage the Gemini, Iamsu!, Mack Wilds, DJ Drama
Dates: Approx. 22 Shows
HOL UP HOL UP…Wiz is back at it again. With his summer anthem “We Dem Boyz” blaring out of speakers all over the country, the Taylor Gang capo has sparked up his “Under The Influence Of Music Tour” for the third straight year, which will be hitting 22 cities up until late August. As usual, he definitely won’t be sparking up alone, the tour’s lineup also features Jeezy, Ty Dolla $ign, Rich Homie Quan, Iamsu!, DJ Drama, Sage the Gemini, and Mack Wilds. If previous iterations of the “Under The Influence Of Music Tour” are any indication, the Taylor Gang faithful will be in full force, which Wiz has quietly but efficiently built into an almost cult like following with his excellent use of social media and transparency through YouTube. Stating the obvious but, please prepare your lungs for the herbal crossfire.
Bruno Mars: “Moonshine Jungle Tour”
Guests: Pharrell Williams
Dates: Approx. 43 Shows
Welcome to the only tour that could be on this list and on last year’s list “at the same damn time (cue Future voice).” Bruno Mars has been on the road since June 22, 2013 and he still has three more months to go! “The Moonshine Jungle Tour” consists of five legs of shows: 13 in Asia, 37 in Europe, 94 in North America, and 10 in Oceania which equals to a ridiculous 154 nights of Mr. Mars giving his all on stage. And as Jason Lipshutz wrote in a Billboard.com review, giving his all on stage is exactly what happens on this tour.
“The singer holds high notes, leads choreographed dances, plays electric guitar, plays acoustic guitar, plays drums, engages the crowd, and even flirts with some ladies in the front row.” That is probably why Bruno is set to gross nearly $100 million by the time he decides to leave his musical jungle. He came on to the scene singing about wanting to be a billionaire, and tours like this one make that idea seem not too far fetched.
Jurassic 5: “Word Of Mouth”
Guests: Dilated Peoples, Beat Junkies
Dates: Approx. 19 US Shows
The “Word Of Mouth Tour” might be the least extravagant summer tour on this list, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in history and respect. Although they’ve had their difficulties this past decade (splitting in 2007), the five man emcee collective decided to put their differences aside and celebrate their 20-year anniversary with a 19-city tour across the nation. J5 won’t be the only ones with something to celebrate though, Dilated Peoples will also be rocking the stage to support Directors of Photography, the trio’s first retail album since 2006. And as dope as all the emcees will be on the mic, the masters behind the turntables seem to be just as integral to the experience at the “Word Of Mouth Tour.” Joining the party are the vinyl veterans the World Famous Beat Junkies, Cut Chemist, and DJ Nu-Mark, all who are lethal behind the ones and twos. To round out the show, how about freestyle legend Supernatural kicking rhymes off the top about anything and everything. Turntablism, freestyles, and veteran emcees doing their thing? The “Word of Mouth Tour” has Hip Hop written all over it.
Guests: Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, Killer Mike
Dates: Approx. 40 Shows
It took eight years, but the ATLiens have finally landed again, ladies and gentlemen. Andre 3000 and Big Boi flipped the Hip Hop world on its head earlier this year when rumors of them performing at Coachella began to surface, and luckily for music fans, the rumor rumblings were true. OutKast hit the Coachella stage this past April and rocked a crowd together for the first time since 2006. It was only the first stop of a 40-plus festival tour commemorating the legendary duo’s 20 years in the game that spans all across the globe and until September. Although sharing the stage doesn’t directly equate to fresh music from OutKast, it gives fans a glimmer of hope for a new album. Come on Big and Andre, are you going to have Hip Hop waiting forever, forever ever, forever ever?
Guests: The Roots, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, DJ Premier and Janelle Monae
Dates: Approx. 20 Shows
Yes, he’s arguably the greatest stand up comedian alive (something Kevin Hart and Katt Williams have attested to), but what always separated Chappelle from other comedians (besides the jokes), was his love for Hip Hop and how he intertwined it into almost everything that he did. His long awaited return to the stage this year was no different. Over a span of 10 shows at Radio Music City Hall this past June, Chappelle featured musical guests such as Nas, The Roots, Gang Starr, Busta Rhymes, Spliff Starr, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, and DJ Premier. To sum it up, Premo said it best, “When Chappelle’s Show came on he had Kanye rhyming with Common doing “The Food,” and having De La [Soul] do “Much Much More.” [He had] DJ Chaps and Black Star rhyme just raw over the Biz Markie version of “Fly Like An Eagle,” and cut it up just raw on the turntables. He always had the eclectic, underground artists on his performance part of Chappelle’s Show, so it lets you know like, he’s not even reaching for anyone big. He’s reaching for the grit. And that shows you that his level of respect is on the same level that we are, so that’s why we support him. And his humor is just amazing. Even at Radio City, he’s just funny as always.