JOHN: Hi, I'm John Norris...
SERENA: And I'm Serena Altschul, and this is "The Week In Rock."
JOHN: Late Thursday, risque rapper Foxy Brown announced, after missing several dates on the 10-day-old "Smokin' Grooves" tour, that she had decided to pull out of the tour altogether, citing a recent illness and her heavy work schedule. Instead, she'll spend the summer finishing her second album, and working with Nas, AZ and Cormega on an album by "The Firm." The House Of Blues Smokin' Grooves tour went on as scheduled, however, entering its second summer of bringing urban music to pastoral settings. Last year's tour featured the Fugees, Busta Rhymes and Cypress Hill, and proved a hip-hop tour could come off without incident. We checked out this year's edition in Washington, D.C., for this week's "Summer Tour Report."
MTV: No BMX bikers or body piercers here -- Smokin' Grooves, unlike many of its package-tour counterparts, is music and nothing but.
HUB, The Roots:
The main thing is we want people to come out early so you can catch all the acts. Everybody on the show is a headliner in their own right. [Live performance, 924k QuickTime]
IMANI, Pharcyde: You get to hear some new music from the Pharcyde, you get to see Badu, and exchange with the energies and the rhythms with her.
ERYKAH BADU: I think it's just a really flav thing to be a part of, to be here and to meet these people and to perform on the same stage as they do.
FAN 1: Anytime you put P-Funk, the best of the old school, with Cypress Hill, the best of the new school, I don't care where it is, people will go.
MTV: Or will they? Lacking the star-power of last year's line-up, which featured both the Fugees and A Tribe Called Quest, ticket sales for the second incarnation of Smokin' Grooves have been sluggish.
FAN 2: A lot more people should have been here.
FAN 3: Last year, they had
the Fugees and all, but now we have a lot more room to party. (Laughs)
FAN 4: There are less goofy twelve-year-olds here because this is not like a major pop act, this is a steady stream of good acts, which is kind of cool.
B-REAL, Cypress Hill: You know, we're just making the best of it and trying to get the people out, to come out.
MTV: Why did you decide to do Smokin' Grooves this summer?
GEORGE CLINTON: Because it was a gig and we could bring our spaceship.
ERYKAH BADU: It just has a different flavor this summer. You know, you gotta change the flavors, try something new.
JOHN: Gotta love George's spaceship. As noted, ticket sales for Smokin' Grooves, which plays Cincinnati on Tuesday, have not exactly been smokin', and the extremely crowded summer tour calendar, no doubt, has something to do with that. Our checks with venues around the country show that the all-woman Lilith Fair has had the highest percentage of sell-outs, with the
WARPed tour close behind, while we're told Lollapalooza and H.O.R.D.E. are doing "solid" to "well."