By Paul Cantor
No more Rock. Today and tomorrow, call Michigan’s most famous town Detroit Rap City. That’s because tonight, hip-hop’s two biggest tigers- Eminem and Jay-Z– take the stage at Comerica Park to kick off their set of back to back concerts in Motown.
Practically everyone’s excited about this concert series, which is a home and home sort of affair, with Eminem’s Detroit playing host for two nights at Comerica and Jay-Z’s native Yankee Stadium hosting two dates next week. The freshman sensation du jour B.O.B. will open up for the rap legends.
Around the web, there’s a lot of speculation about what might occur at the concerts. Arguing over who the better MC is becomes a never-ending conversation, so MTV News put Jay and Em head to head in a battle of the numbers, in an attempt to see how they fare against each other statistically. Turns out, that’s sort of a never-ending conversation, as they both have numerous Grammy nods, number 1 albums, and huge download sales figures. Where Jay noticeably edges out Em is in the touring field. Jay played an arena tour earlier this year. Eminem hasn’t toured since the Anger Management tour in 2005, right before he disappeared from the public eye. He did, in fact, play Comerica Park during that run, though.
“Few in the concert crowd of 42,000 that August night had a clue what the ensuing days would bring,” writes Brian McCollum in the Detroit Free Press, today. “The rapper would soon check into drug rehab, cancel his European tour, and begin a years-long break from the public eye.” McCollum notes that there will be more than 80 thousand people total attending these two concerts, and that the spectacle of it all shows just how much Eminem has recovered from his past lapses. He writes: “This blockbuster doubleheader with Jay-Z — a giant, starry production that puts Detroit at the center of the music world — is a triumphant moment for an artist whose trajectory seemed tilted downward as recently as last year.”
And while details are sketchy about what’s actually in store for the performance (Who might be the guests? What songs will they perform? Will they end up on stage together at some point?), know this much about Em’s part- he’ll take the stage with a 6-piece band, a back-up singer, a DJ (Alchemist) and his longtime D12 compatriot Denaun Porter.
ABC’s Detroit affiliate WXYZ reports that fans are already lining up outside the stadium. “Over one hundred fans are at the gate just to get a good seat because tickets are general admission,” their report says. “The first fans arrived around midnight and camped out on the sidewalk.” Santiaga Esparza wrote inThe Detroit News, “About 40 people braved the heat, humidity and on-and-off drizzle to make sure they are in a good position to enjoy their beloved rappers for tonight’s sold-out show.
As of yesterday, tickets were actually still on sale for the concerts in Detroit. They’re priced at $99.50 and $79.50, respectively.
RapFix will be live blogging all the action from Detroit starting at 8p.m. ET. So stick around!