Rappers Jay-Z, Method Man, DMX, and Redman have joined forces for a blockbuster tour set to kick off Feb. 27 at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C.
Dubbed the "Hard Knock Life" tour, it's named after Jay-Z's new album, Vol. 2....Hard Knock Life. The diversity of styles on display over the course of the 37-date outing -- the terse, direct delivery of the Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man, the fluid raps of Jay-Z and Redman, and the gruff, barking style of DMX -- could be quite a lure for hip-hop fans.
Starting in the South and moving up to the Great White North, the tour will then shift to the East Coast before shooting across the country for the closing dates in California.
Both DMX and Jay-Z have enjoyed stays at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart in recent months for their latest efforts. Meanwhile, Method Man's solo recording, Tical 2000: Judgement Day, was stopped just short of the top slot on the chart by Garth Brooks' record-setting Double Live album.
In June, DMX railed against certain artists and accused them of clogging up the top slots on the charts. The occasion was the release of his debut album, "It's Dark And Hell Is Hot," featuring tracks such as "F---in' Wit' D" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Get At Me Dog" (RealAudio excerpt).
"A lot of whack motherf----ers out there right now [are] killing the charts," DMX said, referring to his rap on the track "Stop Being Greedy." "I'm saying, let some brothers who are actually talented ... get some of this money."
Little more than six months later, DMX has a pair of his own albums resting comfortably in the Top 25.
Although a tour packed with such star power would seem certain to be a smash at the box office, Ray Waddell -- writer for the talent-and-touring-industry section of the trade magazine Amusement Business -- cautioned that package hip-hop tours with platinum-selling artists don't always mean gold at the box office.
"Traditionally, there's a paradox," Waddell said. "[Despite massive] album sales, rap tours are not the top tours out there. [Promoters have] tried similar tours, [such as] Smokin' Grooves, [that haven't] done as well as a lot of the other multi-act festivals. Give them credit that they keep trying. If they ever find a way to translate record sales into ticket sales, it will be one of the top-selling tours out there."
Jay-Z, DMX, Redman and Method Man North American Tour Dates:
Feb. 27; Charlotte, N.C., Charlotte Coliseum
Feb. 28; North Charleston, S.C., North Charleston Coliseum
March 2; Washington D.C., MCI Center
March 3; East Rutherford, N.J., Continental Airlines Arena
March 4; Cleveland, Ohio, CSU Convocation Center
March 6; Dallas, Texas, Reunion Arena
March 7; Houston, Texas, Compaq Center
March 10; Toronto, Ont., Air Canada Centre
March 11; Montreal, Que., Molson Centre
March 12; Detroit, Mich., Cobo Arena
March 13; Camden, N.J., Blockbuster-Sony Center
March 14; Pittsburgh, Pa., Pittsburgh Civic Arena
March 16; Columbus, Ohio, Schottenstein Center
March 17; Rochester, N.Y., Blue Cross Arena
March 18; Providence, R.I., Rhode Island Convention Center
March 19; Hampton, Va., Hampton Coliseum
March 21; Hartford, Conn., Hartford Civic Center
March 23; Albany, N.Y., Pepsi Arena
March 25; Buffalo, N.Y., Marine Midland Arena
March 26; Baltimore, Md., Baltimore Arena
March 27; Boston, Mass., Fleet Center
March 28; Uniondale, N.Y., Nassau Coliseum
March 31; St. Louis, Mo., Kiel Center
April 1; Louisville, Ky., Louisville Gardens
April 2; Milwaukee, Wis., Milwaukee Arena
April 3; Memphis, Tenn., Mid-South Coliseum
April 4; Rosemont, Ill., Rosemont Horizon
April 7; Greenville, S.C., Bi-Lo Center
April 8; Albany, Ga., Albany Civic Center
April 9; Jacksonville, Fla., Jacksonville Coliseum
April 10; Atlanta, Ga., Lakewood Amphitheatre
April 11; Birmingham, Ala., Birmingham-Jefferson Coliseum
April 13; El Paso, Texas, El Paso Convention Center
April 14; Albuquerque, N.M., Tingley Coliseum
April 15; Phoenix, Ariz., Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavilion
April 16; San Diego, Calif., San Diego Sports Arena
April 17; Anaheim, Calif., Arrowhead Pond