Dates Set For Blockbuster R. Kelly Tour

Rappers Foxy Brown, Busta Rhymes and Nas among acts to tour with R&B star.

The blockbuster R&B/rap tour featuring R. Kelly, Foxy Brown, Busta Rhymes

and Nas will hit 30 cities in May and June, according to a tour itinerary

released Tuesday (March 23) by Kelly's label, Jive Records.

Besides R&B star Kelly and the three platinum rappers, the tour will

feature R&B singers Deborah Cox and Kelly Price, as well as a Kelly

protégé, pop/R&B singer Sparkle.

It's scheduled to start May 5 in Richmond, Va., and continue for the

rest of the month along the East Coast, into the Midwest and throughout

the South. In June the tour will hit Texas, California, Nevada and Idaho.

Tickets for the first few dates went on sale Saturday. A show scheduled

for May 8 in Uniondale, N.Y., is nearly sold out, said tour executive

producer Lew Rose.

"We were getting calls like crazy" about the show, although tickets still

remain, said Becky Regrut, marketing manager for the Richmond (Va.)

Coliseum.

Rose said the time is right for hip-hop and R&B arena shows. "If that's

what the kids are listening to, that's what we should give 'em," he said,

citing the popularity of such hip-hop and R&B radio stations as New York's

Hot 97.

The tour is intended to promote Kelly's latest album, R, on which

both Nas and Foxy Brown appear. Nas raps on the song "Money Makes the

World Go Round" and Brown appears on a similarly themed track, "Dollar

Bill." The two-CD set also includes "I'm Your Angel," a duet with diva

Celine Dion.

Kelly's biggest hits have been "Bump N' Grind," from the album 12

Play (1993), and "I Believe I Can Fly"

(RealAudio excerpt) which appeared on the Space Jam soundtrack (1996).

Nas is known for weaving complex lyrical dramas from the experiences he had growing up in New York's rough Queensbridge projects. His third album, I Am ..., is due April 6. His previous albums, Illmatic (1994) and It Was Written (1996), were hits with hard-core rap fans and mainstream critics alike.

Foxy Brown has won notoriety for her sexually provocative persona and titillating lyrics. Her second album, Chyna Doll (1999), features "Hot Spot"

(RealAudio excerpt) and boasts guest appearances by hip-hop luminaries

DMX and Jay-Z.

Along with rappers AZ and Dr. Dre, Brown and Nas are members of the

Firm, who released their self-titled album in 1997.

Busta Rhymes' recent work has mixed quirky rhymes and innovative

production with warnings of a coming apocalypse. His third album,

Extinction Level Event (1998), includes "This Means War!!"

(RealAudio excerpt), which features heavy-metal legend Ozzy Osbourne and

has won airtime for the rapper on modern-rock radio stations.

Tour Dates for R. Kelly, Foxy Brown, Busta Rhymes and Nas:

May 5; Richmond, Va., Richmond Coliseum

May 6; Philadelphia, Pa., First Union Center

May 7; Boston, Mass., Fleet Center

May 8; Uniondale, N.Y., Nassau Coliseum

May 9; Washington D.C., MCI Center

May 12; Toronto, Ontario, Air Canada Center

May 13; Cleveland, Ohio, CSU Convocation Center

May 14; Indianapolis, Ind., Market Square Arena

May 15; Chicago, Ill., United Center

May 16; Detroit, Mich., Joe Louis Arena

May 18; Kansas City, Mo., Kemper Arena

May 20; Memphis, Tenn., Pyramid

May 21; Nashville, Tenn., Davidson County Nashville Arena

May 22; Columbus, Ohio, Schottenstein Center

May 23; Buffalo, N.Y., Marine Midland Arena

May 24; Albany, N.Y., Pepsi Arena

May 26; St. Louis, Mo., Kiel Center

May 28; Greensboro, N.C. Greensboro Coliseum

May 29; Charlotte, N.C., Charlotte Coliseum

May 30; Atlanta, Ga., Lakewood Amphitheatre

June 1; Houston, Texas, Compaq Center

June 3; Phoenix, Ariz., America West

June 4; San Diego, Calif., Sports Arena

June 5; Las Vegas, Nev., Grand Garden Arena

June 6; Irvine, Calif., Irvine Meadows Amphitheater

June 7; San Jose, Calif., San Jose Arena

June 9; Boise, Idaho, BSU Pavillion

June 10; Portland, Ore., Rose Garden Arena

June 11; George, Wash., The Gorge

June 13; Vancouver, British Columbia, G.M. Place