Led by Public Enemy, one of hip-hop's most influential and highly political acts, the Smokin' Grooves tour will march through 30 North American cities this summer, stopping everywhere from Montreal to San Diego.
After weeks of uncertainty and conflicting reports, promoters have confirmed that the original Public Enemy lineup will be reuniting to top the bill of the third Smokin' Grooves tour.
The influential hip-hop group, led by political rapper Chuck D and flamboyant foil Flavor Flav, is currently back on the charts with the soundtrack to the film "He Got Game." But earlier this month, the group's publicist said that PE had decided not to join Smokin' Grooves. A deal struck last week, however, secured the headlining slot for the pioneering hip-hoppers.
As previously announced, the hip-hop-heavy tour produced by the House of Blues nightclub chain will also feature ganja-rappers Cypress Hill, Caribbean carnival rappers Wyclef Jean and the Refugee Allstars, clown prince Busta Rhymes, underground legends Gang Starr and up-and-comers Canibus, Cam'Ron and Charli Baltimore. The tour will play 31 shows in 30 North American cities, kicking off on July 22 in Rochester, N.Y., and wrapping up on Aug. 29 in Bristow, Va.
Fans in hip-hop circles have been calling this a dream lineup. At a Sunday night Goodie Mob/Roots/P.A./Witchdoctor show in San Francisco, rap enthusiasts were gearing up for the tour's stop in nearby Concord, Calif. "It's a tight lineup," 22-year-old Jon Rice said. "I like the mix of the old and new and I'm hella psyched to check out Public Enemy."
For rap fan Michelle Nichols, 26, the tour represents a great combo of her favorite acts. "I've seen Busta, Wyclef and Cypress Hill before," she explained, "and they all were great."
And fans such as Nichols, who thought they'd lost the chance to see Public Enemy on the Smokin' Grooves tour, are anxious to attend the show.
"I've always wanted to check out Public Enemy," Nichols said. "So you know I'll be in line for tickets!"
The traveling funk festival has boasted impressive lineups in its two previous go-arounds. This is Cypress Hill's third Smokin' Grooves tour, while Busta Rhymes and Wyclef Jean both appeared on the tour's first journey through the U.S. (with Wyclef as a member of the Fugees). Other acts that have played Smokin' Grooves include R&B songstress Erykah Badu, funkateers the Brand New Heavies and "conscious" rappers A Tribe Called Quest.
Smokin' Grooves Tour Dates:
July 22; Rochester, N.Y., To Be Announced
July 23; Montreal, Que., Jarry Park
July 24; Mansfield, Mass., Great Woods Center
July 25; Hartford, Conn., Meadows Music Theatre
July 26; Holmdel, N.J., P.N.C. Arts Center
July 28; Camden, N.J., E-Center
July 29; Clarkston, Mich., Pine Knob Music Center
July 31; Chicago, Ill., International Amphitheater
Aug. 1; Columbus, Ohio, Polaris Amphitheater
Aug. 3; Atlanta, Ga., Lakewood Amphitheater
Aug. 5; Corpus Christie, Texas, Texas Sky Park
Aug. 6; Houston, Texas, Astro Arena
Aug. 7; Dallas, Texas, Coca-Cola Starplex
Aug. 8; Kansas City, Mo., Sandstone
Aug. 9; Denver, Colo., Red Rocks
Aug. 11; El Paso, Texas, County Coliseum
Aug. 12; Phoenix, Ariz., Desert Sky
Aug. 13; Los Angeles, Calif., Universal Amphitheatre
Aug. 14; Los Angeles, Calif., Universal Amphitheatre
Aug. 15; San Diego, Calif., Coors Amphitheater
Aug. 16; Concord, Calif., Concord Pavilion
Aug. 18; Seattle, Wash., Key Arena
Aug. 21; To Be Announced
Aug. 22; St. Louis, Mo., Riverport Parking Lot
Aug. 23; Indianapolis, Ind., Deer Creek Music Center
Aug. 24; Nashville, Tenn., Starwood
Aug. 26; Charlotte, N.C., Blockbuster Pavilion
Aug. 27; Raleigh, N.C., Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Aug. 28; Virginia Beach, Va., GTE Amphitheater
Aug. 29, Bristow, Va., Nissan Pavilion