The hip-hop tour is a strange link between the end of the last millennium and the beginning of this one.
Due to the highly sampled nature of the genre, Hip-Hop songs often cannot be completely recreated live. It would be quite a spectacular feat if Kanye West were to resurrect Curtis Mayfield to let rip the heavily sampled 'Move On Up' each time he performs his legendary track 'Touch The Sky', but to my knowledge this isn't yet possible - even for Yeezus.
As a result of this unfortunate limitation, hip hop shows are often performed with some sort of backing track. Recorded songs rarely sound as authentic as original, live instrumentation. Commonly in concerts, we see a lone rapper standing on stage in front of thousands of adoring supporters, like some musically elected politician. The artist proceeds to perform a range of songs, from their greatest hits to the tracks that only their most loyal fans will know.
Some argue that the lack of live instrumentation can make for quite an empty experience. But I would argue that it gives artists an incredible level of freedom. Freedom that has been taken advantage of to produce some weird and wonderful artistic experiences. Specifically, I've got five of these such experiences that I'd love to tell you about. We'll be releasing them article by article over the next few weeks to give you the chance to dig into each of them.
1. Eminem's "Anger Management Tours"
Originally founded by Papa Roach and Limp Bizkit, The Anger Management Tour was a musical experience that quickly found its star in Eminem, the livid rapper sky-rocketing to global fame. The tour was hailed as a set of shows that set America on fire.
Explosive posters were plastered across the USA. By his next tour, the Anger Management Tour 2 in 2002, Eminem had established himself as a global artist. Two shows were played in Asia, and he recieved rave reviews on account of the raw production value and passion captured within each the shows. If you still don’t believe in this pungently early noughties rage, have a look:
The tour returned again in 2005. Once more, Eminem tore away at crowds. This time he was joined by an equally established star, 50 Cent. The two performed massive hits such as "Patiently Waiting", which you can hear below. The whole saga ended the only way global temper tantrums like this could end, with utter exhaustion. On August 17th 2005, Eminem’s label Interscope released a statement confirming that he would be cancelling his 8 remaining European tour dates.
Though some might consider this a bitter end, in my opinion the Anger Management Tours displayed a group of influential rappers at their pinnacle. Perhaps we haven't seen that level of musical royalty on the stage since. They did not belong to the pop era of Hip Hop. This was a working class rooted royalty, led my Eminem. It was one that harnessed universal anger and frustration, and consistently converted that energy into amazing multimedia productions that millions of people could get behind and share a collective catharisis, rather than increasing negative sentiments through toxic political tracts.
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