BLACK VOICES

No Respect For Hip-Hop's O.G.s: Why Many Legendary MCs Still Need To Hustle

02/26/2015 12:01 pm ET | Updated Feb 26, 2015
John Davisson/Invision/AP

Imagine Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Led Zeppelin embarking on a 32-city tour together. Picture the legions of aging Baby Boomers who would throw heaps of cash at the chance to hold their lighters in the air and watch four legendary classic rock acts do their thing on the same damn stage. Imagine the monstrous shows around the country at mega-venues like the Staples Center and Madison Square Garden.

In 2013, hip-hop luminaries LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, and De La Soul hit the road together for the “Kings of the Mic” tour. One of hip-hop’s most consistent hitmakers with over 20 years of smash singles in his repertoire; the titans of political rap who have one of the best live shows in the genre; the gangsta rap godfather whose first three albums alone can fill up a set list; and the Native Tongues’ longest-running act. When these icons of classic hip-hop hit the road, they were booked into venues like the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan, The Fox Theater in Atlanta, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. These are respectable amphitheaters, but a far cry from 20,000-seaters like The Garden.

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