Rap legend Rakim will team with Ghostface Killah and Brother Ali for the first Hip-Hop Live! tour, which will find the artists backed by the Rhythm Roots Allstars. The 19-city trek begins Oct. 29 in Los Angeles and runs through Nov. 21 in Philadelphia.
“I did a show with the band and it was a good mesh. I enjoyed it, the fans enjoyed it. So they hollered at me for this year’s show,” Rakim tells Billboard.com.
Rakim is still planning to release a new album, “The Seventh Seal,” which he announced in the summer of 2006. The set will arrive via his own G&E Trust label but as of yet there is no release date.
“The number 7 has a lot of significance. The 7th letter of the alphabet is G — that stands for God. There are 7 continents, 7 seas. The ‘Seventh Seal’ deals with that and also some revelations in the Bible,” explains Rakim of the album title. “Some call it the end of the world but for me it’s the end of the old and the beginning of the new. By me naming my album that, I’m using it metaphorically in hip-hop. I’m hoping to kill the old state of hip-hop and start with the new.”
Though he declined to go into much detail, Rakim says there are very few guest appearances on the album, but that he will record a few more collaborative tracks in the coming weeks.
Among the songs likely to make the cut are “Divide and Conquer” (“It speaks on the state of mind of the hood and how divide can cause turmoil,” he says) and “Holy Are You (“It’s dealing with the laws we’re supposed to abide by, who we are, what are duties are,” he adds).
In addition, Rakim is prepping a DVD via G&E Trust/Koch that will feature interviews, unreleased tracks and live footage.
Here are the Hip-Hop Live! tour dates:
Oct. 29: Los Angeles (House of Blues)
Oct. 30: San Diego (4th & B)
Oct. 31: Long Beach, Calif. (the Vault)
Nov. 1: Santa Cruz, Calif. (Catalyst Club)
Nov. 2: San Francisco (Mezzanine)
Nov. 3: Portland, Ore. (Roseland)
Nov. 4: Seattle (Showbox)
Nov. 7: Park City, Utah (Harry O’s)
Nov. 8: Denver (Ogden Theatre)
Nov. 9: Aspen, Colo. (Belly Up)
Nov. 10: Kansas City, Mo. (Beaumont Theatre)
Nov. 11: Minneapolis (First Avenue)
Nov. 12: Chicago (House of Blues)
Nov. 13: Bloomington, Ind. (Bluebird)
Nov. 15: New Haven, Conn. (Toad’s Place)
Nov. 16: New York (Nokia Theatre)
Nov. 17: Baltimore (Sonar)
Nov. 18: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
Nov. 21: Philadelphia (Trocadero)