Rock the Mic Tour

Apart from the summertime hits of Fabolous and Sean Paul, the crowd will definitely be moved by the veteran hip-hop showmen at the top of the bill, Jigga Man and Busta. For the past five or six years, those two have been among the pre-eminent rap hit makers; if you gonna be big pimpin', you've got to have Courvoisier to pass around. Their performances are sure to be tight: Jay-Z and Busta will flow in their idiosyncratic poetic styles like triple-filtered premium liquor. The value of your tickets really rests on those two solid performers.

But the value of your experience will depend on the 50 Cent set. After 5 million units moved in a little more than six months, it's 50 Cent and the G Unit that everyone will run to see. 50 has ridiculous street cred: Even if it were a marketing story, being shot nine times makes you thuggish straight to your bone marrow. Some questions still linger about 50: Do the live shows swing as hard as Dre's production does on the album--and isn't it Dre who makes the record so attractive? Is Eminem for real when he rhymes: "Take some Big and some Pac/Mix 'em up in a pot/Spring a little bit/Yellow top/What the fuck do you got?" Is 50 really the next phase? As 50 puts it himself: "If David/Could go against/Goliath with a stone/I can go/At Nas and Jigga/Both wit da chrome." Really? You mean the mike, right?

Jay-Z is fronting the tour, so the fellas must be on good terms now. And questions aside, this is a show that will be loud, fun and gangsta. (Haven't we come a long way? Hip-hop is worldwide and selling out large outdoor tours). Count on Fabolous and Sean Paul to gas up the crowd and have them frenzied for the headliners. Count on 50, too. But we know that if he falters slightly (he's got to be tired after becoming a superstar so quickly), Busta and Jay-Z will keep it hot like the "rock stars" they are. Jigga what!