A flurry of hip-hop shows are set to blow through town this holiday season, featuring everyone from Drake to Jay Z to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Not sure which tickets to spring for? Pop & Hiss is here to help with a guide on which shows are worth gifting.
For unashamed, navel-gazing rap fans. From affairs of the heart to hedonistic decadence, Drake has soundtracked his many highs and countless lows. His cleverly named Would You Like a Tour? tour supports his latest chart-topper of self-referential, and wholly relatable, missives, "Nothing Was the Same." Miguel, Future and Jhene Aiko are also along for the ride. (Staples Center, Nov. 25)
For the lover of regional sounds. Whether it's gangsta rhymes from the West Coast, precision wordplay from the East Coast or rawer fare from smaller patches across the U.S., West Coast Feast 2 is one of the few tours around that features it all. It pairs Midwest chopper kings Bone Thugs-N-Harmony with the bouncy gangsta-funk of Warren G and DJ Quik. (The Belasco, Nov. 27)
Fresh Fest 2013 reaches deeper into regional roots featuring Bay Area legends E-40 and Too Short, West Coast gangsta revivalist the Game, Southern throwback Mystical and Queens emcee Ja Rule. (Nokia Theatre, Dec. 28)
For the Watch the Throne loyalist. Back when Jay Z and Kanye West announced they had teamed for a joint project, you could almost hear the collective gasps of rap fanatics everywhere. Their 2011 album was massive, and the duo's supporting tour broke records.
As fans await a sequel, they can catch the heavyweights, separately. After a summer outing with Justin Timberlake, Jay is rolling solo with his Magna Carter World Tour (Staples Center, Dec. 9) and Kanye West brings his ambitious (if not problematic) Yeezus tour to Orange County for a makeup date. (Honda Center, Dec. 13)
For the socially conscious listener. Radio will always be home to bass-heavy club-bangers. Unfortunately most of today's rap hits are embedded with the usual tropes (money, cars, women, etc.), but Macklemore & Ryan Lewis broke out with songs condemning homophobia and rap's penchant for consumerism. They completely won over rap purists, and tapping underground favorite Big Krit and veteran spitter Talib Kweli should give their arena tour some street cred. (Staples Center, Dec. 4)
Common, however, has long made a career out of painting with social and political hues in his music -- even though occasional deviations have garnered varying results for the vet. (House of Blues, Dec. 30)
For the rap nerd. For the one who consumes it all -- from underground mixtapes to chart-toppers -- Power 106's Cali Christmas is a can't-miss grab bag of acts currently dominating the rap conversation. This year's lineup features L.A. breakout Kendrick Lamar and his Top Dawg Entertainment brethren Schoolboy Q, Jay-Rock, Ab-Soul, wunderkind J. Cole, radio kings Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, B.o.b., and buzzy names such as Kid Ink and Sage The Gemini. (Honda Center, Dec. 14)
Pusha T forged his solo career after winning over fans and critics as half of brother duo the Clipse. His mixtapes and guest verses on radio hits fueled his rise all the way to Coachella and Rock the Bells this year-- not to mention a critically acclaimed album. (Tru Hollywood, Dec. 3)