Ice Cube takes a moment to reflect on the Up In Smoke tour, where a young Eminem was holding it down in as an opener.
Though Eminem has collaborated on wax with a variety of Up In Smoke Tour veterans — including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, and Xzibit — there was one key figure with whom he never linked. Though Em did mention Ice Cube in his beloved “Renegade” closing verse, he never actually linked up with the NWA lyricist.
Still, that’s not to say there isn’t plenty of mutual respect between both parties. In fact, Ice Cube recently spoke about his experience touring with a young Eminem during the Up In Smoke days, sharing a few reflections during an interview with HipHopDX.
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“That was the first tour that I took my sons on,” explains Cube, a smile on his face. “I’m like, ‘Y’all hanging with me. Y’all ’bout to grow up.’ And you know, I had them rolling with me, and just having the energy of all those humongous groups. I mean, at the time, Eminem was opening up, you know?! Like, after Warren G, Eminem was going on. So that just shows you the level that we were at, that we were on. He could’ve headlined.”
“It’s just being with the best teams,” he continues. “You talk about the [U.S. Olympic] Dream Team or the ’90s Bulls, the ’80s Lakers, Shaq and Kobe, it’s up there. You know you’re at a point where it gets no better than this.”
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To this day, there are many who might agree, naming Up In Smoke to be the pinnacle of hip-hop touring. You can tell how epic it truly was based on those who experienced it first-hand, including Xzibit. When we spoke with the Restless rapper, he shared a few incredible memories from his touring days, including the time that Tyrese was forced to replace Nate Dogg after the melodist got arrested. “I remember Tyrese was on stage and he didn’t know the words to the fucking song!” laughed X. “And it was like the biggest song on the fucking planet!”
Perhaps one day we’ll see a reprisal of the Up In Smoke Tour — unlikely though it may be. Still, Dr. Dre has been working on an ambitious new album, so who really knows?