The multimillionaire rapper who opened for Ice Cube in 2001
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The multimillionaire rapper who opened for Ice Cube in 2001

Ice Cube is a West Coast icon and has performed worldwide as part of NWA and as a solo artist. However, in 2000, the emcee (real name O’Shea Jackson) embarked on a 44-day North America tour with Xzibit, Nate Dogg, Warren G, and Kurupt. However, a now-legendary lyricist opened up for him.

Jackson was the headlining act of the ‘Up In Smoke’ tour, which boasted an exclusively West Coast bill and even saw surprise performances from Snoop Dogg. However, one artist who had just broken into the mainstream opened up for the ‘No Vaseline’ rhymer, and that was Eminem.

In 2000, Eminem was pretty fresh and had only been in the limelight for one year. Meanwhile, Jackson had been a star since the mid-1980s. As an opening act, the Detroit star (real name Marshall Mathers) was under the other MCs. However, in a recent interview, Ice Cube explained how he ran rings around them and likened the lineup to the “hip-hop Avengers.”

Recalling the 2000 ‘Up In Smoke’ tour, Jackson recounted, “That was the first tour that I took my sons on. 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.”

He continued, “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 was on. He could’ve headlined!”

He concluded, “It’s just with the best teams. 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.”

Dr Dre was also a part of the ‘Up in Smoke’ tour, and the North America leg was a huge success that saw over 50 dates across the US and Canada. You can hear Ice Cube speaking about Eminem on the tour in the video below.