XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Sept. 6, 2000: In February of 1999, Jay-Z headlined the Hard Knock Life Tour, which included performances from DMX, Method Man, Redman, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel and other rap superstars. The all-star trek was the highest-grossing hip-hop tour of that year. On this day in 2000, the music documentary Backstage, which chronicled the historic tour, opened in theaters.
Produced by Roc-A-Fella Records founder Damon Dash and directed by Chris Fiore, the documentary film Backstage offered an unfettered look at the behind-the-scenes antics during the 1999 Hard Knock Life Tour. “You hear the music, but [you see] the things we do behind [the] stage—the feelings, the emotions, and all that,” Jay-Z told MTV News about the flick.
The Hard Knock Life Tour kicked off in Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 27, 1999, and embarked on a 54-city journey. The trek was initially met with resistance from critics who feared violence would result from competing rap acts on the same stage. None of that happened. The multi-group hip-hop tour wrapped up successfully on May 2, 1999, in Louisville, Ky., without an incident of violence.
The jaunt generated over $18 million in revenue. During a post-tour press conference, Damon Dash dismissed the naysayers who had predicted the tour would be a breeding ground for violence. “People were saying someone’s going to die on that tour,” he recalled at the conference. “[But] there was no violence and no fights.” The music executive proclaimed it was the most successful hip-hop tour ever. “We set a precedent not just for rap tours, but for all music tours,” he stated.
Backstage grossed over $1.3 million worldwide at the box office, according to IMDB.com. Meanwhile, the accompanying soundtrack, co-executive produced by DJ Clue, was released and hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop chart the week of Sept. 16, 2000. Additionally, the soundtrack reached gold status on Dec. 4, 2000, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).