Snoop, Diddy launch hip-hop peace tour

ImageU.S. rap stars Sean "Diddy" Combs and Snoop Dogg, who were bitter rivals in a notorious feud between East and West Coast hip-hop in the 1990s, said on Friday they had buried the hatchet once and for all.

At a news conference in Helsinki to launch a joint European tour, they said they had "moved on" from the days when members of the two music scenes clashed rather than collaborated.

"That was a time in history," Combs told reporters ahead of the tour's opening concert. Snoop Dogg's Web site lists 22 gigs, ending in Nottingham, England, on April 2.

"We want to entertain, we want to make music, we want to make people feel good," said Combs, 37. "We ain't no gangsters. We are men first, we are fathers.

"Everybody has a past; everybody grows up, matures and moves on. And right now our mission is to make people dance and feel good."

During the 1990s feud, Combs represented the east, as head of the New York-based Bad Boy Entertainment, while Snoop Dogg was the top act for rival Death Row Records in Los Angeles, California.

The battle was fought largely through public pronouncements and antagonistic lyrics, but it did occasionally spill into violence.

Rivalry marked by shootings

Tupac Shakur, a hugely successful rapper in the 1990s who recorded some albums on the Death Row label, was mortally wounded in a shooting shot in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1996.

The following year, 10 years ago Friday, Notorious B.I.G., a leading East Coast rap and hip-hop star, was killed in a shooting in Los Angeles.

Snoop Dogg, 35, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, said Notorious B.I.G. would be amused to see the two musicians linking up.

"He is going to be smiling when he sees me and Puff (Combs) on the stage today," said the California rapper.

"That is all that matters, that the spirit of hip-hop lives on. Everything that was not right, we are getting right."

Combs added: "God works in mysterious ways. This day was not booked up when we started the tour. ... It's definitely an emotional day for me and Snoop as well. We never forget our brothers."

While the talk on Friday was of maturity and peace, both rappers have had run-ins with the law recently.

Combs is being sued by a man who said the artist punched him outside a Hollywood nightclub, which he denies.

And Snoop Dogg pleaded innocent in January to possession of a deadly weapon after he was stopped by airport security officers with what they said was a collapsible baton.

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