Nas, Mos Def and EPMD Embark on International Rock the Bells Festival Series

Veteran rhymesayers Nas and Mos Def will be among the artists carrying the banner of Hip-Hop overseas for the Rock the Bells 2008 International Festival Series. The SanDisk-sponsored outing, which kicks off Oct. 31 in Prague, CzechRepublic, marks its first appearance outside the US with scheduled stops in Amsterdam, Stockholm and Paris before concluding Nov. 12 at Manchester’s Apollo.

The chance to take part in a major milestone in Rock the Bells and Hip-Hop history proved to be too good to pass up, according to Nas.

"I've been down with Rock The Bells since day one, and I'm excited to be a part of Hip-Hop history for the first Rock The Bells festivals in Europe," said the Queensbridge rapper, who will perform classic songs in addition to new material from his latest release Untitled. "It’s an honor and blessing to share the stage with so many artists that I truly love and appreciate on so many levels."

Like Nas, Mos Def will take the stage to perform new tracks from his highly anticipated new album The Ecstatic.

The rappers won’t be the only entertainers on hand for the international Rock the Bells trek.

All four original members of the Los Angeles-based collective the Pharcyde will reunite on stage for the event, which also includes performances by Supernatural, former Roots member Scratch, De La Soul and EPMD, who will join the tour in Prague, Amsterdam and Birmingham.

"When I first heard the line-up for Rock The Bells, all I could think was what more can anyone ask for?," said Dave, aka Plug Two from De La Soul. "If there ever was a hip-hop tour that made reminiscing more pleasant, Rock The Bells ’08 was it…and now to go to Europe, can’t wait!"

The inaugural European Rock the Bells festival series comes amid the recent conclusion of the outing’s 10-city US leg at The Gorge in George, WA.

The show's line up of artists is a dream come true for event organizer Chang Weisberg, who feels the tour’s initial shows "represent the beginning of our long-term commitment to bring quality Hip-hop events on a more regular basis globally."

"We are thrilled that Rock The Bells is launching its inaugural series of festivals in Europe. It is the first American hip-hop platform to do so," Weisberg said. "We appreciate the enthusiastic support of all our partners especially SanDisk, Live Nation, and all the fans who love quality live music experiences."

The following is a list of Rock the Bells 2008 International Festival Series dates.

The BBC’s digital Black Music station, 1Xtra, will have exclusive interviews and live music from the UK leg of the tour.

For details, visit www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra/events.

Oct. 31 — Prague, Czech Republic — T-Mobile Arena —Nas, Mos Def, De La Soul, The Pharcyde, EPMD, Supernatural and Scratch

Nov. 1 — Amsterdam, Holland — Heineken Music Hall — Nas, Mos Def, De La Soul, The Pharcyde, EPMD, Supernatural and Scratch

Nov. 4 — Stockholm, Sweden — Annexet — Nas, Mos Def, De La Soul, Supernatural and Scratch

Nov. 6 — Birmingham, UK — Birmingham Academy — Nas, Mos Def, The Pharcyde, Supernatural and Scratch

Nov. 10 — Paris, France — Zenith — Nas, Mos Def, The Pharcyde, Supernatural and Scratch

Nov. 12 — Manchester Apollo — Nas, Mos Def, The Pharcyde, Supernatural and Scratch