Influential and often controversial New York rapper Nas (Nasir Jones) is heading out this summer on two intertwined tours — the 21-date Jones Experience and 10-date Rock the Bells 2008 International Festival Series. Nas is touring in support of his as yet untitled, ninth studio album and will hit the road July 19 in Chicago, IL, and finish up on September 6 in Quincy, WA.

The Jones Experience is “a big show in an intimate venue,” Nas said in a statement. The tour will also feature special guests Talib Kweli, Jay Electronica and DJ Green Lantern. The shows will take place in between Nas’ appearances on this summer’s Rock the Bells 2008 International Festival Series, which will also features Jay Electronica, DJ Green Lantern and Q-Tip.

“I felt this experience was important because I wanted to touch my fans in an intimate setting with this new album,” added Nas. “All the fans that have supported me over the years, I truly appreciate it, and this is my way of giving back. My album drops on July 15, and I hope to take the movement from the stores to the stage. Bootleg it or buy it. Just make sure you got it.”

The disc is the follow up to his hugely successful, Grammy-nominated album “Hip-Hop Is Dead,” which entered the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 in December 2006. The set features collaborations with multiple MCs, musicians and producers including Busta Rhymes, Mark Ronson, the Dapkings, DJ Green Lantern, DJ Toomp, Stic.Man from Dead Prez, Stargate, DJ Cool & Dre and tourmate Jay Electronica.

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Kweli and Nas also performed on the same bill last summer as part of the 2007 Rock the Bells Festival Series. “It is an honor to tour with a legend like Nas, particularly at the point in his career where he is finding ways to make his music even more relevant,” added Kweli.

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Nas tour dates
(Dates subject to change)

July 19 Chicago, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre *
July 20 Toronto Arrow Hall *
July 22 Montreal, QB Metropolis
July 24 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
July 25 New Haven, CT Toad’s Place
July 26 Boston, MA Comcast Center *
July 27 Washington, DC Merriweather Post Pavilion *
July 29 Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend
July 30 Charleston, SC Music Farm
July 31 Atlanta, GA Center Stage
August 1 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
August 2 Miami, FL Bicentennial Park *
August 3 New York, NY Jones Beach Amphitheatre *
August 8 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
August 9 Los Angeles, CA Glen Helen Pavilion *
August 10 San Diego, CA House of Blues
August 14 Reno, NV New Oasis
August 15 Chico, CA Senator Theatre
August 16 San Francisco, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre *
August 22 Park City, UT Harry O’s
August 23 Denver, CO Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre *
August 24 Austins, TX Emo’s
August 25 Houston, TX Warehouse Live
August 26 Dallas, TX House of Blues
August 28 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
August 29 Detroit, MI Chene Park
August 30 Champaign, IL Canopy Club
September 3 St. Louis, MO The Pageant
September 4 Milwaukee, WI The Rave
September 5 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
September 6 Quincy, WA The Gorge Amphitheatre *

* Rock The Bells tour dates