Saturday night, on stage 16 at Paramount Studios, Wayne and Pain were running through the crowd practicing for the VMAs — well, through running the area where the audience will sit Sunday night during the show. The only celebs in attendance were Kanye West, who was waiting for his rehearsal, and a certain international star who may or may not be working with Wayne and Pain.
"He's a little agile mutha----a, ain't he?" Pain exclaimed after Weezy made a leap from the floor to the stage with ease. "How'd he jump on that stage like that? [To Wayne:] Don't you ever leave me like that again! I feel fatter than a muthaf----a! He needs to be in the Olympics. He jumped up there with no hands — one bunny hop! I almost bust my a--! I gotta get up onstage in sections: one leg, one knee."
Despite the jokes, Wayne and Pain are taking the big show very seriously. Both agree it will be the highest-profile performance of their careers to date.
"Right now it is," Wayne said during a break. "[Sunday], to me, is the biggest day of my career. I've never performed on the VMAs. [My publicist] tried to tell me, 'You performed last year, baby.' That wasn't performing for the VMAs: That was performing in room-something. There was a big stage, that I did not touch last year, that I'm on this year. And I have my own symphony to the left of that stage. I'm gonna kill it. I will not disappoint. I will leave it all out there.
"I got the God [with me], T-Pain, of course," the Fireman added. "He's gonna help me. I don't need nothing after that, but I think we got a few more things we gonna pull out the hat."
Weezy is also scheduled to perform with Kid Rock at the show.
With a chance to pull off an iconic moment at stake, Wayne sat down and devised a plot to make his main show set one for the record books.
"I thought it out," he said, "and that's very scary. For me to plan something and execute it, that's when I murder the world. And I'm gonna murder that performance."
Wayne's is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated performances of the VMAs, but who is he checking for Sunday night?
"I don't wanna say who I want to see, 'cause they have boyfriends, and I'm cool with their boyfriends," he said. "And I don't want their boyfriends to take it the wrong way when I say that's who I want to see. But I'm like any other man. That's who I want to see."
When the question was clarified that "seeing" in fact meant "watching performances by," Wayne said he's looking forward to two of his "Swagger Like Us" co-stars: Kanye West and T.I.
"I just saw 'Ye perform for the first time in my life," Wayne smiled. "He put something in me that I will never forget. So of course I wanna see 'Ye. I heard T.I.'s performing: That's my big brother right there. To see him onstage and see what he's gonna do — I'm an emotional dude, I might drop a tear or something."