It's clear with his "Best Rapper Alive" proclamations that Lil Wayne wants to be remembered among the greats. And with an extensive and well-regarded catalog, he may already be there. Still, during Wayne's MTV "Unplugged" special, set to air Sunday, June 12, the Young Money CEO pays homage to another rap legend: Tupac Shakur.
"I knew because this is my 'Unplugged,' I said, 'I want to do some kind of tribute to one of those great artists,' " Wayne explained to us of why he chose to perform the fallen MC's 1996 single "Hail Mary." "It's just something about 'Pac and I," he said after the show's taping last month.
"I picked that second verse, 'Penitentiaries is packed with promise makers,' and I was like, 'That whole verse is just perfect — they never realized the precious time that they wasting.' "
"Hail Mary" appeared on Tupac's The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, which he recorded under the alias Makaveli. Although 'Pac finished the album before he was fatally gunned down on September 7, 1996, the LP wasn't released until after he died. The track has been covered by quite a few rap artists, including Eminem, 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes, who remade the classic together in 2003 with a dis aimed at then-rival Ja Rule. The iconic song has never been covered by Weezy, though, until now.
Last November, DJ Khaled appeared on "RapFix Live" and drew comparisons between Wayne and 'Pac, noting Weezy's eight-month incarceration for attempted gun possession, his work ethic and overall likability.
"Ain't nobody have that impact since Tupac. Lil Wayne is a genius and he's a great person. He's always showed love to everybody. You can't say anything bad about Wayne," Khaled told host Sway. "So when he was on vacation, it didn't feel like he was gone. He dropped the album and it went #1. He was in every video. It was just as big. Now he's home. When he was on vacation, he was that powerful. Imagine what he's about to do."
Don't miss "MTV2 Presents: Lil Wayne Unplugged," premiering Sunday, June 12, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV2, MTV and MTV.com.