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Exclusive: How Hugh Jackman Pulled Off His Tonys Rap

'I was riding high after the performance,' the host tells us.

By Josh Horowitz

In a night filled with surprising moments — from Hugh Jackman’s hopping frenzy to Carole King’s rousing duet with her theatrical doppelganger — it was a hip hop inspired rendition from “The Music Man” that provoked the most questions. For one, how did LL Cool J and T.I. hook up with Tonys host Jackman for the memorable performance?

MTV News can exclusively shed light on the super-secretive Tonys moment. A source close to Jackman gave us the inside scoop on how it all came to be, plus the host shared a few exclusive words with us about the buzzy performance.

It Was Years In The Making
The idea of the performance actually has its roots in a nearly two-year-old “Tonight Show” appearance in which Jackman sang a bit of “Music Man.” Our source explained that Jackman’s rapid-fire singing always sounded like rapping to him in his head. When Jackman signed on as Tonys host four months ago, he expressed his idea to perform this unusual rendition to the producers and they immediately responded to it.

It Was The Best Kept Secret Of The Tonys
Outside of a select few, nobody but nobody knew about the performance. Jackman met with Questlove, who helped create the beat, and LL and T.I. joined him in three top-secret rehearsals in the past week. Frankly, Jackman and his team were shocked the secret collaboration never leaked. Jackman gave much of the credit for the performance to LL and T.I., telling us, “They were able to carry me through and help me. I was riding high after the performance.”

Jackman Isn’t Launching A Rap Career
In the final rehearsal, LL bestowed Jackman with the moniker, Biggie Tap Shoes. While appreciative, Jackman joked he was hoping for something a little tougher. So is this the start of a new hip-hop career for Jackman? He told MTV News exclusively, “I’m not quitting my day job.”