Lil Wayne will be the first hip-hop artist to tape an episode of MTV's "Unplugged" in a decade when he takes the stage Thursday (May 12) in Los Angeles. The episode will be aired around the time of his next album release, "Tha Carter IV."
MTV will use all of its platforms for the premiere of "MTV2 Presents: Lil Wayne Unplugged," airing it at 9 p.m. ET June 12 across MTV2, MTV and MTV.com.
MTV has had discussions with the New Orleans rapper for several years to do a performance show for the network. The timing worked out for the new album and the show "was pulled together quickly," MTV executive VP of music and talent Amy Doyle tells Billboard.biz.
"'Unplugged' is one of the most revered franchises and to get a core artist of the brand (MTV2) means we want it to be very loud in the culture," Doyle says, noting she hopes the episode is a key driver of the rapper's first-week sales.
Cash Money/Universal Motown has not yet announced a release date for the "Tha Carter IV." Having been moved from a mid-May release, the most commonly speculated date now is June 21. Weezy begins his "I Am Still Music" tour July 13 in Hartford, Conn.
The set list for the stripped-down show has been changing since Lil Wayne started going through the material. MTV asks performers to do their classics, debut new material, a cover song and bring in guest artists.
"We give them a broad menu of the things that make for a great 'Unplugged'," Doyle says. "Then it's up to the artists. (Lil Wayne) just keeps going back to his catalog. (The set list) is changing every day."
Revived over the last two years, "Unplugged" has most recently featured Adele and Lykee Li. The next rock band to do an "Unplugged" will be 30 Seconds From Mars, who will be taping an episode Friday. Their show will run on MTV.com.
"We have watched the band grow from clubs to arenas and everything has resonated with our audience, mostly in the traffic numbers on our website," Doyle says. "Their fans are so 'mobilized' it seemed like a perfect fit."