When Sports & Entertainment Financial Group's Shawn Gee signed on last fall as the producer/business manager of Lil Wayne's planned tour of North American arenas and amphitheaters, his mission was to "help redefine Wayne within the touring market," Gee says.

The move seems to have paid off well: Lil Wayne's 2008-2009 tour grossed about $42 million and drew nearly 804,000 fans to 78 concerts, according to Gee (billboard.biz, Sept. 8). The numbers make it the most lucrative rap tour that Billboard has ever tracked, topping Jay-Z's 2008 jaunt with Mary J. Blige, which grossed $34.6 million and drew 310,694 concertgoers to 28 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Lil Wayne will likely also earn a spot on Billboard's year-end list of the top 25 grossing tours, a rare feat for a hip-hop artist. The rapper's 2008-2009 tour was split into three legs (starting Dec. 14, 2008, and wrapping Sept. 6) and featured support on various dates by Keyshia Cole, T-Pain, Gym Class Heroes, Keri Hilson, Young Jeezy, Drake, Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, Jeremih and Pleasure P. Haymon Events/Live Nation exclusively promoted all of the shows.

Gee is no stranger to ambitious rap tours, having also produced Kanye West's 2008 Glow in the Dark tour, which rang in $30.8 million from 49 concerts that attracted 507,853 fans, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Two days before Lil Wayne's tour wrapped Sept. 6 at the BankAtlantic Center near Miami, Gee spoke with Billboard about the tour's packaging, how he convinced venues and promoters to book the shows and the rapper's international touring plans.

What was your strategy going into Lil Wayne's North American tour?
No. 1, we wanted to go out and prove that Wayne was a real headline arena artist. We wanted to make sure we put together a package and over-delivered to the consumer. That was the key word I kept stressing to management: over-deliver. We were planning this last fall . . . so we were actually planning a tour at the time where all venues and promoters were shying away because of what was happening with the economy. Once we laid out the plan, we sought out the best partner. Wayne's lawyer was able to strike a great deal with Al Haymon of Haymon Events. Al is associated with Live Nation, but we were dealing 100% exclusively with Al. We went over the strategy with him and he bought into it 100%.

It's unusual to see hip-hop artists play arenas and amphitheaters. What made you believe Lil Wayne could pull off a tour of this size?
The demand was there. Obviously the album ["Tha Carter III," which has sold 3.2 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan] was extremely successful. He's had a history of performing, so there's a segment of his base that knows him as a live performer. But ultimately the demand was there. We just had to make sure that the plan and the execution was such that we properly satisfy the demand.

We strategically put the I Am Music package together to make sure that all segments of Wayne's fan base would be interested in one, if not all of the opening acts. We had T-Pain as an opening act, who's had hits over all formats of radio; we had Keyshia Cole, who is more of an urban-leaning female; and we had Gym Class Heroes, which is more alternative.

If I rolled out with a 100% hip-hop package, then maybe the alternative kids or the females that love Wayne would've been scared off. And if I rolled out with a total alternative package, maybe some of Wayne's hip-hop core may not have been interested in the show.

There seems to be a negative stigma associated with hip-hop touring in the concert business. Were venues and promoters hesitant to book these shows?
People were very hesitant. I think very few of them had ever experienced Lil Wayne in their venue or on tour. But ultimately they were very hesitant based on reputation. So I surrounded Wayne with a team of experienced people. I brought in a very experienced production manager. I brought out the same venue security team that went out with Beyoncé—they had played all these venues multiple times, so when we were advancing security, it was a familiar voice on the phone. When we were advancing production, it was a familiar voice on the phone. So we insulated the existing Wayne team, and literally all he needed to do was put together his creative, get off his bus, walk to the stage, perform, walk back off the stage, get back on his bus and roll. That was the protocol for each of the 78 shows.

Click here to read more about Lil Wayne's decision to not sign with a booking agent, the rapper's international touring plans, and Gee's thoughts about the state of hip-hop touring.