10 Iconic Hip Hop Performances on MTV

We were excited to hear that Lil Wayne recently wrapped production on an episode of MTV’s Unplugged — mostly because it marks the show’s first hip-hop performance since Jay-Z’s acoustic concert in 2001 (not because we want to hear a stripped version of “Mrs. Officer”). We hope that Wayne’s appearance will pave the way for a new generation of rappers to grace the show’s stage. This news and Lupe Fiasco’s performance on Sunday night’s MTV Movie Awards got us thinking about our favorite hip hop performances on the network. Our top ten is after the jump.

Lauryn Hill, MTV Video Music Awards (1999)

Lauryn Hill’s 1999 VMA performance demonstrates why we were so excited to hear about the famously reclusive rapper’s recent return to the stage and headlining spot on this summer’s Rock the Bells tour. Hill’s performance of “Lost Ones” and “Everything Is Everything,” singles from her groundbreaking solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, is soulful and smooth. With nothing more than a live band, some backup singers, and a mic, Hill manages to captivate the audience, proving that female emcees have just as much power and, dare we say, swag as their male peers.