'MTV Unplugged': The 15 Best Episodes

To celebrate the show's return, we look back at its greatest moments – from Jay-Z to Nirvana

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Jay-Z (2001)
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Jay-Z at 'Unplugged' Theo Wargo/WireImage3/15

3. Jay-Z (2001)

A couple of months after dropping The Blueprint, Jay-Z staged an Unplugged special at MTV Studios in New York. Crucially, he invited the Roots to serve as his backing band for the entire show. They brought an incredible live energy to songs like "Big Pimpin'," "Can I get A ..." and "Hard Knock Life," reinventing them from the ground up. Mary J. Blige came out for "Can't Knock the Hustle" and Pharrell joined him for "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It Me.)" It's an entirely new way to experience Jay's catalog, and the ultimate example that any genre of music can work on the show given the right backing group and the right arrangements. 

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