A crew, a clique, a collective, a label…I don’t really know what Maybach Music Group is, but whatever it is, these guys have been on the radio a lot lately. Everywhere you go. It’s not the Young Money
2010 radio domination, but still, there’s a whole lot of Rick Ross and MMG on the air.

I thought we were gonna get by without doing a Rozay cover, since he’s done so many others already, but there was no denying the growing buzz. And with a solo album coming (God Forgives, I Don’t) and a crew
all over the radio, it was time. But we switched it up and did the first official Maybach Music Group cover split with The Bawse, and it does look great. (Thank you, Melissa Brennan, for two beautifully designed covers.) Meek Mill needs to work on getting a little personality during interviews and shoots, but he’ll get it over time. Shots?

Nah, he’s an XXL Freshman I repped from the beginning. Once I saw how Meek had his city of Philadelphia, I knew to bet on him. Apparently, Ross did also, or else he was letting XXL dictate who he should sign.
(Maybe…the two other dudes are former Freshmen also. So that’s three. Not sure if anyone noticed.)

This issue’s cover is about new crews, and XXL has been developing one inside the walls of 1115. In today’s hip-hop, cliques are built on the basis of the artists signed to a label; it’s not really about growing
up together anymore. That’s cool and all, but not necessary. Look at YMCMB. Sure, Lil Wayne, Baby, Mack Maine and Gudda Gudda are from New Orleans, but Jae Millz is from NYC (Harlem!), Drake’s from Toronto,
and Nicki Minaj is from Jamaica, Queens. Glasses Malone and Bow Wow (on the CMB side) are from Cali and Columbus, Ohio, respectively, and if T-Pain signs to either Cash Money or Young Money, well, he’s
Florida. Obviously. It’s not about who you grew up with—it’s about who you can make hits with.

Ross (from Miami) stands on the cover, with Wale (D.C.), Meek Mill (Philly) and Pill (Atlanta). There are some other MMG guys—see page 58 for the breakdown—but Rozay’s focus right now is on the trio standing
in arms with him on the front of this book. His crew. His group. None of the MCs is from the Sunshine State, and that doesn’t matter. If the music’s hot, then that’s all that counts. I guess. I can’t say I don’t
miss the old crews a bit. Guys who grew up together, from banging their hands on the desk while they rhymed at the cafeteria tables together, before they moved to the street-corner rhyme ciphers, then
to their home studios with self-made recording booths lined with egg cartons. But whatever. You can’t rewind time, and sometimes the old ways just don’t work anymore.

But back to XXL’s new crew. There have been some changes to the staff. We added some folks to our team—ya know, members new to each other melding together… Get it? It’s a little stretch, but don’t ya see the
connection? We’re MMG, we’re Young Money (both very weed-friendly crews, which I’m into), we’re a group of hip-hop heads/editors who have come together to get a dope issue out, sort of like a monthly
compilation (again, a stretch, but still…), while maintaining a daily website (XXLMag.com) filled with rap news.

And this month we have managed to put out a great mag, jam-packed with strong stories. There’s the exclusive with the always entertaining DMX, whom we caught up with the day and night he got out of an Arizona
jail (page 72). We got with Game (page 86), who’s gearing up for another album release, and J. Cole (page 78), who’s dropping his first. We visited Remy Ma in jail with her husband, Papoose, and got
an inside peek at their nontraditional relationship. Much respect to Pap for holding his wife down during a tough time. It’s hard on both of them, but Papoose is doing something many men won’t ever do: a bid
from the outside while his wife does one inside. Now that’s a story (page 62). There’s also much more.

I wanna thank everyone for their hard work making the mag this month. Even though some folks are still learning the ropes, the vibe to things felt good. Also, welcome Jayson Rodriguez (executive editor),
Shaheem Reid (editor-at-large) and Josh Clutter (photo director) to the crew.

Chains are being made. Okay, maybe just hats or T-shirts. This is still some sort of recession, ya know?

“I get high all the time, I smoke that good shit,”

Vanessa Satten