Similar to the honorary issue dedicated to Tupac Shakur and the 15th anniversary of his passing, released by XXL in September of 2011, the XXL team spoke to some of those closest to Big for an in-depth look into his life and death. From his kids T’Yanna and Christopher “CJ” Wallace and their mamas, Jan Jackson and Faith Evans, to his closest friends like members of Junior M.A.F.I.A. and others, many got their chance to share stories and more to pay homage to the beloved MC. Most even disclosed rare, never-before-published photos of Biggie from their personal collections, which are featured in this month’s issue. Since Big was one of the most swagger-jacked rappers of all time, there’s a list of the 100 best Biggie bites, a look a what The Notorious One might have looked like at 40-plus, and much more.
Even though the issue is a Big tribute there’s much more in the mag to look forward to. It’s been 15 years since 1997, arguably the best year in hip-hop music, and XXL explores that very notion with a detailed essay. There’s also a look back at 2011’s rap music with a recap of the five best albums, mixtapes, verses, producers and singles of the year.
Check out XXLMag.com for an entire month’s-worth of Biggie-related stories that celebrate his life and death, extras from the issue, including outtakes, as well as everyday hip-hop news and much more. And cop the special tribute issue when it hits stands on February 7.—XXL Staff