Photos By: Ryan Muir




In honor of the release of Drake's third studio album, Nothing Was The Same, which drops today, XXL thought it appropriate to put together a gallery of the inspiration behind the project, Drizzy's ladies. With many mentions of past relationship on the LP, it's only right to show off the lovely women behind the rhymes. Check it out.


"My Tsunami, my Katrina and my inner Sandy/Man it will not simmer expanding/If I swam seem like I would slam the damn thing/But I'm scrambling, falling like I damaged my hamstring"

On the making and breaking of his former group, Tha Outfit:

On the making and breaking of his former group, Tha Outfit:

I was in a hip-hop/R&B group for a while. Two singers, two rappers. I got a lot of my foundation from that. Two of them were on tour during the hyphy movement with E-40, and after hyphy was kind of over, they came back and we formed the group. We had some local success from the Bay to Los Angeles, and then we broke up in January of this year. There hasn’t been a real successful urban boy band since Pretty Ricky, and I thought it could’ve been really successful, but the group was in the group’s way. Basically just four individuals with four different personalities that couldn’t get along. It’s crazy how “Who Booty” has taken off, because it was really one of the first records I did as a solo artist.


Learning Production as a “Shorty”:

Learning Production as a “Shorty”

Roc Marciano: “I’m a rapper first—hopefully you hear that [laughs]. But beats—I would actually say my man Ox. I really learned how to make beats from him. He’s an older G—you know what I’m saying? He’s from Long Island, Elmont though. I used to stay in Elmont. I moved around as a kid a lot so I had family in Elmont and there were some dudes who used to rhyme out there. I ended up linking with them through battling actually.

“[Ox] was an older nigga that battled. Not much older than me, but when you’re a kid a muthafucka that’s five years older than you—that’s significant. If I’m 15 and you’re 20, you’re an old head. So, I ended up battling him or whatever and we ended up getting cool. They would invite me to come to the studio. I just appreciated as a shorty coming through the lab and work on my ideas, too. So he had an MPC60 and from me being there smoking weed, just kicking it with him and his crew, I learned what a loop was, what two-bar loops were, a four-bar loop, how to lay down drums—just being in the studio. Being that [Ox] was producing for his group, they would get all the fly beats. I would pretty much get the leftovers so I started listening to jazz stations and all types of shit—whatever I could do to get my hands on ill loops and sounds. So then I started finding little loops and bring them to the studio. [Ox] would hook them up for me in the beginning. I was making beats early—[around] 15 at the time. I would just go to the studio and I wasn’t manually making them but I’d come in with the loops like, ‘Loop this—put these drums on it,’ and stuff like that. One day, I got tired of doing that even and [Ox] showed me how to work the MPC60."

Nas’s “One Time 4 Your Mind,” [Produced By Large Professor] Illmatic (1994)


Large Professor: The listeners, they just listenin' to it. I saw and experienced, “Yo, then I send a shorty to the store…” I’ve seen all of that, hangin’ out on the hill, all that talk. So, “One Time 4 Your Mind” for me, is just like, one of them sit-back and kinda cool-out, nothin’ in particular [joints]. A day in the hood kind of [thing]. That’s one of his earlier day in the hood kinda joints.

Throughout hip-hop history, there has been a lot of trends and fads—the Shiny suit, “Molly” rap—mostly occupying a period where these are the things you must do to be deemed "cool." The one thing that has stood the test of time is rappers’ ability to strike awkward poses on camera. Sometimes people just don't know what to do in front of the camera at photo shoots, on music video, and album cover. So they master the five fine arts of poses that every rhyme slinger must know.

Now, XXL decided to highlight a day for each of the five most signature poses in hip-hop artists doing. Today we highlight Kneel & Crouch.