It's hard to say with any certainty what the future will look like, but when the 2016 XXL Freshmen were being selected last year, we had a sneaking suspicion it would rock a septum ring, some dreads and the unflappable confidence of a rock star. Sound familiar? It should, because his name is Lil Uzi Vert, and the future is now.

Just a bit over a year after landing on the 2016 XXL Freshman cover, Uzi's found his potential actualized. In that time since being named an XXL Freshman, the rapper has won an MTV Video Music Award for song of the summer, gone platinum multiple times ("You Was Right," "Money Longer," "XO Tour Llif3") and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (Luv Is Rage 2). Basically, he's blown all the way up, living up to the superstar qualities we saw when we selected him as a face of rap's new generation.

To celebrate, his success, Uzi's come back to XXL Magazine to help celebrate our birthday, gracing one of the the covers of our 20th anniversary issue. Now, just as then, XXL looks to identify the voices that define different generations of hip-hop. At this point, you could even say it's our duty.

"XXL’s responsibility to hip-hop is just to keep it going, how they been, like they kept it forever," Uzi says in his XXL Fall 2017 cover story, written by XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten. "I mean, as long as I’ve been here, I knew XXL so gotta keep it going. If they stop then, you know, a lot of people won’t be able to get on."

Lil Uzi Vert is just one of the artists selected to appear on XXL's 20 special edition covers. Like the Philly native, these rappers have been documented by XXL through the extent of their careers and have always shown love to the brand that helped raise their profiles along with away. Uzi's fellow cover stars are 50 Cent, the cover king with 15 total XXL covers and a career we’ve been documenting from the start; Nicki Minaj, a queen in hip-hop building her own pinkprint in the game; Diddy, the man who not only reinvented the remix but paved the way for rap moguls; Wiz Khalifa, the cool, calm and collected superstar; Cam'ron, Harlem's swag connoisseur; Migos, three rappers who helped redefine the culture; Snoop Dogg, the Doggfather of the game; Pusha T, a success story as a group member, solo artist and record executive; Future, a trendsetting trap god; T.I., rap’s gangsta and gentleman; Fabolous, a highly respected New York MC; Rae Sremmurd, the real crowd-pleasers; Birdman, a No. 1 stunna with a revered empire; Run The Jewels, partners in rhyme and reason; Yo Gotti, a testament to tenacity; Gucci Mane, the true comeback kid; Tech N9ne; an independent icon; E-40; hip-hop’s in-the-know uncle; and The Lox, a trinity representing for the streets.

Check out Lil Uzi Vert's full Fall 2017 cover story here, watch his interview video below and keep it locked to our exclusive 20th anniversary hub for more content coming in honor of XXL's 20th anniversary.

Travis Shinn for XXL

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