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“Just think about when I swipe the throne/And even worst than that, just think when Mys come home.”
—Jae Millz, “Who”

My wifey’s got a thing for Mysonne. Get your mind out the gutter, fuckers. I don’t mean it like that. Shit, she’ll have a band to accompany the rock on her fourth finger, left hand by the time this mag reaches your sweaty palms. Fuck Nas, I’m getting married! Anyway, Dany’s got love for the cat who was a Violator way before 50 Cent. Two songs off the first of those Chris Lighty compilations stay in rotation at mi casa. No, not that Ruff Ryders joint. Mys, like far too many rappers, finds himself behind bars. And it’s to those forgotten and not-so-forgotten MCs that we present XXL’s first-annual Jail Issue (hopefully there won’t be reason to do a second).

On the real, when V. Satten first approached me about this concept, I dissed and dismissed it mostly because it had been done before—badly. But she convinced me that it’s about more than mug shots. We spoke to 13 currently incarcerated rap artists about what it’s really like to be in jail. How does one survive when one’s freedom is taken away? And let us not forget cats like T.I., Styles and Ras Kass, who found themselves in the same predicament not too long ago. Is there really such a thing as rehabilitation? Why are so many African-Americans locked up? Are we all being monitored and targeted by the federal government? Can a brother get a table dance?… My bad. Things were getting too serious. I’m Sirius (Shade 45 mag comin’, haters!).

Seriously, when it came time to decide on our cover, instead of slapping on another picture of Shyne and running our historic interview for the third time, we hit up Tony Yayo. That’s right, Tony Yayo from G-Unit Records. Tony Yayo who’s also signed to Jimmy Iovine’s label. And who’s that by his side, 50 Cent? Curtis “Interscope” Jackson! Oh, you bloggers are gonna dislocate your fingers typin’ so hard when you peep this issue—front and back. We got the Internet goin’ nuts like Paul Wall. Pray for my downfall. I feel sorry for all y’all mothers. YN is here to move units, kids. Hate it or love it, my certified ABC numbers don’t lie.

Clearly the real Talk of New York is the ultimate come-home-from-jail success story. Go put your “Free Yayo” T-shirt back in the closet. Tony’s home and I heard his new album, and the shit is flames. Looks like another platinum plaque for hip-hop’s hottest click. Even with Game gone, the Guerillas are still trouncing you little monkeys. And if 50 took time off from shootin’ his 8 Mile to speak to you other wack rags, I’m sure you’d take the call. Especially since it’s the first time he’s broken his silence on the press conference with Chuck Taylor and all the “Piggy Bank” answer records. Tell me you’re not gonna read his words, you stupid muthafuckas.

Even smart folks like me are baffled at Lil’ Kim’s chutzpah. Why did shorty really think she could get away with lying to the feds? Adam Matthews went to court and watched the circus every day. He and his codefendant, Dave Bry, provide us with evidence that fibbing can fuck up your life. Even one of the men behind the drama, D. Roc, writes us from the pen to throw his two cents in. Damn, you have to wonder what B.I.G. would make of all this. And what’s up with all the snitching talk? Well, like Dame Dash said, you gotta call it the way you see it, but Cease is my dude.

Speaking of Roc La Familia: You requested it, so rewind. Spoke to Hov, and everything’s a go. The Black JFK and his cabinet will be in full effect next month. Finally, a cover not involving an Interscope artist that will actually sell. I couldn’t be happier. Can I get a G clap? I wish I could give you this feeling. Being on top of the rap mag game and finally finding true happiness in your personal life. Yeah, I know about my former foes’ problems, but don’t call me for comments and I don’t sign petitions (it’s two T’s, chumps). If you think I’ve gone soft, fuck off. I’m in love with a strong Black woman who’s simply made my life complete. She’s a blessing and my best friend. Now, if I could just erase that Mysonne shit off her iPod when she goes to sleep…

Off to my bachelor party,

Elliott Wilson

P.S. I forgot to shout the homie Brendan Frederick for lacing me with the mp3’s last month. Good lookin’! Again, if you’re upset by the cover, you can hit me at Mike Jones’ phone number or e-mail me at I’ll holla!

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