Jigga, Jigga, that nigga, Jigga. He sure did bless your boy YN this month, didn’t he? XXL hasn’t had this many Blacks on the cover since that Great Day In Harlem mess (pre-YN Days. I see you, SL!). You need a scorecard to keep up with this shit. Cover 1’s got Kanye “I’m tired of sharing covers with other muthafuckas” West, President Shawn “You’re not gonna get me to bad-mouth Dame” Carter, LeBron “There’s no tampering goin’ on here!” James, and Foxy “I’m the real Jacki-O out this bitch!” Brown. Ooh-wee! That’s Black Star Power! Sure to hit the radars of the hip-hop and sports world, this issue will be displayed prominently on the desks of this fine nation’s top two commissioners: Steve “No one can sell hip-hop to these cracker barrels better than me” Stoute and David “I hope there’s no tampering goin’ on here” Stern. Who’s really got the Juice now, foxxy lady?

That’s not all, folks. I’m so bold, respect my gatefold. Cover 2’s got the rest of the Roc. Memphis “Don’t worry about my SoundScan” Bleek, the Young “Don’t worry about our SoundScan” Gunz, Philadelphia “Beans is still my dude” Freeway, Peedi “Don’t Call Me Crakk” Peedi, DJ “How the hell did I get back down?” Clue, and Teairra “That bitch Ashanti never got an XXL cover” Mari. Ooh, mami!

But still we grind. And you get more than just a piece of the Roc here, courtesy of Bezo’s protests. Leah “I never get a shout-out” Rose tried to get Paul Wall drunk for her story. Buckshot of Black Moon fame lets us know there’s no nails in his coffin. Plus, we deliver our long-awaited exposé on hip-hop’s most disgruntled rhyme duo, the Clipse. The shit isn’t seven pages, but it’s still a fine read. Let ’em go, Barry!

Hey, where are my Funk Flex fucks who are crazy about cars? Check our 2005 Whip Preview, courtesy of our new lifestyle editor, Branden J. “Reppin’ the O” Peters and overseen by the indispensable Vanessa “I’m in Detroit at the Eminem Shade 45 cover” Satten. That’s right, Marshall’s got his own mag, like Oprah and Rocky. And it won’t be cocky, ’cause XXL’s behind it. Don’t get it twisted, though. We’re not Green Lantern, Shady’s enemies are not ours, and we will not be disciplined. If The Inc. starts pushing units or making noise, you may see them in the crosshairs all over again. Hey, my best man S Dot Jenkins called it: Doesn’t Gwen Stefani sound like she’s saying, “I ain’t no Harlem Black Girl.” Ha-ha, chew on that, rock ’n’ roll niggas! ET 4 Life!

Oh yeah, there’s a lot goin’ on in this newlywed’s life. Despite all the obstacles from the music industry’s powers-that-be, an XXL album is coming. We got a new show with MTV Jams (you can’t find the channel in NYC yet, so stop asking) called XXL Jams. It starts with this issue! What a beginning, huh? Fuck that UPN negro channel stuff.

Speaking of which, our 8th anniversary issue is coming next month. Eight isn’t enough, chumps! But it’s still reason to celebrate. Here’s a preview of our self-absorbed content: YN’s Top 8 cover-choice mistakes that he wishes he could have back, and why:

1) Chingy! (Happy, Murph!?). Only Big Daddy Kane fell off harder.

2) OutKast (Big Boi and Andre 3000 solo covers). Great group that can’t sell mags proves it again.

3) Nas burning issues. Shit didn’t sell. So, in retrospect it wasn’t worth the headache.

4) Foxy in swimsuit. I even let her help pick the cover shot. Big mistake. What up, Brooklyn?

5) DMX. The issue tied in with the movie Cradle 2 the Grave, but the once mighty dawg didn’t do numbers like in the past.

6) LL. Only the ladies loved that shirt-off shit.

7) Scarface. Great album, but Kevin Liles bumped the record back and fucked me.

8) Bone Thugs. I don’t even remember why I thought it would work. Jerks.

That’s right. Who else is strong enough to criticize themselves, rap readers? Take heed: Any faux pas before these were just growing pains, shit stains. We’ve come a long way, and we’ll continue to slay any and all comers—past, present or future. Step into my ozone.

Mazel tov!

Elliott Wilson

P.S. In last issue’s Lil Kim trial article we incorrectly stated that D. Roc was sentenced to 10 years on January 28, 2005. He had only pleaded guilty on that date and was still awaiting sentencing at press time. Our bad.