Your boy YN is just about to put another issue to bed, and I’m patiently waiting for Jay-Z to call me. I mean, President Carter. You see, we’re not on the same page right now. He, LA Reid and some publicist named Gabe—whose last name I can never pronounce, and who has a personal blog where he posted pics from this issue’s Ghostface aquarium shoot months ago (way to go, wet wipe)—have made a simple request: put Nas on the cover in a couple of months. I say, nah. Heck nah. And you know, it’s not like I never done it before. Anyone remember the QB soldier lighting the match and burning a couple of hip-hop magazines down to a crisp? That was a powerful statement at the time.
To be fair, one of the most successful issues I ever did featured Nas on the cover dressed in a bumble bee fur coat. Even the presence of the Bravehearts—whom Nasir insisted be included—didn’t discourage droves of rap fans from grabbing the issue off newsstands. But the reason that popped off majorly was the timing; it followed a Jay-Z cover. These two rap giants were still in the midst of arguably hip-hop’s biggest battle. Today, they’re Kool and the Gang. So why can’t YN benefit? Props to Sway and Touré, but I’m EJ (Elliott Jr.); I do things my way. Unquestionably, I have the top rap mag in the game. Who better to bring the bosses together? I mean no Killa Cam–like disrespect, but I hope that Hova lives up to his comments about reconciling publicly to show hip-hop culture another way. There’s no better way to back up that statement than gracing the cover of XXL’s anniversary issue with his former rival. The hip-hop nation wants it, and I want to give it to ’em.
Something else only I can give hip-hop: Shyne Po. Here’s a man who’s given me a lot
during my tenure as the YNIC of XXL, and who has also had his fair share of disagreements with the home of the tone arm. Yeah, his government name may change, but homie’s status hasn’t. ’Nessa and I trekked upstate in the blistering cold to holla at hip-hop’s most known incarcerated scarface. Shyne and I spoke for hours. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the exchange that made the cut. Honestly, it was good just to see Frances’ baby boy. I can’t fully imagine all that the family’s been through. Shyne’s strength of character is remarkable. I hope that he will be able to touch the town soon. “Shyne is Free”—now that’s a muthafuckin’ best-selling cover!
Although disappointed with her record sales, Lil’ Kim remains at the top spot of the female rap game (sorry, Rem) and shares the spotlight with her first interview from behind bars. My ego trip life partner Chairman Mao’s better half, Andréa, does the honors. And even though she couldn’t get the face-to-face, her phone convo gets real personal. You greedy gossip-mongers are the beneficiaries. No, we couldn’t get cameras in that Philly fed pen. So we’re just gonna have to take her word that no one cut her hair, she hasn’t fully let herself go like Janet and that her ta-tas are working just fine—thank you very much.
Thanks to all the Internet heads for embracing the promising start of xxlmag.com. Please believe, these are just baby steps. Soon we’ll be walking, running and eventually stomping on any and all competition. It ain’t personal; it’s just business—big, nasty corporate business that’ll make any keyboard-pushing purist sick to his or her stomach. Grow up, young’ns! I’ll teach you how to stunt and keep your integrity. Anything I’ve applied my mind, body and soul to has always produced phenomenal results. You do the research on that. To put it more simply, numbskulls: Ride with us, or collide with us. Either, or.
Tell me when to go,
P.S. Hov just rang the phone. It ain’t happening. Stay tuned.