Run For Cover

I gotta blame 50. It’s all his fault. He made it cool to be a media darling. To be on the cover of any publication big or small that’s willing to put your Black ass on it. From street mags (Feds, Don Diva, Felon) to car mags (Rides, Dub) to White-boy mainstream mags (Rolling Stone, GQ, Blender). Shit, he almost got a King cover but he didn’t want his boo at the time Vivica to get outshined. Yeah I’ve done 50 and various members of G-Unit more than anyone but it ain’t like I haven’t had to share.

Back in the days it was all so simple then. There were only two mags anyone gave a fuck about The Source and Vibe. Big rap artist has new music and 9 times out of 10 he chose to be on the cover of The Source. Go-Go’s formula? Throw ‘em on there the same month the album is released—pure genius. Vibe does artist after he or she goes platinum and becomes legitimate black pop-ular star. Do The Source for the streets and the fellas. Do Vibe for the mainstream acceptance and the ladies. Pac broke the mold though and not getting behind Mr. Thug Life was one of the Bible’s first huge fuck ups.

Today, I’m in The Source’s position (at least until the missus gets her feet planted on solid ground). A big rap artist doesn’t want—he needs that XXL cover. XXL is number one. XXL is the streets. XXL certifies his gangsta. (Notice things here are male referenced, since you muthafuckas don’t seem to care about the ladies of rap like Kim and Foxy judging by my numbers). He’ll give us his story first. The publishing industry is just like Internet nerds infatuated with the word first! Gotta get T.I. on the cover first! No matter what it takes. But it doesn’t always work. Your first can be too early. Especially with these labels constantly pushing records back. These lying-ass publicists and record label scum will lie to your face about released dates to avoid losing their cover to the next artist and his company. It’s a damn shame.

With all this rap industry foul play and muthafuckas thinking that getting Owner’s Illustrated shine entitles you to grace my front page, one must wonder how does XXL always seem to be on top of every story before anyone else. Jay-Z Reasonable Doubt show, Proof’s death, Busta’s bodyguard shooting… Well I ain’t gonna tell you all that. I will tell you who you won’t see on the cover of XXL anytime soon. To name a few: OutKast, Ludacris, Mr. West. These guys are good examples because on paper they have all the stats but for whatever reason they don’t sell magazines. I got the sales figures in my possession to prove it.

The big thing that’s always pitched to us is so-and-so deserves an XXL cover. Like that’s the best reason for why we should do it. In fact, that’s the worst pitch you can have. A single guy doesn’t want to fuck the girl that’s just standing right there ready for his advances. He wants the girl that he’s going to have to work a little bit to finally get. Pac said it, “I don’t want it if it’s that easy.” Common deserves a cover. Ice Cube deserves a cover. LL deserves a cover. Any veteran rap legend that gets it together to put together a new CD out deserves a cover. But none of these aforementioned people are gonna get one either. It’s just not good for business.

So what’s the rest of the year gonna look like for XXL? Wouldn’t you like to know? Just rest easy ‘cause I got a master plan like YZ. I got the gloves on and I’m out here fighting for the covers that everyone else wants. And I gotta do everything I can to get them… You guessed it—first!

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  • da bossman


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  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    u a shook nip nigga

    u yellow nigga not becuz of yo skin but becuz u a coward

  • khal

    as long as kanye isn’t on the cover, i’m happy.

    and i bought the kim cover, not the shyne one. both of them was right on the newsstand, but i chose kim. prolly because of that BET show.


    i like your swag YN, your killin’ em nigga LOL

  • DJ Lucky Luke

    Lemme guess–Rick Ross will have a cover–maybe Jeezy if he drops an album–and motherfuckin RAEKWON better have a cover when his shit drops! Oh, and I better NOT be seeing Game on your cover wearing a G-string humpin a stripper’s pole…that’ll sell like hotcakes, but it ain’t gangsta!

  • yoyo

    nas is gettin that cover soon.

  • Rey

    This fuckin’ asshole’s gonna put like 6 Interscope covers, 1 Nas OR Jay-Z cover, and like 5 Down South covers..

    You’re not for the streets one little fucking bit, nor are you for the anyone who likes their music with substance.

    Just admit you’re a sellout and stick to your dumb rhymes, your corporate shilling fuck.

    Thanks for helping destroy something you loved until you got paid for it.

  • Rey

    …and for once, I agree with the fucking transient.

    YN = Coward.

  • noz


  • d rock

    LMAO at yellow nigga crying about covers. Tell your boss 50 cent to give you a hug. Or how bout you do another Jay Z cover for good measure. The headline can be “YN seen fondling Jay’s crotch”.

    We all know Interscope own this shitty magazine and yall about biased as hell.

    Let me tell you who gone be on the cove for the rest of the year. eminem, game, 50 cent, Nas, obie trice, dr. dre, stat quo and probably an interscope intern. LOL

  • pop a poppa

    Rey Says:

    July 20th, 2006 at 2:42 pm
    …and for once, I agree with the fucking transient.

    YN = Coward

    haha… finally coming around are you?

    anyway though what do you expect YN to do? he is just doin’ his job like he supposed to. if you can choose between 2 different covers (one that will sell and one that won’t), wouldn’t you choose to publish the one that will sell the most? its all about the bottom line. i don’t like the shit but hey that’s how shit works. i would’ve loved to see j dilla on the cover but it wouldn’t push numbers. basically xxL is like the mainstream clear channel of the rap mags… sure i guess you could call that selling out but if you want the underground shit there are plenty of alternatives to choose from

  • Rey

    I know, I know..Just pisses me off is all.

    “Sensitive thugs, ya’ll all need hugs.”


  • Meka Soul

    >Common deserves a cover. Ice Cube deserves a cover… But none of these aforementioned people are gonna get one either. It’s just not good for business.>

    unfortunately he got a point. at the end of the day, it all comes down to who’s gonna feed your kids. if putting black pixies like rick ross & cam’pon [spelled it wrong on purpose] allows you to keep a roof over your head, then i can’t hate on that shit.

    you can always pick up a copy of “murderdog” or “don diva” if you ain’t down with the shit.

    honestly, who gives a fuck that [insert favorite rapper] ain’t on the cover of a fucking magazine? if you ain’t like it, you ain’t gotta buy it. quit bitching, goddamn jigs.

  • Jackson D

    Clipse should get a cover for when their album drops….

    but they won’t, you’ll give it to Banks

  • Penneez

    man oh man, what happened? like, yes the whole cover=album dropping formula has been around forever, but man, why does it seem so blatant now?

    from digging in my old Source stash, I just realized hey, most of these covers were based on the person dropping an album that month…but at that time, it didnt register, maybe it was because i didnt care to notice, i simply bought the mag because i loved the mag or the artist on the cover or wanted to read what was inside..

    but now, the shit is so fuckin blatant. everybody is so fucking money and attention driven, this shit sucks. why the fuck is the EIC sounding like one of the salespeople and shit, man, please shut the fuck up. since you are in the position to do so, id really rather much hear you speak on some shit that matters to the hip hop community, like government dragging their feet on reinstating the Voting Rights act or gas prices or how rappers aint talking about a damn thing anymore, something…

    nigga i dont give a damn about what you just said, ignorance is bliss…just do your job, just do your job, man, damn….

  • Belize

    YN..fuk these niggaz and make ur money PYMP, betta than niggaz laughin at u cuz ur broke..

  • Enlightened

    You said “for whatever reason” Outkast, Luda and Kanye don’t sell covers. It’s a mystery why? They don’t have the streets. And I mean the REAL streets. Not the INTERNET streets. Some people will cry and try to defend outkast and say they do but when that nigga Andre started wearing shoulder pads, a girdle, and wigs. The street was not tryin to mess with him. Luda is finally starting to realize that street listeners want passion and some of your life story in their hip-hop (like Busta Rhymes) and not just the animated comedy/pimp/ho/drunk/high stuff. Hope it’s not too late. And Kanye…. come on now, nuff said.

  • lukee lefty

    if pharrell’s album wasnt going to be so bad i would say put him on the cover but all the shit that i illeagally download just plain sucked balls

  • rags to riches

    bring back egotrip (in magazine form)

  • Omar

    I don’t recall ‘Ye being on the cover but I could be wrong

  • Tyler

    Yo nigga, do what U gotta do 2 let your people eat. . ain’t nobody gettin’ at U 4 dat’ but if u tryin’ 2 play us like ya’ll ’bout the streets and then y’all run ‘dat same old game of put ‘dat nigga on the cover cause he down wit’ so and so then y’all will get tossed just like the Sauce. . We hear U playa’ but “actions speak louder than words homie” We ain’t sayin’ don’t put 50 on the cover, we sayin’ don’t put him on the cover cause he got his dick in your ass . .or Jimmy I V for ‘dat matter ya’ dig. Put whomever is makin’ the street heat dawg and selling units ain’t the way 2 tell ‘dat anymore yo . . . But we like where your heads is at on this one, let’s just see if U put some heart & guts behind it. Peep the heat at:

  • Cala

    @ Omar
    Kanye was on 2 covers one w/Dave Chapelle Dead Prez and last yr w/ Jayz and Lebron. The Kim and Shyne cover was borin. The new issue is fire. Some cover ideas for Yn: Papoose Raekwon Banks Dre Clipse Nas and The Lox.

  • screw music nigga


  • brown125

    Yall arogant motherfuckers act like yall magazine the shit. You guys are just like any other magazine. You guys are not doing anything different than any other magazine. So go ahead and hype your self up as much as you want. People buy whatever is available for them at the time.

  • Edgar Allan Poor

    hol up….::sniff sniff:: do i smell pussy? Iz Dat U trans…i smell pussy iz dat u rey…yep pussy…Freeze!!!




  • Styles

    Get off YN ass he only put out one Interscope cover and that was the d12 issue and that was only because of what happened with Proof. I swear I feel sorry for YN because last year G-unit was all over the covers b/c they were running things last year and as a result people started bitching. This year he only has one interscope cover and shows love to people like Kim and TI and niggaz still bitching. You people are never satisfied. Anyone who says the issues this year weren’t good are fucking crazy, that Jay issue is one of the best so far this year. They killing those other magazines. The remaining issues of the year are going to be good too, because it’s the 4th qt and all the best music drops then.


    To STYLES, Busta is an Interscope artist (but he deserved that cover).

    But I fucks with XXL even though they do have a lot of G-Unit covers, the articles inside the mag are all on point. I been snatchin up XXL before all the Interscope covers when the Source was on top when Lil Kim had the blue hair and I’ve been a fan ever since.

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  • Sherri

    The last time Luda had a cover was back in ’02 or ’03 right? Maybe he didn’t sell back then, but with all this Oprah Sh*t going on and all these secrect diss songs he’s making, maybe some people would be interested in picking up a mag with Luda on the cover.

    But anyway, I’m soooo sick of seeing GUNIT on the cover. I’m starting to really believe Interscope has some stock in XXL. GUNIT ain’t really hot no more anyway but whatever.

  • Artie

    YN –
    Your a fuckin joke! This whole speech is your usual bullshit & feeling like u have to legitimize why once again u have chosen to sell out to the Interscope umbrella. I wonder what your going to be saying after Banks’ album flops & sux (which u know it will). It was cool, at first when u guys backed Em & 50 during the feud they had with the Source, but now it’s just straight dick sucking. The whole G-Unit camp pumps out nothing but generic garbage these days, & guess what? – consumers are finally starting to realize that. How are you gonna tell 50 & the boys that they won’t be gracing the cover of your “respectable” mag, next time one of them decides to put out a trash album? I’m 25 & up until last year I had been buying your magazine monthly since high school. Nowadays I choose to save my 5 bucks every month & not have to read 50 Cent insulting every other artist in the game’s album sales, when little does he seem to realize that the last Yayo & Mobb albums couldn’t even reach gold. The Source really blew cocks for a long time before they folded, but your mag has NEVER & will NEVER achieve the status that they had in their hay day! In an odd way XXL has become a fucked up reflection of the things that made The Source go to shit.

    Your former reader,
    Artie 517

    PS – My predictions is one, possibly 2 more 50 Cent covers before Curtis gets the axe :)

  • spanish jay

    EW are you listening, this is over saturation dammit

    what a waste of a post eskay


  • bob

    This cat elliot is acting like some kinda diplomat or some shit. Dont ry and justilfy your positions elliot. You say it all the time that you love interscope. They basically run your ass. If you were really number one you would put common on the cover anyway to show that you got it like that. Front covers do sell magazines, but if you already got a hot product people will buy it anyway. But you a scared nigga so you play it safe instead of pushing the boundaries. Thats why Kast, Luda, and Ye get respect. They push themselves because they could give a shit about what people think. They proved themselves to be great and credible. And i’m sure they could give two shits about being on your magazine now. Tip will be that way soon. The only reason people fuck with you is cuz the source is in a major rut. Besides Murder Dog got the streets. You got the crossover audience.

  • jones baby


  • dsgray

    Elliott wilson comes off as though he reps the streets and its artists. Have you ever seen this guy? Editor of the number 1 mag, fucouttahere. xxl is no.1 by default. the source was killing you and probably will again, but do readers really care. I read all them shits but should start a mag then we’ll see. Like rick james, fuck yo cover nigga, fuck yo cover.

  • Questeezy

    The Source is back. Trust me. Pick up the 200th issue with Cube on the cover for proof.

    Ellio sold his soul. Sad shit.

  • jesso

    niggas make it seem like yn won’t be able to feed his family if they put up a cover that don’t sell as well…shit aint that serious.

  • Bird

    This is my first and probably last time on this blog. Another blog I like had a link to this one so I checked it out to be able to comment on the other blog.

    Anyway, I am a woman and therefore not a big XXL fan, but I have heard this Interscope argument for the last year or so. My take is it is going to catch up with them eventually. They keep putting 50 (is he doing anything right now?) on the cover and yall keep complaining while you hand your money over. Eventually, you gonna be like, “fuck this shit. I don’t even want to see read this same shit again” and keep your money in your pocket. He told you himself. 50 sells his magazines. Not the content that you guys are saying you like.


  • ray

    we knew 50 would get a cover sooner or latter. he gets at least 2 a year. keep doing your thing yn. hopefully the source will get back on its feet. competition is always good. keep hitting us with the breakaday. the web site is up and running mutha%$ckas. killing it right now.




  • Hustlenomics

    Thanks for the plug your freinds at Owners Illustrated Magazine

  • Tom

    You are exactly what is your with hip hop/hip hop journalism. Why do you feel the need to write an article about who you put on the cover and then bragg about xxl’s reputation. nobody cares or gives a fuck about xxl, we only care about the artists you cover. you guys and the source need to get your off your pseudo high horse and just put out good issue with solid journalism. stop name dropping yourself all the time

  • Tom

    btw, how many gunit/interscope/shady covers is that for you guys, like 30? you guys are on the payroll and we know it.

  • Tom

    oh, and that thing about kayne, kast, and luda not getting covers because they dont sell is total bullshit. that is why billboard magazine, a much more respected periodical than your fukking rag has kast on the cover. MAYBE its because the afformention artists dont really wanna fuck with you guys. your just a magazine, you’re not bigger than the music.

  • I Fux

    agreed Rey YN=Coward

    Dont we wish we knew who is on the cover, of course we know just look at the past year and take a wild guess, I am going to say 50, Yayo, Buck,Eminem and Dr.Dre witch Scratch just got

  • O.J.

    What the fuck is 50 doing now? Nothing, but running his mouth. And Lloyd Banks? PLEASE!! That new single he got out now is hot ass garbage! That’s so bullshit that you discriminate (spell check?)on certain rap artists because you want to be a little pussy and play it safe. Like someone said earlier, if your magazine was the shit like you think it is, then your mag would sell regardless of who’s on the cover. I read real magazines that gives every artists a chance to shine.

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  • Wab da Muss

    It’s interesting that you say that XXL is the streets and certifies peoples gangster, which implies that you are a tastemaker (which you no odubt are), but then you completely depend on sales figures.

    Not gangster.


    yo fuck you elliott. im coming back on a horse you hear me – a fuckin horse.

  • Chronic dogg

    yo that new source is the treuth thank fuk they got rid of those wack fuckere=s,benzino and that and put cube on the cover……DON MEGA!!!!!!!!!xxl shit u need to get back to some westside hype and da an article on x-raided for real!!!!

  • Stax On Deck

    Fuck 50

  • bypass school firewall system

    great blog, keep it comming.