Can’t Deny It
“YOU DON’T KNOW MY STRUGGLE/SO YOU CAN’T FEEL MY HUSTLE.” —LIL BOOSIE, “MY STRUGGLE”
Okay, so I got the job. I’m the Editor-In-Chief of XXL magazine. I’m gonna look at the past several-plus years as a very long job interview with an outcome I didn’t expect but am thrilled to get. Now things are really about to take off, and everything is in good hands. Trust. It’s all about the planning, and I learned that from the best. Truly.
I can’t even get into how things at the mag might change. We don’t have the time. All there really is time for anymore are meetings, editing and shipping. But I promise you that the XXL you know and love will stay the XXL you know and love. You might even love it a lil’ more.
Faithful readers of this mag should be familiar with our annual R&B book, XXL Presents: Hip-Hop Soul. This year, we did things a little different. With all these rappers singing, singers rapping, and everyone working together, we decided to make an issue of the regular mag dedicated to the collaboration between rap and R&B. It’s The Hip-Hop Soul Issue. (For the R&B haters, if there is such a thing, don’t worry, this is just for an issue.) The cover is a special one for us. First off, it looks great. Thank you, Davina. Second, two artists that were obvious choices share it. Fabolous, who’s got two platinum plaques, two gold ones and is about to release his fifth solo album, Loso’s Way. He’s also done over 200 R&B collabos in his career so far, which is insane and a fun fact from Rob the Music Ed’s Fab story on page 44.
And The-Dream, who is today’s main R&B hit machine. He sold over 150,000 records (um, big numbers these days, folks) this past March, in the first week for his second album, Love vs. Money, he’s collaborating with, producing or writing for major artist after artist, he has a very public tmz.com-followed relationship with Christina Milian, and he hasn’t been on the cover of a major magazine yet. It seemed like it was about time someone gave him a fuckin’ cover, right? Perfect with F-A-B-O for The Hip-Hop Soul Issue. Especially since they’ve got three songs out together now. Check out Clovito’s interview with Dream (and Tina) on page 54.
Other stories to check out this issue are our list of 10 talented hip-hop soul singers, songwriters and producers to look out for in 2010, kris ex’s passionate piece on Tariq of The Roots, an essay on the history of rap and R&B collaborations by Thomas G., and a cool story on the making of some of hip-hop soul’s smash hits, including the biggest of all time, “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By.” Unfortunately, Method Man just didn’t/wouldn’t talk to us about this, for some reason, but Mary and RZA had some great memories about hip-hop soul’s most important song. Maybe Meth didn’t want to tribute it? Who knows…
The magazine has seen a few changes over the past couple of years, but that’s a good thing. What do you expect? Times change. Things change. Gotten harder. There are more politics. More chefs in the kitchen. Too many chiefs. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what happened. What matters is that I know my hip-hop, and so does my staff, and you can be assured that none of that is a problem. My staff beats yours. And I don’t even know who you are anymore, because there are, like, no more magazines left. However, let’s not forget that XXL is also a daily Web site (XXLMag.com) packed with new, original, and aggregated hip-hop content. So then I guess my staff beats yours there, too. Ha! Shout-out to the rest of the staff: Taiia, Carl, Jesse, Mike D, Travis, Smiley, Coffey, Neli, Dave, David and Bonsu.
And we’re off…