So we’re back to regular XXL this issue. Aight! Last month, we shook it up a lil’ bit with the first-annual Hip-Hop Soul issue, just to show y’all we know our R&B also. Rappers are showing their soft sides; why can’t XXL? But we’ve returned to straight hip-hop this month, and I was wrong—it’s not regular XXL. There are some changes. With a new editor, there always has to be a bit of newness, freshness. We’ve tweaked some sections, moved a few columns around, deaded the ones no one seemed to care about (Classic Material, Truth, Remember the Time). There are a few art changes, and some of the things you might not even notice until future XXL’s . Particularly because this is the anniversary issue, so it’s still not a traditional mag. In fact, it’s our 12th birthday. Now we’re old enough to make our own beat, rap a verse and create a dance!

We’ve been documenting this fickle game of hip-hop for a dozen years—chasing loved and hated rappers (you know which you are), reviewing classic and trash albums and everything in between, retouching Eye Candies, making stories, breaking stories, dealing with difficult publicists and dope ones (you know which you are), building a Web site ( and taking our grind from monthly to also daily, then juggling both and staying on top. During my time here, I’ve loved every minute of it (except when people play industry games, don’t respond to e-mails, leak information, etc.). And I believe we’ve done a pretty good job along the way. (Wanna complain? Go write a blog somewhere, or catch me at

To celebrate this special month, we interviewed one of our favorites (my favorites), Young Jeezy, who’s currently working on his fourth solo album, Thug Motivation 103. He talked some shit, folks, kept it real, as always, but went a lil’ deeper this time around. He’s taking it back to the trap on 103 and figuring out how to best mix his rap-star, Forbes-top-20 Jeezy and the trap-star Jeezy together. Not a bad problem. And the music’s hot. You should’ve heard his new tape, DJ Folk’s Trappin’ Ain’t Dead, by now, and you can catch him on the Most Wanted tour, with Lil Wayne and Drake.

To continue the party (nonstop partying over here), we caught up with 12 artists and CEOs who have graced the front of XXL since the mag’s birth, in September 1998. We wanted to hear their thoughts on their covers (who doesn’t like to see themselves on the front of a magazine?) and this publication’s impact. Thanks to the staff for trying to and successfully locking down all of the special-package interviews, while still taking care of your regular responsibilities. Thank you to the 12 who took the time (10 to 45 minutes, depending on the person) to answer some of our anniversary questions. Screw the rappers who straight left us hanging, especially those who got covers in the last seven months.

Moving on, folks, it’s the September issue—a moment of silence for Tupac Shakur. September 2009 marks the 13th anniversary of his death. If we had anything left to write about him or a picture you haven’t seen, we’d put him on the cover, ’cause you’d still buy it, but this is not the case. Regardless, RIP to one of hip-hop’s all-time greatest.

That’s it for now. I’ll leave you with a lil’ nugget of a rumor: It might be just a couple more weeks before the Shyne era begins. Could be interesting, right?

Light up,

P.S. I wanna welcome our new Senior Editor, Matt Barone and Associate Editor,
John Kennedy, to the team.

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • Pierzy

    Nice work, Nessa, even if I wholeheartedly disagree with your choice of cover subject (I just don’t get down with Jeezy like that).

    • OG Matt Herbz

      For real. Jeezy’s wack.

      And why don’t that muthafucka step shit up to “Thug Motivation 201″ or something? “103 implies that he’s still spitting freshman-level bullshit…

      …okay, he is, but still–for marketing purposes or something.

      The Shyne rumor is enticing. I’d be interested in hearing a few bars from homey.

      –OG Matt Herbz–


    Happy 12th Anniversary!!! i been down w/ ya’ll for a while now, & i like what your doing (majority of it anyway).


  • Jhon da Analyst

    Young Jeezy sucks monkey balls from the back!! Straight garbage.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Oh yeah, this is from a few weeks ago. Ace Hood is a bum, wack as fuck, and sucks horse dick. Period

  • vhingrhamesonyo’momma

    nice way to try and sell that cover but nah!
    I digress, this is ya job. anywhateva phat shouts to you and the staff who make it possible for hip-hop heads,stans,bloggers,fans and on-lookers to get they two cents in. Pop some’n V I got a $1.00 on it! y’all know I only mess wit’ da champagne of beers! fuck hieneken!

  • PhaseOneEnt

    Jeezy’s Most Definetely is not wack!

    Follow Us On

  • BA

    jeezy on the cover? How do you get off putting him on the cover when his LP is not coming out in Sept./Oct.? Slaughterhouse is a great concept and they are coming out in Aug.; I understand the Loso cover, but why not put Slaughterhouse on the next cover? Although I am not the biggest fan of Drake, his LP is coming in Sept. and his buzz is much bigger than Jeezy’s right now; Wow XXL has really dropped the ball; where’s Elliot Wilson when you need him?

  • beaver

    y da fuck ya give jeezy da
    nobody wanna see his ass on da cover..
    we da readers wanna see a real rap artist..
    not some trapster..

    oh an 4 future covers….
    do not put ace hood or ross..or khaled..
    cuz they shit is dead…
    nobody listens 2 khaled an shit…
    an 1 last thing…don’t fuckin put ja rule on a future cover..
    unless he dies..okk

  • $ykotic

    Nessa’s throwing subliminal darts! HA HA HA!

    Let me find out you got the XXLusive ready for Shyne Po! Brilliant!

    Can’t front JFK do be posting some heat. Stay above the rest!

    • Federal Ranga

      What it do, everybody?

      Ness, keep it pimpin, pimp. You on the ball [||]. New vlog up for the week… Killing it two times. Mixtape review for the Commission’s own Paris Pershun and week 3 of the vlog.

      Aye, Ness. Hypothetically speaking… if I happened to have video of footage of Rick Ross getting blindsided at a local strip joint here in Miami (let’s just throw out… I’on knooooooooooow… DIAMONDS CABARET for instance) would you guys allow me to give ya’ll that or what? Holla back!

      • Master Cheef

        damn, federal ranga, I sho nuff want to see that shit.

  • abdulnasir


  • Incilin

    “It might be just a couple more weeks before the Shyne era begins. Could be interesting, right?”

    ^^^Umm…. no not really. lol;

  • Dillz

    Yo Jeezy fell off. He’s not hot anymore. You should put Slaughter House on the cover.

  • geico lizard

    “It might be just a couple more weeks before the Shyne era begins.”

    good point, shyne walked the walk while these other rappers lie about everything.

  • nicholasdelorejo

    First off, I am not in any way, shape, or form a fan of Jeezy, but WHY IN THE FUCK IS DAHM NEAR EVERYBODY ANGRY THAT SLAUGHTERHOUSE IS ON THE COVER. I mean seriously, why in the fuck should xxl or any rap mag for that matter give the cover (you know the main feature of the issue) to Slaughterhouse. Young Jeezy is certainly not one of the most lyrical, innovative, or creative rappers present, but he dahm sure knows how to make an entertaining albulm. I don’t even like coke rap like that but Jeezy has made 3 (count ‘em out, 1, 2, 3) albulms that have sold reasonably well, as well as having billboard charted albulms, and kept his name relevant in the RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

    I’m not saying slaughter house is bad, or that they don’t deserve the any exposure xxl can offer, but lets be real. Slaughterhouse is made up of a bunch of rappers that could not generate any interest in their solo albulms and are forced to form a group with one another. People seemed to believe that they are about to bring real hip hop back (whatever the fuck that is) but honestly I don’t see it. they’re a pretty good group of lyricist but I don’t see nothing about them that makes me believe they are serious about being with one another. Ask yourselves this, would any of them had thought about forming any group if they were able to succeed by themselves. I don;t think so. Jeezy at least brought out USDA once he released two successful albulms. That’s more than you can say about any of these other rappers.

    In lyrics, jeezy sucks balls, i’ll admit. But he does not intend to be. The only thing you can expect from a young jeezy albulm is to be entertained. Isn’t that what we should want? Some may not be entertained by jeezy but other people are as proven by his sales. I can’t say the same for slaughterhouse, YET. Let’s just wait for their release before complain about how xxl fucked them over. Ain’t it wasn’t like XXL gave solo covers to previous new rappers like lupe fiasco, Wale, or even drake and they had bigger buzzes that SH. shit wayne had to wait until his carter II to grace the cover.


      co-sign to the fullest ^^^^ thank you bruh

  • John Cauner

    I can’t believe they deaded the Classic Material section. That was a good reminder of albums you might of missed the first time around.

  • John Cauner

    You mean the magazine first came out in Sep. ’97 right? Not Sep. ’98. I still have both covers(Jay-Z, Master P) of the first issue. All the advertisements are from summer ’97. Whatever. Congrats to the staff on the anniversary.

  • Rashaan

    Damn, yall deaded the classic material. Well i been down with XXL since day 1. have all the issues. Congrats on your 12 year anniversary. Looking forward to what you hav in store. And please stop mailing my issues damaged all the damn time(HA). Keep up the work ‘Nessa. I watching you.

  • Silly Willy

    Keep up the good work, Ness!

    But, shouldn’t it be a Slaughterhouse moment ? I mean, if you want to see some real shit take place, you can lend a hand, right ?

    Just throwin’ it out there,….how about a female blogger too ? It’s been a while since Tara and Fresh left the building. Their scope was refreshing sometimes. You know like when we don’t want to keep saying and hearing the same shit over and over again in this sausage-fest that hiphopnation has become, from time to time ?
    No fishsticks.

  • daz_oc

    if classic material was where yall reviewed an older album.. ima miss that shit

  • Brooklyn

    i’ve been reading xxl for a minute now and have had a subscription for about the same amount of time that i’ve been reading. all in all, i consider myself a faithful reader, i even read the july cover that had that clusterfuck of bad atlanta rappers on it. i appreciated the hip-hop/soul edition because i love my soul and r&b too, so that was cool. but jeezy on the september cover? that’s wrong on so many levels, especially since he doesn’t have an album coming out, he’s “currently working on his fourth solo album.” a slaugterhouse cover would have been nice, but why not a raekwon cover? “only built 4 cuban linx 2″ comes out in september, why not put him on the cover and have him discuss his upcoming album? other than some people that live south of the mason-dixon, don’t nobody really give a shit about young jeezy

  • mazemayhim

    Ya’ll dead the “Classic Material” section AND ya’ll didn’t put Slaughterhouse on the September cover…da phuck is ya’ll doin up there smh no wonder I never renewed my subscription. XXL phuckin up 4real

  • mazemayhim

    Wow! Ya’ll coulda put Raekwon on the cover instead of Jeezy. Ya’ll woulda sold more mags. But, hey, what do I know, right? I’m just a reader and you work for Harris Publications. It’s your job to tell ME what’s hot…phuck outta here!

  • mazemayhim

    And ya’ll ain’t posting my comments up lol niggas is j-kats

  • BA

    A Raekwon or Slaughterhouse cover would have definetly made sense. Slaughterhouse is a collective of four individuals who made poor business decisions; they were slept on, with the exception of Joe Buddens, and for that they paid dearly in the fans eyes. However, there is a strong buzz going for this group, and as evidenced in this blog, there is quite a hype about the group’s potential as one unit. Thus, the strong buzz and hype should warrant a two cover Septemeber; Raekwon and Slaughterhouse, XXL has done this in the past; Vanessa your credibility has strongly diminished in my eyes.