Heyyy, Wayne.

How’s it going in there? I hope they are treating you as well as they could be, there at Rikers Island. After all, you are in my town now, and as much as I wish it wasn’t a jail representing us, I would hope that the City of New York Department of Correction would treat you (and everyone else in there) right. Needless to say, we hope everything is as good as can be in there. And if it ain’t, you can always let us know, we’ll get the word out. But we’re guessing Baby is holding you down.

Moving on, though, this was some issue to put together. Okay, you’ve got two big artists signed to Young Money/Cash Money, but this shit kicked our asses. I mean, we really put in work getting Nicki and Drake on that cover and then making the interviews happen. Looks worth it, though. I hope it sells as well as when we put you on the cover (something I haven’t gotten to do yet myself…hint, hint).

Not sure how much you remember me, since you’ve had to have met so many journalists over the years. I first caught up with you back in 1999, when I was just fascinated by, and mildly obsessed with, Cash Money and the Hot Boys (still am with both). My boss at the time allowed me to do the most amazing thing: my first cover story, on the four of you (see below). You had braids back then and told me during one of the interviews, at some old Cash Money office, that you were going to grow dreads. As weird as it sounds, my career has grown with your hair. Ha! (Your career has definitely grown with your hair, also, but that’s not so weird.) Your locks are kind of like a time marker to me. And when you started braiding your dreads, I really felt old.

But your hair is not the topic here (it could be in Juicy, our new celeb-style and life mag). It’s how amazing (and cool) it is (to me) that it’s so many years later, and Cash Money—or, now, Young Money/Cash Money—artists are still here on XXL’s cover, and it’s with the hottest new artists in the game. Sure, it was a killer to put together a Cash Money cover back then, so it makes sense it would be similar with Young Money/Cash Money now. Nicki and Drake are some busy people. Even their publicists are busy. We gotta thank Kia Selby and Sarah Cunningham for their help putting this cover together. It’s all worth it. Your artists look great. And I just love finally having a new woman on the cover.

But the Nicki and Drake stories and photos (senior editor Benjamin Meadows-Ingram did the dope Drake interview, and Jonathan Mannion shot those beautiful images) aren’t the only great things in this month’s issue that you might like. With a new rapstress in the game, Ben Detrick explored why there haven’t been any other lady MCs with buzzes like Nicki’s over the past decade (page 70). Senior editor Matt Barone (who seems to love the same hip-hop artists as your boy Drake) got down to the bottom of the Little Brother split (page 76), while Chris Yuscavage checked in on Reflection Eternal’s reunion (page 44). And with complaints of no New York rappers on our 10 Freshmen for ’10 cover, the XXL staff decided to investigate what’s really been going on in New York rap. I’m not too sure how much you’ll care about this one, since you’re from the N.O. (maybe—let me not be so close minded), but the guys around you definitely will. And they might disagree with some of it, but we always welcome letters! And of course, check out page 90 for Eye Candy. This month’s a hot one. You might know her well, she’s been in three videos with Drake to date.

It has to be tough to be locked up right now, when your first two artists are preparing to release their debut albums, and you can’t be there directly to be part of it. But rest assured, from our perspective, it seems like they’re holding everything down for you out here just fine. (Even though it’s almost like you never went anywhere yet, with all the new videos.) Hold your head.

Hot Girl (in my mind, at least) 4 Life,

Vanessa Satten

P.S. I, too, will stand up for marijuana any day.

Be sure to pick up the May 2010 issue, featuring Nicki Minaj & Drake, which hits national newsstands tomorrow, April 20.