Letter From the Editor: 50 Cent & Soulja Boy Just Made Sense

Image by Perou

After the last issue, I wasn’t sure what we were going to do. We were all wiped out from Kanye West and crew and needed a vacation (but ours doesn’t come until that fun week between Christmas and New Year’s). Nothing we were going to do was gonna be nearly as intense as KW’s 40 pages of power, but we needed to do something hot. And then it hit us—it actually hit digital content director Anslem Samuel and co-deputy editor Rondell Conway at the exact same time (great minds think alike)—50 Cent and Soulja Boy mean muggin’ and half-huggin’ (okay, I just wrote that last part so I could rhyme). I can’t take credit for it, but I love it! Sure, we’ve done almost a dozen 50 covers over the years (this one makes 12), but with the two old buddies (old being a relative term in this case) tweeting up a storm lately (they have yet to get at me @VSattenXXL once, just to beef for second), and even making that “Mean Muggin’” collabo, it made sense. 50 and SB loved the idea, and we were soon on the set with one of my favorite photogs, Perou, who just happened to be visiting from England (he’d come here to pick up chopped-and-screwed mixtapes he can’t get back at home—okay, not really, but R.I.P. DJ Screw).

Some of you might be questioning what the mask is on 50’s face. You could be wondering what to call it. We’ve decided it’s a ninja’s mask, and it looks crazy on the cover, with Soulja Boy all tatted up like that, with those kinda-back-in-the-day yellow-gold (ridiculous) pieces, and with Fif all bare armed, tattoos removed. We know a ton of you will hate on this cover (feel free to continuing to comment here at XXLMag.com), and I can and can’t understand why. I can, because most of you have a love/hate/hate/love/hate/love relationship with Fif, but with SB, well, all that just confuses me. Okay, I admit you won’t find too much Soulja Boy in my iTunes playlists [but] if I’ve had enough to drink at the club (rarely happens), then I might dance along to a hit Soulja song (I don’t bird walk, though).

There are so many wannabe rappers out there trying to do just what Soulja Boy did. They’re making beats and songs with equipment at home, then performing locally and plugging their MySpace (or whatever) pages, all in the effort of trying to get a record deal and become a rap star. Makes sense, ’cause he succeeded, we tear him down, right? (Just like 50, right?) It’s not like a lot of you haven’t tried a little coke (or worse) yourself. Just kidding…? Needless to say, check out what Fif and SB had to say when the two got together, starting on page 42. I am gonna diss Soulja Boy, though, and say I think his eyebrow tattoos are dumb, but this really is coming from a selfish place. He was not supposed to go and tweet pics from our cover shoot then leak video!

But this issue is a good one, if I do say so myself. Sure, there are no pictures of chairs or speakers, and we’re back to using our regular paper in the whole book, but the stories are dope this month. Our new features editor, Thomas Golianopoulos (welcome, Thomas G.!), investigated the phenomenon of albums leaking. It’s something we can count on at this point, but how does it actually happen, and how can you fight it (page 60)? Lloyd Banks is back and has been bringing some heat, so we had Ben Detrick catch up with Blue Hefner to see where he’s been the past couple of years (page 74). And I caught up with Shyne for the final installment of our three-part Po series (page 78). (Between Shyne and Kanye, I am almost, but not quite, knocked the hell out!) Last but not least, I can’t leave out the hip-hop-soul special. It’s the 10th anniversary of one of hip-hop’s most loved R&B albums, R. Kelly’s TP-2.com (always funny to me that the title was “.com” way back then). Kells broke down the making of his classic LP, and it’s definitely an interesting read for any of his true fans. And you know most of y’all love the Pied Piper. (Trey Songz, this one’s for you.)

Before I’m out of here, I want to say goodbye to Taiia Smart Young, our former managing editor, who is leaving us for our sister magazine, Juicy, and Matt Barone, our senior editor, who is leaving us to seek new horizons. Thank you for your dedication, and I wish you the best of luck. Also, another welcome, this one to our new ME, Laura Hatmaker. Okay team, let’s go!

Blunts in the air (again and always),

Vanessa Satten
Editor-In-Chief

  • Zuluboy Wonda

    Okay… where exactly is the thought process here? Am I missing something? BTW, this that tough love isht going on in the hoods but ppl be trippin’ like you don’t hug a thug? GTFOH!!! I don’t bump SB – ‘pass it up to Arab’ was crazy though… 50 def on my rotation…he jus needs to do that rider music and stop clownin!!!

  • aybay

    you wouldn’t have written this sorry letter from the editor if you didn’t know that cover was suspect. just sayin

  • lookadeez

    @aybay– you said it. that is all.

  • Sharoyce Antwan

    I dont know what’s so Broke Back Unit and Suckz On Deck Money Gang about this? Nothing suspect about friendship. The Eminem and 50 vibe cover looked way more slant wrist than this shit.

    Sharoyce Antwan- She Aint Had It Like This
    hulkshare.com/i0sxyfgeh9c2

  • quan

    @aybay- amen my man, nothing more to say other than that

  • MR. UNDI$PUTED THE MOGUL

    VANESSA,

    A LOT OF US HAVE BEEN DOWN WITH XXL MAG SINCE DAY 1 & WOULD LOVE TO KEEP SUPPORTING THIS MAGAZINE, BUT THE REALITY IS NO ONE EXCEPT THE DIE HARD 50 CENT STANS WANT TO SEE HIS FACE EVERY 3-4 MONTHS ON THE COVER ESPECIALLY SINCE HE HAS NO NEW CD COMING OUT. WHEN HIS NEW CD COMES OUT YOU’LL PUT HIM ON THE COVER THEN AS WELL. HAVEN’T YOU GUYS EVER HEARD OF OVER KILL. YOU GUYS MAKE PEOPLE WHO WERE FANS NO LONGER FANS ANYMORE. I’M OLDER & SOULJA BOY IS FROM A NEWER GENERATION SO I CAN STOMACH HIM ON THE COVER TO A CERTAIN DEGREE BUT JUST BECAUSE HIM & 50 ARE BUDDY BUDDY DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD THROW THEM BOTH ON THE COVER. JAY-Z & EMINEM ARE THE 2 BIGGEST STARS IN HIP HOP NOT IN JAIL OR EVEN RECENTLY OUT, YET THEY ONLY SEEM TO GET PUT ON THE COVER WHEN THEY HAVE NEW MUSIC DROPPING, SO NOW I’M STARTING TO THINK LIKE THE PEOPLE WHO USED TO SAY INTERSCOPE WAS PAYING FOR COVER’S BUT THAT’S NOT NECESSARILY TRUE BECAUSE 50 ISN’T ROLLING WITH THEM ANYMORE. HE’S GOT $$$ SO HE MUST BE PAYING FOR THE COVER’S OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET. LET’S USE SOME COMMON SENSE EITHER START PUTTING NEW UP & COMING HOT MC’S ON THE COVER OR PREPARE TO START LOSING CUSTOMER’S.

    PEACE & GET MONEY!!!
    MOGUL $$$ GAME ’10!!

  • DV8

    i didnt read the blog because there is nothing you could say to justify that cover. Thats a new low for XXL and its just sad. like Undisputed above I have been a XXL fan since day 1 (Jay-Z/ Master P double cover) Im sure Ive bought atleast 85% of everything youve ever printed. This is another one I will not be buying.

  • http://j-mace.deviantart.com Shawty J

    Let’s be honest XXL “jumped the shark” with this cover.

  • that nigga

    How can two of the wackest rappers out get on the cover of XXLMAG, you ask? Easy, by TWEETING gay shit to eachother. Wow, XXL is fallin way the fuck off.

  • swype-matic

    So u try to back up your cover by showing the ‘morning after’ pic of 50 & Soulja Boy today? Sure XXL.

  • avenger xl

    Do us all a favor and stop pretending that your homoerotic dream/cover is anything but a poorly thought out marketing tool design to generate revenue for your post relvent magazine. Using two of the big mainstream rappers(using that term losely) to push units. This isn’t about hating fif or sb listen to what you will but there is no art or meaning in this obvious garbage reach for attention and yes it is maaaaaad homo (note I am not one of those fools who calls everything homo as if the it is catching like a cold, I just call it like I see it). What I call this cover is some thunder dome/mad max futuristic homo erotic ish. Stop bullshiting xxl office staff and weed carriers

  • black jesus

    2 things:

    1. that cover was gay. there is no way around it, it was on some real homo-erotic shit.

    2. those parentheses every 3 sentences were annoying as fuck (and made the post look immature) unnecessary (and gave the article a written by a 5 year old vibe). next time, just dont do it (your little quips were not funny). your editor (if you have one) should not have allowed them (really).

  • Technique

    I don’t bump Soulja boy at all, but I’ll admit he has some hot beats. And 50 has slipped a little from the great mc he was once considered, but Before I Self Desruct was a pretty good album. Anyways my point is, this is gonna be the first issue I cop since thje Strange Music cover.

  • Chris

    word up to big rube

  • http://www.bboycult.com Don mcCaine

    Bottom line…

    I ain’t coppin’ it ’cause of Fif & Soulja…

    I’m coppin’ it ’cause of HIP HOP…

  • divadarlin82

    The men think its homo-erotic, and the women aren’t into burn victims and malnourished children. If it’s selling it’s selling I guess and I can’t stop you from trying to make money. It just seems by the fans voices we are sick and tired of you cramming your agenda down our throats. Someone mentioned it was a bit suspect for you to write an article on how great this is and I agree. You did it with Kanye drinking out of goblets, when Eminems cd was about to drop, and just shit on people that need exposure and have decent lyrics and talent. It’s like the bullies at school getting hype from everyone around them because they don’t want to be the next victims thus making incompetent loud mouths kings. 50 Cent and Soulja have little to no talent MCing and don’t deserve a push when they are getting killer sales already off wack as hell music. Be a real hip hop magazine and use your influence to think a little outside the box and promote real talent, and not just jock hop Popstars.

  • Big Felon

    man this look gay as hell i dont no whats goin on in the world today but that jus dont look right bruh, aint 50 supposed 2 b a street nicca this is not a good look 4 cuzz and soldier trash i never listened 2 either of these garbage ass niccas.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Dr@$t-iQ Alkoholik

    man fuck em both why you niggas not put Em a nigga who goin 3x plat locally and who the fuck knows x plat internationally for these ass wipes who’se last albums bombed like a terrorist in Afghanistan, stop dick riding these useless fux, fiddy done lost it after the money started coming in and Soulja should be on the cover of People or whatever the fuck em white girls read coz that’s his fan base. shit dont make sense, eat a dick for this, bruv

  • SMH

    50 Cent is gangstalicous. I first thought it was Ja Rule or Camron or a combination of both but 50 is starting to fit the bill. I don’t care about his lifestyle but he talk bad about the (sweet) looking rappers and he is doing the same homo stuff and above then they are. It is funny that he had beef with Ja Rule and Camron, he wanted to be the the biggest gaysta in the business.-SMH

  • payjay08

    I like the site and all, but a XXL in print lost its appeal to me a long time ago. And, it looks like not much has changed, being that it’s always the same people on the cover/being talked about, still. I purchased, like, one in the last 5 years, the Freshman ’09 I think it was. (Wale, Curren$y and them cats) I bet you one thing though, if 50 or SB wasn’t on this cover in that exact pose, both would be clowning on whoever was. Bet.

  • KiidKa$h313

    Da cover look so gay dawg.Everybody new Soulja wuz gay when he came out wit Pretty Boy Swag but 50 mane its all wrong.N its noticeable cuz soulja wit his shirt off n 50 standin behind him smh 2 gay people

  • http://www.candidbackshots.com Candid BACKshotS

    Hey I think that kanye issue was super dope so maybe this issue is a bit of a letdown due to how good the previous issue was. Oh and the cover is cool to me….i dont get all this homo this homo that talk. yall idiots take shit way outta proportion.

  • flavorblade

    I think the cover is hard. I hear the criticism of homoerotic, but personally my mind doesn’t think along those terms naturally. I think to see this more as a big brother/little bother sort of thing. Or the young don/and the strong arm. Why think anything else?

  • Massy 8ball

    Because it is what it is, its a man in a wife beater with his arm wrapped around a shirtless younger fellow with what looks like jewelry he bought him, I mean all jokes aside it belongs on Diesel Life. As stated, 50 would be the first to laugh and go at anyone else who would be on a cover like this. It’s clownish and homo-erotic.

  • Massy 8ball

    I doubt you read comments XXL, but straight up just consider putting someone like Mysonne, Hieroglyphics, or even someone like El-P on your cover and adding some legitimacy to you being a real hip hop magazine.

  • flavorblade

    Still don’t buy the homo. Souljah boy can afford to rent his own jewelry, and dudes in the hood walk around all day in wife beaters or with no shirts on during the summer. I think he is trying to show off all of his tats; looks like he can give Wayne a run for his money. The arm around him says; that if you mess with him you mess with 50. Like all relationships with 50 it has a business purpose; providing a link to the young southern audience.

    My only question, is that really 50. I saw a picture of him, I suppose it was recent with money stacks in front of him. He didn’t look that big. I didn’t think he got back fully from his weight loss yet.

  • Judy

    This is the GAYEST cover of a magazine that I have seen..WTF were they thinking?? I mean no shirt, holding your shit and another man standing behind you with his arm on your sholder..really, really…down low brothers..really