• 44
    Me, Myself & I
    It’s taken Big Boi 16 years to go solo, yet the more-active half of Atlanta’s legendary duo OutKast wouldn’t have it any other way. On the eve of his first Andre 3000–less LP, Sir Luscious Left Foot is as cool as ever.
  • 56
    Most Known Unknown
    Kansas City, Missouri’s Strange Music record label, led by underground mainstay Tech N9ne, has been redefining the independent business model for 10 years. Allow Tech and company to formally introduce themselves.
  • 62
    All We Got Is Us
    For lovers of purist boom-bap, New York City–based Duck Down Records has long been rap’s most-reliable supplier. In honor of the triumphant indie label’s 15th anniversary, XXL learns its self-sufficient tactics firsthand.
  • 66
    Make It Work for Ya
    Hip-hop could use more unapologetic artists like Murs, the 17-year veteran who’s thrived on his own, without ever compromising his vision. Get to know the pride and joy of L.A.’s independent scene.
  • 68
    On My Own
    As the major labels scramble for answers, more and more established artists are placing their careers in their own hands. XXL asks, what exactly does it really mean to be “independent” in today’s music industry?
  • 70
    Reasonable Doubt
    Rick Ross is no stranger to resiliency. He’s been able to withstand charges of a fraudulent past and is now pushing a dope new album filled with Diddy-backed confidence. Still hating?


  • 48
    Going Through Changes
    These days, T.I. has plenty to be thankful for: a new album, a Hollywood action flick and, most importantly, freedom. Fresh out of the pen, after completing 10 months of a yearlong sentence on federal gun charges, Tip is ready to reclaim his throne. King back!


  • 35
    Show & Prove
    Big K.R.I.T., Meek Mill, Chiddy Bang, Miguel
  • 78
    Eye Candy
    Allain Victoria opens up her sex room, no questions asked.
  • 82
    The Cool
    A trio of pro skateboarders kick and push into summer gear.
  • 93
    Drake receives XXL’s gratitude, Asher Roth expands his horizons, and J. Cole rocks the mic.


  • 12 Editorial VS sets ’em straight.
  • 16 Letters Drake and Nicki Minaj cash in.
  • 21 360 Groupie love vs. hate
  • 106 Doin’ Lines Juvenile