For Plies, success in the rap game has bred some contempt. The Florida spitter’s credibility continues to elicit skepticism, no thanks to accusations of a fictionalized past. But is the man himself fazed? Think again.
’BOUT IT, ’BOUT IT
Diddy’s return to music isn’t a one-man show. Riding shotgun on the Bad Boy owner’s new album, Last Train to Paris, are the women of Diddy-Dirty Money—Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper-Vick. Get to know Mr. Combs’s bad girls.
- 60 LOST On April 19, the rap community was shaken by the death of former Gang Starr front man Keith “Guru” Elam, who succumbed to cancer. Yet in his wake lie unanswered questions. XXL examines Guru’s final years.
As reality television programs dominate TV ratings, hip-hop’s participation in the craze remains lucrative. Not all rapper-based shows have earned must-see-TV distinction, however. Here, we keep it real with them all.
BRIDGING THE GAP
Nas, the icon who once claimed that hip-hop was dead, has teamed up with reggae superstar Damian Marley to record the experimental LP Distant Relatives. As XXL learns firsthand, innovation is still alive and well.
DOCUMENTARY OF A GANGSTA
Twenty years ago, Ice Cube released the seminal AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, a solo debut that solidified the former N.W.A member’s legend status. In honor of its anniversary, Cube and his AMW collaborators recount the making of the West Coast classic.
With his Billboard-topping single “Nothin’ on You,” Atlanta rookie B.o.B is carrying the torch for T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint. Not bad for a freshman who once pondered an early retirement. The phenom reflects on his path to mainstream acceptance.
NOBODY DOES IT BETTER
He’s been in the game for years and it made him a mogul. Now all Diddy has to do is maintain his spot in hip-hop history.
SHOW & PROVE
YelaWolf, French Montana, Dom Kennedy, Outasight
Casci Sade gets pampered.
Hit the high seas in haute summer fashion.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony reunite, Soulja Boy gets lyrical and Chris Brown becomes a microphone fiend.
- 12 EDITORIAL VS sets ’em straight.
- 16 LETTERS XXL’s Freshman ’10 class makes the grade.
- 21 360 Dipset’s olive branch
- 114 DOIN’ LINES Fat Joe