FEATURES

  • 36 U-N-I-T-Y Over their nearly 20-year career, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have gone through a gauntlet of legal troubles and inner turmoil, which makes their new reunion album all the more special. It’s history in the making.
  • 40 New Money In a decade full of one-hit wonders and a flourishing independent market, hip-hop culture has met a dizzying amount of new talent since 2000. The amount of undeniable superstars, however, has been less staggering. XXL ranks the decade’s 10 biggest, and most influential, freshmen. Plus, the events and trends, spanning from 2000 to 2009, that redefined the rap game.
  • 56 Locked Up More than ever, rap’s hottest stars—including Lil Wayne, T.I. and Gucci Mane—are facing jail time during the height of their relevancy. This recent wave of locked-up heavyweights prompts the question: What does prison do for a rapper’s career?
  • 64
    Reminder
    Returning to the game after a 10-year hiatus, the God MC remains as influential as ever. With XXL moderating, the rejuvenated legend fields 20 questions from a diverse crop of Rakim-inspired spitters.
  • 70
    All Falls Down
    One-time production giant Scott Storch had it all—money, celebrity, girlfriends and a succession of hit records. But overindulging in fame’s spoils quickly sent his life into the pits. Plugging away toward an artistic rebirth, Storch talks about where it all went wrong.

COVER STORY

  • 46
    Soul on Ice
    Jail is no new place for Gucci Mane. On his fifth and, hopefully, last stay back in the pokey, ATL’s problem child is taking this setback more like a gentleman than a gangster.

DEPARTMENTS

  • 31
    Show & Prove
    Louisiana Ca$h, Donnis, Young Problemz, Jason Derulo
  • 80 Eye Candy Stretch out on Kimbella’s love seat.
  • 87
    The Cool
    Jim Jones, Styles P and Rev Run collaborate with the latest spring designs. Plus, Juelz Santana tries out the new 2010 Ford Lincoln MKS.
  • 101
    X-Rated
    It’s the best mixtapes of 2009.

PLUS

  • 12
    Editorial
    VS sets ’em straight.
  • 16
    Letters
    Def Jam’s 25th anniversary scores.
  • 21
    360
    The real hip-hop Grammys
  • 114
    Doin’ Lines
    Plies