- 44 MY YEARLast April, Wiz Khalifa posed for the cover of our 10 Freshmen for ’10 issue, ready to take on the rap world. A year later, and the Taylor Gang general has just released his official debut album. XXL runs down the highlights.
- 50 HIT THE LIGHTS
It’s been a long time coming, but Lasers has finally arrived. It may not be the exact album Lupe Fiasco intended, but after some compromise with his label, Atlantic Records, the Chicago MC earned himself a No. 1 album. So why is Lu still fighting?
- 60 BOOK OF RHYMES
It used to be that MCs scribbled lyrics in composition notebooks, leaving personalized journals of rhymes and song concepts. Now it’s all iPhones, BlackBerrys, MacBooks and constructing entire songs from memory. XXL wants to know, have rappers completely abandoned the pen and pad?
- 70 What Would I Do
Big Sean is patient. After sitting on the G.O.O.D. Music bench since signing in 2007, Kanye’s protege is dropping his debut LP. Are you ready?
- 74 Free My Soul
On March 15, 2001, hip-hop singer Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale passed away due to complications stemming from two separate strokes. With fans, fam and friends collectively mourning his death, XXL takes a look at his life.
- 80 Your World and My World
Everyone loves a good collaborative song, but what happens when hip-hop’s best get together to work on entire LPs? The results have been varied. So, as the rap world patiently waits for Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne to drop, we trace the ups and downs of collabo albums.
- 21 360
Hip-hop reacts to the tragedy in Japan, Lil Boosie’s daughter raps; Tyler, the Creator goes shopping in thrift stores; and rap’s face-tattoo trend is examined.
- 30 Soul Search
Jeremih overcomes the sophomore jinx.
- 33 Show & Prove
YC, Schoolboy Q, Mo Pain, Dee-1
- 86 Eye Candy
Masika Kalysha isn’t just relying on her 34D-25-38 frame – the Chi-Town beauty has a plan.
- 90 The Good Life
Brooklyn’s Maino thugs it out in the latest spring gear.
- 97 X-Rated
The Beastie Boys are back, and XXL looks at mixtapes from the 2011 Freshmen with a critical eye.
- 8 Editorial
VS sets ’em straight.
- 14 Letters
The people have spoken: Shady 2.0 is a hit!
- 106 Doin’ Lines