Table of Contents May 2011

Features

  • 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.

Departments

  • 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.

PLUS

  • 8 Editorial
    VS sets ’em straight.
  • 14 Letters
    The people have spoken: Shady 2.0 is a hit!
  • 106 Doin’ Lines
    Game