XXL and Future have an interesting history together. At one point there might’ve been full-on beef (maybe I’m exaggerating, I’m not sure), but now things are better. And all it took was a solo cover, go figure. That’s not why we put Future Hendrix’s mug up on the front though. He’s there because he’s finally made himself a rap star. After all the drama, the hit songs and infectious hooks, a less than stellar sophomore album and a bunch of different managers, Future has pushed himself into hip-hop stardom. And it isn’t just because he had a baby with Ciara. Sure, dating another celebrity can always boost one’s reputation, but Future’s music is the thing that everyone is messing with right now. His new album DS2 left hip-hop heads pleasantly surprised and wanting more. All while Future slowly be- comes a fashion icon. He’ll probably turn into a tried and true model one day. Will he stay rapping or leave that all behind him like most rappers want to do? I don’t know. We’ll see.

Shout-out to Courtney Lowery at Epic Records. Court has been around for every element of our (past) Future drama—from getting him on the 2012 Freshman cover to that controversial studio session, to the two attempts at Drake negotiations and everything between—this cover might be more Courtney’s than Future’s.

Now in this interview with Future, the A-Town representer talks extensively about his former relationship with Ciara. That was actually one of the few things he seemed most interested in chatting about. Usually I’m not into all of that girl talk, but this time it was a bit different. It seemed like Future really wanted to explain how important it is for him to be a good father, to take care of his kids and develop a real connection with them. I respect that.

It was good to see the soft and sincere side of Future and his interaction with his son, Prince, who came to the shoot. Now I rarely have kids around me, so I’m way overwhelmed anytime they are. Prince was maybe the cutest kid I’ve met in a long time. Like, at first he was a bit mean to Courtney, but then we realized he just woke up from a nap and needed some time. Soon little Prince was dancing along to “Fuck Up Some Commas” and he dominated the room. Then when our cover photog, Ahmed Klink, started clicking photos of little man and his dad, it was over. We were this close to recreating the Blaze magazine Lil Wayne/Reginae cover!

This issue isn’t all about Future. We caught up with Scarface (page 60) who’s lost a bunch of weight, gotten braces and is barely recognizable at this point. He’s prepping the release of his 12th solo album and goes in on the current hip-hop landscape (now that’s an interesting read). Mac Miller moved to the Big Apple and he’s just released his third solo album (page 44), G-Eazy opens up about his new LP and two staff members, Dan Rys and Emmanuel Maduakolam, explore how the recent battle between Drake and Meek Mill stacks up against the infamous beef between 50 Cent and Ja Rule (page 56). Plus there’s Jidenna, Post Malone and Boogie in Show & Prove and much more.

“Smokin’ all this weed so geeked like I don’t need lungs”

Vanessa Satten