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20 Covers for 20 Years of XXL Magazine

By Jamara Robinson, Life+Style Reporter, (@itsJamara)

XXL Magazine, one of the most popular hip-hop publications in the country, will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. With its release in 1997, the magazine has remained a pillar for hip-hop and has kept up that standard through its strong print circulation and notable Freshman Class list, to name a few.

In addition to its yearly Freshman Class list of up and coming hip-hop artists, XXL is popular for its front page covers. The cover typically features an artist is “the next big thing”—or the most talked about artist at that time. The publication’s first cover featured Jay-Z and foreshadowed the magazine’s takeover of other hip-hop publications, as Jay-Z was on the fast track to soon surpassing his rap peers. Another iconic XXL cover was modeled after Art Kane’s legendary “Great Day in Harlem” Esquire shoot and featured 200 hip-hop artists and personalities across a fold-out cover as a representation of the unity in hip-hop. Every cover amasses fans eager to read the information XXL gathers about various artists.

In celebration of their 20th anniversary, XXL Magazine will drop 20 anniversary covers, showcasing the hottest hip-hop artists in the game. These artists include Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, Diddy, Wiz Khalifa, Cam’ron, Lil Uzi Vert, Migos, Snoop Dogg, Pusha T, Future, T.I., Fabulous, Rae Sremmurd, Birdman, Run the Jewels, Yo Gotti, Gucci Mane, Tech N9ne, E-40, and The Lox.

The magazine will cover the course of each artist’s career from “their bumps in the road to the chart-topping wins to [their] genre-defining albums,” according to XXL. These collector’s items were shot by famed photographer Travis Shinn and will be available for purchase Oct. 17.


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