The year 1997 was when it all began for XXL magazine, documenting the culture up close and becoming part of the Hip-Hop cultural landscape in the process. To celebrate its 20th year in existence, XXL shared 20 special edition magazine covers featuring some of the top names in the game.
Choosing which artists to feature on the 20 covers was no easy feat, but looking at the rappers who’ve climbed to the top of their game, built a strong relationship with XXL over the years and/or maybe never had a solo cover before helped. Celebrating 20 years wouldn’t be complete without these artists: 50 Cent, the cover king with 15 total XXL covers and a career we’ve been documenting from the start; Nicki Minaj, a queen in hip-hop building her own pinkprint in the game; Diddy, the man who not only reinvented the remix but paved the way for rap moguls; Wiz Khalifa, the cool, calm and collected superstar; Cam’ron, Harlem’s swag connoisseur; Lil Uzi Vert; the face of hip-hop’s new generation; Migos, three rappers who helped redefine the culture; Snoop Dogg, the Doggfather of the game; Pusha T, a success story as a group member, solo artist and record executive; Future, a trendsetting trap god; T.I., rap’s gangsta and gentleman; Fabolous, a highly respected New York MC; Rae Sremmurd, the real crowd-pleasers; Birdman, a No. 1 stunna with a revered empire; Run The Jewels, partners in rhyme and reason; Yo Gotti, a testament to tenacity; Gucci Mane, the true comeback kid; Tech N9ne; an independent icon; E-40; hip-hop’s in-the-know uncle; and The Lox, a trinity representing for the streets.
Photographer Travis Shinn was behind the lens for the shoot. Peep out a few of the snaps below and be sure to hit up XXL to dig into the story.
Photo: XXL/Travis Shinn