Every XXL magazine cover in the past 25 years
Pushing hip-hop to the next level has been XXL The magazine’s focus for 25 years. As times change, the commitment to documenting culture remains the same.
Lyrics: Georgette Cline
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the fall 2022 issue of XXL Magazine, now on newsstands.
There’s a first time for everything as a hip-hop fan. Whether it’s buying a favorite rapper’s album or catching a show that replays as an undeniable but distant memory years later, there are plenty of firsts to come. One of them is in a tangible form that even the digital age cannot replicate. Taking up the pages of a XXL magazine to read exclusive interviews with the game’s most respected MCs was a ritual for anyone who lived and breathed hip-hop back in 1997, when the first issue was published. A double blanket with Jay Z and Master P decorated the first number. Considering the career heights the two artists have enjoyed since then, it seems like they were the right choice to launch a publication that now celebrates 25 years of documenting hip-hop at the next level.
As the decades have passed and technology has evolved, so has hip-hop and publishing. Whether the magazine comes out monthly or four times a year, one thing that has remained constant is XXLhis dedication to culture. Revered MCs, acclaimed street rappers, acclaimed bands and famous freshmen have found their place on the cover, inside the book and on XXLMag.com.
Eminem, lil wayne, The notorious BIG, Kanye West, Coming, Lil’ Kim, jeezy, Duck, Standby, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, 21 Wild, Tupac Shakur, Little baby, OutKast, juice world, Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg, Lil Uzi Vert, IT, Playboy Carti, Tyler the Creator and 50 centswho bills himself as the king of the cover with 20 to his name, are just a few of the hip-hop superstars to land on the front.
In honor of 25 years in the game, XXL celebrates milestone birthday with self-proclaimed “Rap God” Eminem. The prolific MC, who is locked in nine XXL covers now, looks back on his storied career and gives an honest view of life in his own words. Raw and unfiltered, like hip-hop should be. A quarter century in the books proves there’s plenty of rap history to dig into XXL‘s pages, but there’s more in store. Revisit the magazine’s 254 past covers (minus the new Em cover) below and get ready for the next ones.
pick it up 25th anniversary print number from XXL magazine to see everything 254 covers passed in XXL history, on newsstands now. Check out other interviews in the magazine, including our cover with Eminem, Bobby Shmurda, YungMiami, JID, GloRilla, Yvngxchris, Sleazyworld Go, P-models, jim jones, Symba, Raisonsinger jessie reyezactor Trevante Rhodes and musical director Katina Bynum. The issue also includes a deep dive into a narrative piece on America’s legal systems’ battle with rap lyrics, rappers’ longstanding connection to anime, and music supervisors’ renewed interest in placing 1990s hip-hop in today’s TV series .