XXL (pronounced /ˌdʌbəl ˌɛks ˈɛl/ "double-X-L") is a Hip-Hop magazine, published by Harris Publications.
In 1997, XXL was founded by former Source staffers as well as other Harris Publication employees, who wanted to create their own magazine about the hip-hop music and culture using the model developed by the founders of The Source. The magazine's past editors included Elliott Wilson (formerly of Ego Trip Magazine and The Source) and Datwon Thomas (former Editor-In-Chief of King Magazine). In May 2009 Datwon Thomas resigned from XXL and executive editor Vanessa Satten, who had been with XXL since 1998, was named the new Editor-in-Chief.
In December 2006, XXL took over the struggling Hip-Hop producer and DJ magazine Scratch (another publication owned by Harris Publications), re-branding it as "XXL Presents Scratch Magazine". Scratch shut down in September 2007. Other titles with limited runs have been launched under the XXL brand, including Hip-Hop Soul, Eye Candy and Shade45. XXL has released many other special projects including tour programs, mixtapes and exclusive DVDs. XXL also maintains a popular website , which provides daily hip-hop news, original content and content from the magazine.
In August, 2005, Eminem and XXL teamed up to release a special issue titled XXL Presents Shade 45, and was designed to give maximum exposure to Shade 45 as a radio station, and at the same time give maximum exposure to the Shady Records label as a whole, as well as the radioDJ's and G-Unit Records' artists. XXL executive Publisher, Jonathan Rheingold, stated that typically magazines based around particular artists were not favorable, but "since Shade 45 is a truly authentic and uncensored rap radio channel, the marriage with the XXL brand made sense," with the feeling that it is what would interest rap fans. In November 2008 XXL released XXL Raps Volume 1, which included music from50 Cent, G-Unit, Common, Jim Jones, & Fabolous. In September 2006, XXL put a special 90 minute DVD called XXL DVD Magazine Vol. 1, which featured exclusive interviews and content with big name rappers such as 50 Cent, Ice Cube, Fat Joe, Paul Wall, & Mike Jones.
Top 10 FreshmenEdit
XXL also releases an annual Top 10 Freshmen list. The issue features the ten picks of whom to watch out for, and on the cover of the magazine and showcases new rappers that aren't well known, but are considered to be on the rise. The list has become known to create buzz and is credited for giving many artists their first taste of fame.
- J. Cole
- Nipsey Hussle
- Wiz Khalifa
- OJ da Juiceman
- Freddie Gibbs
- Big Sean
- Jay Rock
- Meek Mill
- Big K.R.I.T.
- Cyhi Da Prynce
- Lil Twist
- Fred Da Godson
- Mac Miller
- Lil B
- Kendrick Lamar
- Diggy Simmons
XXL rates albums from "S" (poor) to "XXL" (classic). Initially, editors awarded XXL status to only eight albums:
- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill
- The Blueprint by Jay-Z
- Get Rich or Die Tryin' by 50 Cent
- Be by Common
- Late Registration by Kanye West
- Hell Hath No Fury by Clipse
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
A later issue in December 2007 re-rated and retroactively rated some albums and gave XXLs to:
- The Chronic by Dr. Dre *
- Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan *
- Illmatic by Nas *
- The Diary by Scarface *
- The Infamous by Mobb Deep *
- All Eyez on Me by 2Pac *
- Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z *
- The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory by 2Pac *
- Life After Death by The Notorious B.I.G. *
- 2001 by Dr. Dre
- The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem
- The Lost Tapes by Nas
- The College Dropout by Kanye West
Asterisk (*) denotes an album that was released before the existence of XXL magazine, meaning this is their original rating, not a re-rate.