In August 1997, Harris Publications published the first issue of XXL Mag. It featured rappers Jay-Z and Master P on a double cover. Since its first publication, the edition behind XXL Mag has always been very focused on helping young rappers and genre artists launch their careers and make themselves known to the public. In August 2005, Eminem and XXL teamed up to release a special issue titled XXL Presents Shade 45, and it was designed to give maximum exposure to Shade 45, the radio station the rapper created. At the same time the contract stipulated maximum exposure to the Shady Records label as a whole, as well as the radio DJ’s and G-Unit Records.
In December 2006, XXL took over hip-hop producer DJ Scratch, renaming the magazine XXL Presents Scratch Magazine. However, Scratch abandoned the contract less than a year later, in September 2007.
In November 2008 XXL released XXL Raps Volume 1, which included music from 50 Cent, G-Unit, Common, Jim Jones and Fabolous. And for its 16th anniversary on August 20, 2013 XXL released its 150th issue. The issue included the magazine’s first solo cover, starring Drake, and rappers such as Kendrick Lamar and B.o.B. giving their opinion on classic albums.