#26. The Notorious B.I.G. (XXL, 1997)

Issue: Test Issue 1997
Art Direction: Donald E. Morris
Photography: Barron Claiborne

A magazine's test issue—a teaser to potential advertisers and readers—can define a new publication. The mission statement that XXL emblazoned on the cover of this preview—"Genius. Respect. Style. Soul. The Truth"—was bold and almost unnecessary. Biggie said it all with his street, but sophisticated presence. (Whether or not XXL would actually go on to meet these lofty aspirations is a topic for another discussion.)