#20. Nas (XXL, 2003)

Issue: September 2003
Art Direction: Rommel S. Alama & Davina A. Lennard
Photography: Piotr Sikora

At the height of the XXL and The Source feud, XXL took a bold shot by having Nasty Nas light a copy of the rival mag ablaze for this cover. In an obvious nod to neutrality Nas is also burning a copy of XXL on the cover as well as a bevy of other publications—VIBE, Mass Appeal, BLAZE, Fader, Complex—with his face on them in the actual pages (inexplicably enough, a Rolling Stone with Ashton Kucher on the cover also landed in the pit).

But it's The Source that he's holding front and center. Surely Benzino was not pleased. XXL EIC Elliott Wilson did little to quell the flames in his purposely vague Editorial Letter either—"I don't like you. You don't like me. It's not likely we'll ever be friends."