#3. Snoop Dogg (VIBE, 1993)
Issue: September 1993
Art Direction: Richard Baker
Photography: Dan Winters
For VIBE's test issue they gave the cover to Naughty By Nature's Treach, definitely a very popular entity in the marketplace, but one who was also tied to the previous hip-hop generation. When the proper inaugural issue came about they instead went with an artist who was clearly in the midst of ushering in a new era of hip-hop.
Snoop was a young West Coast gangsta and after stealing the show on Dre's album, the fever for Doggystyle was higher than that of any rap album prior (and maybe even since). The cover of the large format pub featured a minimalist headshot of the rapper, shifty eyed and in a Beanie. Today it's weird to see Snoop, who has spent the 18 years since in a stoned haze, look so alert.