Birdman Shares How He Stays Relevant Through His Artists in XXL 20th Anniversary Interview
Birdman's been here before. In fact, he's been on the cover of XXL Magazine several times since 2000. On his first appearance on our cover, he was well on his way to continuing hip-hop's then-fairly-recent history of rap moguldum. Since then? Well, we don't think we need to say too much more. After all, the names, faces—and phrases—pretty much do all the talking.
Cash Money Records. '9-9 and the 2000. Juvenile. The Hot Boys. "Back That Azz Up." Lil Wayne. Like Father, Like Son. "Bling, Bling." Mannie Fresh. Big Tymers. Young Money. Drake. Nicki Minaj. "Still Fly." Respek. You name it, in one way or another, Birdman—formerly known as Baby—has played a major role facilitating the success of the rappers who ended up shaking up the game. In turn, he's shaped a large portion of the rap zeitgeist as we know it, all while finding himself a comfy little space on Forbes' annual list of hip-hop's highest earners.
As someone who either signed or discovered some of rap's biggest names, Birdman knows a little something about discovering talent and giving it the chance to shine. XXL does too, because, game recognize game, right?
Over the years, that mutual respek between XXL and the artist-entrepreneur has led to a strong relationship. That's why Birdman's received his own cover for XXL Magazine's 20th anniversary issue. Also, once again, game recognize game.
"XXL helped a lot of people," Birdman says in his XXL Fall 2017 cover story, written by XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten. "Y’all helped notarize a lot of no-names and even what y’all do with the cover with these Freshmen, y’all really changed they lives. The ones that y’all pick, to me, a lot of them have become successful and some of them haven’t. But, the ones that y’all do pick get a chance to become something. So, I think what y’all do with that is priceless. I salute you for that ’cause y’all."
Birdman is one of XXL's 20 special edition covers. Like the Cash Money boss, these artists have been documented by XXL through the extent of their careers and have always shown love to the brand that helped raise their profiles along with away. The New Orleans native's fellow cover stars are 50 Cent, the cover king with 15 total XXL covers and a career we’ve been documenting from the start; Nicki Minaj, a queen in hip-hop building her own pinkprint in the game; Diddy, the man who not only reinvented the remix but paved the way for rap moguls; Wiz Khalifa, the cool, calm and collected superstar; Cam’ron, Harlem’s swag connoisseur; Lil Uzi Vert; the face of hip-hop’s new generation; Migos, three rappers who helped redefine the culture; Snoop Dogg, the Doggfather of the game; Pusha T, a success story as a group member, solo artist and record executive; Future, a trendsetting trap god; T.I., rap’s gangsta and gentleman; Fabolous, a highly respected New York MC; Rae Sremmurd, the real crowd-pleasers; Run The Jewels, partners in rhyme and reason; Yo Gotti, a testament to tenacity; Gucci Mane, the true comeback kid; Tech N9ne; an independent icon; E-40; hip-hop’s in-the-know uncle; and The Lox, a trinity representing for the streets.
Check out Birdman's full Fall 2017 cover story here, watch his interview video below and keep it locked on our exclusive 20th anniversary hub for more content coming in honor of XXL's 20th anniversary.