1. Snoop Dogg (September 1993)
22-year-old Snoop appeared on the cover of the magazine’s first issue, his cover story was in advance to his debut album, Doggystyle (which was highly anticipated following his contribution’s to Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, the previous year).
2. The Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans (October 1995)
For those of us old to remember; Biggie and Faith’s relationship was a source of major drama in the mid-’90s.
3. Michael Jackson (June/July 1995)
For the cover and accompanying photo shoot, Michael dressed in hip-hop clothing (reportedly for the first and only time in his career).
4. Mary J. Blige (February 1995)
This was the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” first cover.
5. Tupac Shakur (April 1995)
The famous interview in which Tupac anticipated his death, he would be killed the following year.
6. R. Kelly (December 1994/January 1995)
R. Kelly’s first cover.
7. Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Tupac and Suge Knight (February 1996)
In less than a year Death Row would fall apart, with Dr. Dre decamping that summer, Tupac’s murder in September and Snoop forever distancing himself from Suge.
8. The Notorious B.I.G and Puffy (September 1996)
In the candid interview, Puffy and Biggie opened up about the events surrounding the 1994 near fatal shooting of Tupac, at a Manhattan recording studio, their feud with Suge Knight and Death Row, and the on-going East Coast/West Coast rivalry.
9. Tupac Shakur (November 1996)
10. The Notorious B.I.G. (May 1997)
11. Ice Cube (March 1994)
After Are We There Yet?, nobody.
12. TLC (November 1994)
I am sure Andre Rison loved this cover.
13. Penny Hardaway, Charles Barkley, Grant Hill and Shaquille O’Neal (August 1996)
Did we all collectively forget about the 1996 Olympic Dream Team II?
14. “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” (August 1994)
Prince’s first interview since changing his name, the previous year, to the unpronounceable symbol.
15. Method Man, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Master P, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, Foxy Brown and Lauryn Hill (February 1998)
Clearly, Lauryn Hill was the best pick of the year.
16. Lauryn Hill (August 1998)
The cover story to promote the release of her now classic album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill .
17. Janet Jackson (November 1997)
This was Janet’s second cover and her nipple’s first.
18. Chris Rock and Michael Jordan (February 1997)
19. Jay-Z (April 1999)
Jay-Z’s first cover.
20. Tupac Shakur (February 1994)
The classic Tupac cover, summed up best by Complex:
“The world might never truly understand Tupac. What, if any of his persona was an act and what was reality? Was he a calculated genius? Was he crazy? Was he both? We’ll never know. But the image of him on this classic VIBE cover captures the dichotomy of his character. Even in an insane asylum he maintains a ‘don’t-give-a-fuck’ look on his face.”