Morris Claiborne

Jay-Z, photographed for the cover of the premiere issue of XXL magazine by Barron Claiborne in 1997. The shoot was held at Barclay-Rex, a cigar shop in Midtown New York.

In a 2013 interview the magazine’s co-founder and art director Donald Morris explained the shoot in more detail: “One of the key moments of that day for me was when Jay-Z showed up for the shoot. I worked for a magazine called Art & Auction, so when I got into hip-hop, I started dealing with all the rappers being extremely late. Jay was at least 20 minutes early, so he immediately gained my respect. That’s a very rare thing in hip-hop. That’s always stuck out in my mind. Shortly after he arrived Jay smoked his cigar, and Barron got the shot.“