Billboard 2023: The Covers

Music 2023 was a year of rising stars, Latin domination and breaking the mold, and Billboard’s cover stories reflected just that.

The year of Billboard covers kicked off with Paramore, who had just reunited as a band to release its first album together in six years, This Is Why.

Over the course of the year, superstar rappers like Youngboy Never Broke Again, Lil Yachty, 50 Cent have graced the cover, as did rising rap sensation Ice Spice. Over on the dance front, Kaytranada posed for the Pride issue, while Kaskade and deadmau5 appeared on the SXSW issue.

It was also a big year for Latin couples, as both Lele Pons and Guaynaa as well as Rosalia and Rauw Alejandro showed their love for a Billboard cover story. Women also dominated the scene, as the 2023 Woman of the Year SZA and all of the Latin Women in Music honorees were featured on covers this year.

Billboard‘s Pride cover featured a special shoot featuring Maren Morris dressed as Willie Nelson, posing alongside drag supesrtars Sasha Colby, Eureka O’Hara, Landon Cider and Symone. Billboard also celebrated the Latin Power Players in September with a soul-baring interview from Shakira, and highlighted Japanese girl group XG in October.

Shakira opened up about what she’s looking forward to after a tumultuous few years. “The last time I released an album was six years ago,” she tells Billboard. “Now I can release music at a faster clip, although sometimes I think being a single mom and the rhythm of a pop star aren’t compatible. I have to put my kids to bed, go to the recording studio; everything is uphill. When you don’t have a husband who can stay home with the kids, it’s constant juggling because I like to be a present mom and I need to be there every moment with my children: take them to school, have breakfast with them, take them to play dates. And aside from that, I have to make money.”

XG, meanwhile, talked about their musical inspiration and what stands them apart.

“What makes us extraordinary,” Jurin says, “is that I feel we are able to break free from all these norms and borders that tend to bind us. By that same token, there is a bond between us that transcends a lot of types of challenges, and it’s really amazing to have that.”

Cocona agrees. “Everyone is so genuine, it feels like we’re just being our true ‘animal’ selves,” she says. “We live life as it comes and follow our hearts. The moments where we have relaxed conversations with everyone and Simon are when I’m happiest. We always say, ‘Let’s definitely go to [outer] space someday!’ ” (Her groupmates nod agreeably to that ambition.) Harvey adds, “Everyone is just bursting with passion, and our love for each other is so strong! We make sure we communicate well and respect and understand each other, so this forms a really tight bond.”

See below for Billboard‘s 2023 magazine covers.

Paramore

Image Credit: Meredith Jenks

A reunited Paramore graced the first cover of the year on January 18, 2023.

Read the cover story: The Future of Paramore: Pop-Punk Heroes On Their Urgent New Album and Their ‘Surreal’ Next Chapter

YoungBoy Never Broke Again

Image Credit: Diwang Valdez

Youngboy Never Broke again shared the details of his rebirth for the February 4, 2023 issue.

Read the cover story: The Secret Life, House Arrest and Rebirth of Youngboy Never Broke Again

50 Cent

Image Credit: Jai Lennard

50 Cent reminisced on his 20-year career for the February 9, 2023 issue.

Read the cover story: 50 Cent Pulls the Curtain Back on His Multimedia Empire

Feid

Image Credit: Devin Christopher

FEID shared his journey to solo stardom for the March 11, 2023 issue.

Read the cover story: Meet Feid, The Songwriter to the Latin Stars Finding His Solo Spotlight

Lele Pons & Guaynaa

Image Credit: Mary Beth Koeth

Lele Pons and Guaynaa were couple goals on the February 14, 2023 cover.

Read the cover story: With a Wedding on the Horizon, Lele Pons and Guaynaa Are Marrying Their Music, Too

SZA

Image Credit: AB + DM

SZA was named Billboard Woman of the Year on February 25, 2023.

Read the cover story: Billboard Woman of the Year SZA on Making Chart History and Preparing to ‘Pop Ass and Cry and Give Theater’ On Tour

Kx5

Image Credit: Austin Hargrave

Kaskade and deadmau5 came together as Kx5 for the March 11, 2023 issue.

Read the cover story: Why Kaskade and deadmau5 Formed Kx5, Dance Music’s Most In-Demand Odd Couple

Nyla XO

Image Credit: Christopher Patey

Nyla XO was the 2023 Samsung NXT winner for the March 16, 2023 cover.

Read the cover story: How Nyla XO Used Her ‘DIY Queen’ Skills to Win the Samsung NXT 2.0 Competition, And Finally Take Center Stage

Luke Combs

Image Credit: Eric Ryan Anderson

Luke Combs shared his journey to new country frontiers on the April 1, 2023 cover.

Read the cover story: How Luke Combs Is Taking Country Music to New Global Frontiers

Bang Si-hyuk

Image Credit: Jessica Chou

HYBE’s Chairman Bang Si-hyuk gave a lesson in K-pop for the April 22, 2023 issue.

Read the cover story: The Big Bang Theory: HYBE’s Chairman on K-Pop’s Future, The BTS Model, AI Plans and More

Mujeres Latinas En La Musica

Image Credit: Illustration by Israel G. Vargas

The Latin Women in Music dominated the April 25, 2023 cover.

Read the cover story: Women Are Breaking Barriers in Latin Music. But, Why Is it Taking so Long?

Ice Spice

Image Credit: Christian Cody

Ice Spice shared her journey to becoming “the People’s Princess of rap” for the May 13, 2023 issue.

Read the cover story: The New ‘Princess’ of Rap: How Ice Spice Exploded Into Stardom

Jelly Roll

Image Credit: Eric Ryan Anderson

Jelly Roll shared how he overcame obstacles to get to his big wins for the June 3, 2023 cover.

Read the cover story: From Prison to No. 1: Nashville Rising Star Jelly Roll Proves That ‘Losers Can Win’

Maren Morris

Image Credit: Munachi Osegbu

Marn Morris posed alongside drag supesrtars Sasha Colby, Eureka O’Hara, Landon Cider and Symone on the June 10, 2023 cover.

Read the cover story: As Drag Bans Proliferate, Maren Morris Goes Deep With Drag’s Biggest Stars on Why The Show Must Go On

Kaytranada

Image Credit: Joelle Grace Taylor

Kaytranada talked the future of dance music for the June 10, 2023 issue.

Read the cover story: Go DJ: Why Everyone Wants to Work With Kaytranada

Portugal. The Man

Image Credit: Brian Adams

Fuerza Regida

Image Credit: Martha Galvan

Peso Pluma

Image Credit: Mary Beth Koeth

Lil Wayne

Image Credit: Ramona Rosales

Nas

Image Credit: Obidigbo Nzeribe

Larry Jackson

JKBX

RBD

Diddy

Shakira

Metro Boomin

Ghostwriter

Manuel Turizo

Rosalía & Rauw Alejandro

Image Credit: Kanya Iwana

Roalia and Rauw Alejandro made us all jealous of their love on the steamy April 1, 2023 cover.

Read the cover story: Rosalía & Rauw Alejandro Reveal All On Why They’re Creative & Romantic Soulmates

XG

Lil Yachty

Image Credit: Peter Ash Lee

Lil Yachy discussed his skyrocketing career for the March 11, 2023 cover.

Read the cover story: Lil Yachty On His Big Rock Pivot: ‘F-ck Any of the Albums I Dropped Before This One’