Follow Us On The Web

Art & Culture

These Are The Top 20 Greatest Hip Hop Album Covers Of All Time, Ranked By Our Readership

By  | 

In the Land before time where album covers weren’t limited to a 1–by-1-inch digitized square, displayed on a quirky smartphone screen, they were admired by fans who took a record’s visual aesthetic almost as seriously as the music itself.

Picking the best album art ever created is a unnerving assignment, but that didn’t stop thousands of twitter users from taking a crack at it. From the instantly recognizable image of a baby Nas on Illmatic, to Kanye bear rocketing off to oblivion these album cover hold a special place in hip hops history.

20. Schoolly D, Schoolly D (1986)

Art Direction: Schoolly D
Illustrator: Schoolly D
Label: Schoolly D

 

19. Too $hort, Born to Mack (1987)

Art Direction: Mark Wholey
Photographer: Ann Flanagan Typography
Label: Dangerous/Jive/RCA

18. Kanye West, Graduation (2007)

Art Direction: Takashi Murakami
Illustrator: Takashi Murakami
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam

17. Master P, The Ghettos Tryin to Kill Me! (1994)

Art Direction: Uncredited
Photographer: Uncredited
Label: No Limit

16. Boogie Down Productions, By All Means Necessary (1988)

Art Direction: Douglas Rowell
Photographer: Douglas Rowell
Label: Jive/RCA

15. KMD, Black Bastards (1994)


Rapper: KMD
Art Direction: Zev Love X
Illustrator: Zev Love X

14. 50 Cent, Get Rich or Die Tryin’(2003)

Art Direction: Stang Inc.
Photographer: Sacha Waldman
Label: Aftermath/Shady/Interscope

 

 

13. Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (1992)

Art Direction: Slick K2S
Photographer: Fuct
Label: Delicious Vinyl

12. Dr. Dre, The Chronic (1992)

Art Direction: Kimberly Holt
Photographer: Daniel Jordan
Label: Death Row/Interscope/Priority

 

11. Ice Cube — Death Certificate (1991)

Rapper: Ice Cube
Art Direction: Kevin Hosmann
Photographer: Mario Castellanos

10. Live Crew, As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989)

Art Direction: Mac Hartshorn
Photographer: Mac Hartshorn
Label: Luke

 

 

9. Outkast, ATLiens (1996)

Art Direction: DL Warfield
Illustrator: Frank Gomez
Label: LaFace/Arista

 

8. DMX, Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood (1998)

Art Direction: Jonathan Mannion
Photographer: Jonathan Mannion
Label: Ruff Ryders/Def Jam

 

7. The Notorious B.I.G. — Ready to Die (1994)

Rapper: The Notorious B.I.G
Art Direction: The Drawing Board
Photographer: Butch Bel Air

Despite shamelessly jacking the transcendent artwork of an album released six months prior — Nas’ Illmatic — Ready to Die’s still an amazing piece of artwork even though the baby isn’t Biggie. It’s some random kid. Regardless, the cover’s simplicity, with its all-white background, positions the baby, who very much resembles a young BIG, at the forefront. The timelessness of the cover is in the image itself — that of an innocent baby looking content, above a headline that reads “Ready to Die.”

 

6.  Ol’ Dirty Bastard — Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version(1995)

Rapper: Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Photography: Alli
Art direction: Danny Clinch, Illustrator: Brett! (Design)

 

5.  GZA Liquid Swords

 

Rapper: GZA
Art Direction: Denys Cowan
Graphic Designer: Milestone Media

 

4. A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders (1993)

Art Direction: ZombArt
Photographer: TAR
Label: Jive/BMG

 

3. MF Doom Madvillainy 2004

Rapper: MF Doom
Art Direction: Jeff Jank
Photographer: Egon

 

 

2. Snoop Dogg — Doggystyle (1993)

Rapper: Snoop Dogg
Art Direction: Kimberly Holt
Illustrator: Joe Cool

 

1. Nas — Illmatic (1994)

Rapper: Nas
Art Direction: Danny Clinch
Photographer: Uncredited

“To every baby on the album cover existing’/This trend I was settin’ it came to fruition.” — Nas, “Nas Album Done,” on DJ Khaled’s 2016 album, Major Key

22 years later were still seeing artist put their baby photos on their cover… Long live Illmatic.

 

louboutin pas cher louboutin pas cher louboutin pas cher louboutin pas cher louboutin pas cher louboutin pas cher scarpe hogan outlet scarpe hogan outlet scarpe hogan outlet scarpe hogan outlet scarpe hogan outlet scarpe hogan outlet air jordan pas cher air jordan pas cher air jordan pas cher air jordan pas cher air jordan pas cher golden goose outlet golden goose outlet golden goose outlet golden goose outlet golden goose outlet golden goose outlet max maillots max maillot woolrich outlet