Top Ten Hip Hop Album Covers of all time

By  Mike Fever.

Style, Influence,Controversy,Shock Value, and Making a Statement. See if you agree with my list. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

1.Ice T – Power

A lot of us who post on here were just leaving or just about to leave high school when this album came out. Was it a classic album,,some (mostly west coast dudes) might say it is. It did have it’s moments, I’m your pusher, High Rollers, Ya Playing yourself, and I think they had Colors on here too. But forget all that. THIS ALBUM COVER HAD EVERYBODY MESMORIZED… I even heard females saying “damn, who is that chick?” At this time Ice had the baddest girl in hip hop and her name was……………………..Darlene!! Whenever I see a greatest hip hop album cover list and I don’t see this one on it,,the writer loses all credibility with me. Rememer she is the only one showing her gun,,Ice and his man are hiding theres (on the back cover you see the guns). Even Ladies Love Cool James, when beefing with Ice T said in his verse that was supposed to be dissing Ice, that she wears it well and he takes the album cover to the bathroom…and I aint talking about shitting,,LOL… I was gonna go from ten to one and save this for last but I couldn’t Be real yall,,,this is the GREATEST ALBUM COVER EVER!!! I could go on and on but I won’t..continue to read on while I go to the bathroom.

2. Nas – Illmatic

I think everyone remembers the first time when they saw this cover. I mean it really defines the album to a tee. The poetic thoughts of a kid in the ghetto,,looking for something better, trying to find himself, trying to escape, but at the same time loves where he lives and the people who share it with him. This cover is one of the rare ones that tell you that the album is a classic before you even hear it. Nas cornered the market on putting childhood pictures on an album cover and all that came after (including Biggie) did not measure up,,Im not hatin on BIG, that is just a fact. This cover started a trend that rappers or DJ’s are still doin today 15 years later! A 5 Mic Classic album, with a 5 Mic Classic cover.

3. Ice Cube – Death Certificate

By This time, Amerikka’s Most Wanted, Ice Cube could actually do no wrong. Everything he did was dope including his album covers,,that’s why he’s the only artist to have two covers in this list. Look at the statement this album makes, Uncle Sam Dead!!! Is there more that needs to be said? This album featured the Life Side and the Death Side, Khalid Muhammad and the Nation of Islam and all of what was the racial climate of the time, and the album cover summed it all up, Death to the American Dream! For Real this cover could be the greatest ever.


4. Old Dirty Bastard – Return to the 36 Chambers, The Dirty Version

The main point of this cover is to let the world know that “I’m 26 years old and still on welfare!!!” Yo!! This is this dudes actual Id! Look at the look on his grill! The braids!!! Dude was nuts! Remember his welfare office visit from a limo while being filmed by MTV? Dude was not B.Sing at all. ODB got more seeds than weed!! His Chuckers had a bag of weed instead of the Timberland tree. RIP to the Illest to ever do it. Hip Hop Misses you.

5. Ice Cube – Kill At Will

When I first thought of doing this I was gonna put this album cover at number three, but I think I got my list right. Anyway, aside from Ice T this is my Favorite album cover of all time. Yo! Cube is handing you the gun….. what you gonna do with it? Me and another dude that posts on here grew to have a weird fetish with guns, St. Ides,weed, and most of all; the City of L.A. At the time this EP (wasn’t an album) came out we weren’t at the height of our personal problems but if it were out..mabye I wouldn’t even be on here typing this shit…. This cover has it all and it’s so simple. Style, Influence,Controversy, and Shock value. Before the “Are We There Yet” O’Shea Jackson…The Nigga You Love To Hate, Ice Cube was that shit. I dare you to argue.

6. Geto Boys – We Can’t be Stopped

“Yo, Bushwick was all drunk and arguing with his girl and shot his dam eye out!” “Lets take a picture at the hospital and use it for our album cover!” That was pretty much it, but very effective. This story was all over MTV at the time,,,If you do your own list on don’t include this cover, you a straight hamster nigga.

7. Scarface – Mr. Scarface is back

Alright…If you did not know who Scarface was,your first question was, which one in the hell is Scarface? Which what makes this cover so dope. Also The total Carnage that is going on,,what? A drug deal gone bad? This cover is as wild as it gets, Cocaine and Guns!!! and so was this album. I Remember Tyron and Pete From Wilmigton use to KILL this joint..actually Pete put me on to this album.

8. The Roots – Things Fall Apart

Remember this album (The best one by The Roots) had five different album covers? Remember the other four? (A baby, A church, A kid Crying, and dead man with an Ace of Spades in his hand) This one is my fave. The picture is from a riot either in the 50’s or 60’s in the middle of Bed Stuy Brooklyn. The Fear on the woman’s face says it all. Damn!

9. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet

P.E. was always some revolutionary dudes we all know that. I fought hard to put A Nation of Millions in this place but I think this cover is a little better. I’ll never forget being in the record store in the Dover Mall and these two white dudes were looking at the cover saying “fear of a black planet”? and kind of smirking at the same time. I didn’t bother to say anything; but today at least from a Music Standpoint, these dudes were prophets. Damn, don’t we have a black president now too? Also the bottom of the cover says “THE COUNTER ATTACK ON WORLD SUPREMACY” Around the time this abum came out, and with the racial tension that was in the air….gotta give PE Props..maybe this should have been higher on the list.

10. A Tribe called Quest – Midnight Marauders

Not many people know or realized that this album actually had three covers. The Frame around the lady was either in Red, green, or the last color that no one can tell me. I think it was black. Anyway, The best part of this album cover was trying to figure out who the hell was on it and trying to name everybody. Is that Puffy on the lower left hand corner on the back?

Honorable mention to:
Paid in Full,Ataliens, Dare Iz a Darkside,Nation of Millions, By All Means Necessary, Straight Outta Compton, 36 Chambers, De La is Dead, Machevelli

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6 Comments

  • Joe Carter

    Reply Reply February 5, 2009

    Enjoyed the discussion.

  • mike fever

    Reply Reply February 23, 2009

    thanks…those were the good ole days of hip hop

  • Billy Ocean

    Reply Reply August 31, 2010

    Honorable mentions aside, how in the world “Aquemeni” did not make this list is amazing if not telling. Best hipHop covers are east and west coast? Come on Mike!

  • admin

    Reply Reply August 31, 2010

    What are you on Billy? Geto Boys? Scarface??? That’s H-Town!

  • Billy Ocean

    Reply Reply August 31, 2010

    Word, my bad yo. The image of Bushwick blinded me. But for real though, no Aquemini?

  • Carlos Enriquez

    Reply Reply June 21, 2012

    It still baffles me Liquid Swords wasn’t even a mention, but this list is solid. Props

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