The appeal of any great hip-hop album starts with the lyrical content, but generally is captured within the album cover. That visual “first impression” usually embodies—or at least gives you an idea of— the overall theme of the album before you even rip off the shrink-wrap. For instance, we doubt it was a just a coincidence that rappers were showing the “birth” of their rap careers by using baby photos on their debut albums.
To pay homage to those various examples of artistic expression, here’s 10 of the best album covers in hip-hop that we’re currently reminiscing over—ranging from the early ‘90s right into the new school raps of today. Take a look through our picks in the following gallery to see some dope examples of hip-hop artwork.Click to start the list