Hip hop and R&B have a huge following and new albums are always dropping to keep listeners engaged. Over time, there have been some album covers that have rightly received more attention than others. In fact, they are often what people think of when hip hop and R&B comes to mind. Here are 10 of the most iconic album covers in the genre.
1. Ice Cube – Death Certificate
Ice Cube is one of the most iconic artists in the hip hop genre, so it makes sense that his albums are also iconic. Death Certificate is one of the best album covers and calls out the government and features a body with a toe tag that reads “Uncle Sam,” something that Ice Cube is using to shout out against the downfalls of society in the United States.
2. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
There are many iconic record albums in which the artist uses a photo of themselves as a baby or young child. Lil Wayne follows suit, but what makes his stand apart is that he Photoshopped his current tattoos onto the face of his baby picture, making history and creating an iconic record cover at the same time.
3. 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Trying
He’s not the first hip hop artist to pose shirtless on his album cover, but he reached the masses with this record. In fact, some say, this album cover inspired many MySpace and Twitter avatars to prove that “thugs” aren’t all bad. That’s why this is one of the best album covers in the hip hop world.
4. Dr. Dre – The Chronic
Not only did Dr. Dre change the genre of hip hop music with his collaboration with Snoop Dogg to produce weed-rap, but this album cover is also still one of the most recognised of the genre. His face appears in a rolling papers style, making it unforgettable among weed-rap followers.
5. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Return to 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
Some would call this the best hip hop album cover ever created. It’s just a copy of the artist’s public assistance card, but it won’t soon be forgotten as it shows off his quirky personality and proves that he was one of the hip hop world’s top artists.
6. Nas – Illmatic
Nas birthed the trend of putting their childhood selves on the cover of album. He even said himself in his 2016 feature on DJ Khaled’s Major Keys album:
“To every baby on the album cover existin’/ This trend I was settin’, it came to fruition“
The fact that this album on it’s own is one of the most influential in hip hop history, its obvious that the cover would also be iconic in its own way.
7. DMX – Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of My Blood
This record cover is so iconic because rumor has it that the artist actually covered himself in blood to create it. Even in the world of hip hop music, this was a pretty big step for an artist to take, making it a cover that is both iconic and memorable, even to those who don’t follow hip hop.
8. Rihanna – Unapologetic
Less hip hop, more R&B, Rihanna has made quite a name for herself with her music and her openness about sexuality. This album cover gets its iconic status because Rihanna is shirtless but covered with words that describe her and the music on the record. Her willingness to open herself up in that way makes her both an iconic artist and someone who is easily recognised in the world of R&B music as well as mainstream pop.
9. Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle
Not only does this hip hop artist have an instantly recognisable name, but his first album will go down in history as one of the most iconic in the genre. It was drawn by the artist’s cousin and features Snoop Dogg in his canine representation, along with a girl dog and the dog catcher. Anyone who loves hip hop will know all about this album cover.
10. A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory
This is the album that started the painted lady as hip hop’s mascot trend. She would go on to appear on several more this artist’s albums and would come to be known as some of the most iconic imagery in the hip hop genre. She’s also an homage to the jazz influence of A Tribe Called Quest’s music and iconography.
If you want an album cover of your own made, check out our graphic design services. We can create an iconic cover that will showcase your talents and your music, no matter what genre it happens to be.