Dating back to its earliest ties to graffiti culture, the visual component has always played a large part in hip-hop culture. Today's album art mostly serves as thumbtacks for NahRight posts or, at best, just another category on iTunes for OCD sufferers to perfect. But once upon a time, it mattered.

LPs were hung on walls, CDs were cracked open, and cassette J-cards were unfolded awkwardly and with as much anticipation as is given to today's Zshare links. From the Daisy Age fluorescence of De La Soul to the digital age fluorescence of Kanye West, we're proclaiming the finest moments of three decades' worth of hip-hop album art with our list of The 50 Best Hip-Hop Album Covers.

Words by Andrew Noz (@Noz)