Surely you're familiar with the cover of EPMD's Unfinished Business or Wu-Tang Clan's epic debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). While the images of Erick Sermon and PMD sitting atop two cars and the Clan posing menacingly in hoodies and masks have been permanently seared into our brains, we sometimes forget about the artists behind these iconic photos.
Beginning in the 1980s, many photographers focused their lenses on the hip-hop scenes emerging out of New York City and Los Angeles. Out in the City of Angels, photographers like Glen E. Friedman captured the city's skateboard culture, eventually moving on to shoot Run-DMC, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, and so forth. New York, on the other hand, boasted legends like Ernie Paniccioli as well as Danny Hastings, who shot the famous Wu-Tang cover. More recently, Cam Kirk and insider lensman Derick G have also established themselves as premier hip-hop photographers.
For those who aren't familiar with these names, scroll through and educate yourself on these 15 Rap Photographers Every Rap Fan Should Know.
Susan Cheng is a writer in New York. Follow her @scheng_