Today is the official release day for Drake's new album Nothing Was The Same. As we learned from talking to the artist who painted both the regular and deluxe versions, Kadir Nelson, it's a cover that means a lot to Drake and mirrors his introspection on the album. It was hard to top the covers for So Far Gone, Thank Me Later, and Take Care, but Drake just might have.

Did the Nothing Was The Same cover match up to some of the best album covers in recent memory, though? It's hard to say. You can judge a rap album cover by its design, concept, story, or eventual reception, and all of these were the criteria for choosing and ranking The 50 Best Rap Album Covers of the Past Five Years. We also included and ranked them according to what album covers have remained memorable and influenced the greater scope of cover design.

Throughout, we also noticed how minimalism has become a recent, lasting trend in rap album covers. We made sure to give shine to the photographers, art directors, graphic designers, art producers, and labels who made these covers a reality. It may not be safe to judge an album by its cover, but there's nothing wrong with pitting some of these against each other to see what's really resonating in our culture. 

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