We've said it before and we'll say it again: there are very few things in life worst than bad cover art. Presentation is everything and should be taken seriously. Most people wouldn't buy a crappy car just because the engine sounds nice, and we feel the same way about our music. They say "don't judge a book by it's cover," well hip hop albums are not books so we are free to judge, right? These artists got it right, so maybe they can school the people on this list of The Worst Hip-Hop Album Covers of All Time.
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30. Nas- Stillmatic
30. Nas, Stillmatic
Label: Ill Will / Columbia Records
Poppin' a squat on a wall in an orange velour suit next to a pigeon? There will be a lot of comments defending this cover, but it's useless. Nas has had some classic album covers but this is not one of them.
29. Heltah Skeltah- D.I.R.T (Da Incredible Rap Team)
29. Heltah Skeltah, D.I.R.T (Da Incredible Rap Team)
Label: Duck Down Records
As Heltah Skeltah fans, this saddens us. We can't find a single nice thing to say about this. It looks like 2003 R. Kelly and 2007 R. Kelly met in the future and started robbing banks together.
28. Rakim- The 18th Letter
28. Rakim, The 18th Letter
Label: Universal / MCA Records
Even the greats fumble every now and then. Not sure if this is an album cover or one of those late night Body and Soul R&B collection commercials.
27. Master P- Game Face
26. Lupe Fiasco- Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt.1
26. Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt.1
Label: 1st & 15th / Atlantic Records
A color fill stamped with a "Parental Advisory" sticker is not a cover. There is probably some deep philosophical explanation, we're sure, but if we gave Lupe a pass then we would have to hear the explanations for every bad album cover.
25. Soulja Boy- SouljaBoyTellEm.com
25. Soulja Boy, SouljaBoyTellEm.com
Label: SOD /Collipark /Interscope
If you ever attempt to take pictures looking like this in front of a real traphouse, you may very well be shot...and he should have been for selling this to people.
24. Goodie Mob- World Party
24. Goodie Mob, World Party
Cee Lo has always been a little...out there. He has on pants (we think) but the fact that we had to question it is bad enough. The disco ball lettering and strange color palette have got to go.
23. Canibus- Can-I-Bus
23. Canibus, Can-I-Bus
We could have chosen any Canibus album cover to fill this spot to be honest, they all suck. We expect the Soul Train to pop out of that beam of light any second now.
22. Vanilla Ice- Mind Blowin'
21. Ghostface- The Pretty Toney Album
21. Ghostface, The Pretty Toney Album
Label: Def Jam
A photo from a performance with some text layered on top should not be an album cover. Ghost should have hired us. We would have at least added some lens flare and other light effects to the background to pretty it up a little bit.
20. KRS One and Buckshot- Survival Skills
20. KRS One and Buckshot, Survival Skills
Label: Duck Down Records
We expect this kind of stuff from rookies, but they've been in the game long enough to know better. The Struggle would have been a more appropriate title. Definitely looks like a deleted scene on Mount Doom (Lord of the Rings reference).
19. Bishop Lamont- Pope Mobile
18. Guce- I Got That Cake Mix!
17. Tyga- Hotel California
17. Tyga, Hotel California
Label: Young Money / Cash Money / Republic
Le sigh. The only redeeming quality is the tiger. The budget for this cover shoot must have been massive. Unfortunately for the label, it was a complete waste. It looks like he was channeling Pimp C and got lost along the way.
16. Baby, Birdman
16. Baby, Birdman
Label: Cash Money
Who remembers Animorphs book covers? Baby sure does! This cover could have easily been on one of those teen novels and we probably wouldn't have thought twice aobut it because that was 1996. Baby should have left this back in the twentieth century.
15. Hurricane Chris- Unleashed
15. Hurricane Chris, Unleashed
Label: Polo Grounds / J
This is more of a natural disaster than Sharknado. This would make a bad mixtape cover, so on an album it's twice as horrendous. If we didn't know better, we would say this was a meme.
14. Okwerdz- Random Acts of Music
13. Da Brat- Unrestricted
13. Da Brat, Unrestricted
Label: So So Def
If you know what's going on here, please explain it to us.
12. Vanilla Ice- Platinum Underground
12. Vanilla Ice, Platinum Underground
The struggle was real for Rob Van Winkle. It was a long fall from his Ninja Rap days (which was redone on this album for some reason). Another case of random photo + weird ass graphics = faillure.
11. Ta Smallz- Who Killed My Mama
11. Ta Smallz, Who Killed My Mama
Label: Mo Thugs Records
We can't joke about the subject matter, but come on! The five minutes it took to make this cover was a waste of time. The design company even put their logo in the corner so we know who not to call for our next project.
10. Hell Rell- For the Hell of It
10. Hell Rell, For the Hell of It
Label: Diplomat Records / Koch Records
The album name was also his response when they asked why anyone would choose this cover. At least make the bullets three dimensional instead of throwing some textures on 2D graphics; if you're gonna do it, commit 100%.
9. Lox- We Are The Streets
9. Lox, We Are The Streets
Label: Ruff Ryders / Interscope
See what they did there? We do, and we wish we could un-see it. How does one of the most respected groups in the history of hip hop end up on an album cover looking like the ghetto Mount Rushmore?
8. Yungstar- Throwed Yung Playa
8. Yungstar, Throwed Yung Playa
Label: Straight Profit Records
Shout out to moms in the referee polo serving up breakfast. She has no idea that she is now an accessory to this crime. Peep the rollercoaster and ferris wheel in the background. Someone saw the movie Blank Check too many times.
7. Trick Daddy- Thug.com
7. Trick Daddy, Thug.com
Label: Warlock Records / Slip-n-Slide Records
Absolutely terrifying. This is what we thought computer viruses looked like back in the day. The webpage appearance may be a little foreign to some of our younger readers, but the verdict is all the same: this is trash.
6. Sheek Louch- Donnie G: Don Gorilla
6. Sheek Louch, Donnie G: Don Gorilla
Label: D-Block / Def Jam
This album caused a lot of controversy when it dropped in 2010 and people still have the WTF response when they see it for the first time. Maybe full gorilla would have been a better look.
5. Cam'ron- Confessions of Fire
5. Cam'ron, Confessions of Fire
Label: Epic Records, Untertainment
Cam gave himself the Cam-face on this one. A foundry is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fire? And who the hell is topless with overalls in a foundry? Come on, Killa!