Illest Illustrated Album Covers

A wise man once said, don’t judge a book by its cover. That may be a fitting assessment for the written word, but when it comes to rap music, we like our album covers to be as colorful as the artists themselves. That’s why fans were so psyched yesterday when the final comic-book inspired artwork was unveiled for Meth, Rae and Ghost’s upcoming collabo LP, Wu-Massacre. The Shaolin rhymeslingers are just the latest MCs to get animated. XXLMag.com has compiled a list of some of hip-hop’s illest illustrated album covers, dope enough to hang in any collector’s art gallery. Brush up…

1993 Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle Charles M. Schulz’s beloved Snoopy character never looked this gangsta.

1994 Organized Konfusion, Stress: The Extinction Agenda - Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po have the power to “crush, kill, destroy…”

1995 Gza, Liquid Swords - So, that’s what “chessboxin’” looks like?

1996 OutKast, ATLiens - Long before they found their home in Stankonia, these two Southern dope boyz stood out in the East Coast-dominated rap scene, as shown in this cover.

1997 Camp-Lo, Uptown Saturday Night - Not only did Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede name their debut after the 1974 Bill Cosby/Sidney Poitier movie, the ’70s obsessed duo also payed homage to Marvin Gaye with their album art, which borrows from his 1976 album, I Want You.

2003 Ja Rule, Blood in My Eye - At the height of his beef with 50 Cent, Ja made sure to display himself as larger than life.

2004 Ill Bill, What’s Wrong With Bill? - What’s wrong, the former Non-Phixion rapper is in a midst of a war between good and evil.

2004 MF DOOM, Mm.. Food - Keep your hands off the masked villain’s liquor soaked cocoa puffs.

2005 Sean Price, Monkey Barz - In the planet of the apes, Kimbo Price reigns supreme

2007 Kanye West, Graduation For his graduation ceremony, the Louis Vuitton Don tapped famed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, to blast his album cover to the next level.
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  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    i vote Graduation, of course, wasn’t that done by some (well) known artist.?.?. & second Outkast, of course. but, where is the other Outkast cover? the one w/ the tits… nevermind.

  • Beyonder

    Wrong type of post to have broken images on…lol FAIL.

  • bdogg

    illest cover ever…. Makaveli the don killuminnati. Runner up N.W.A 100 miles and runnin.

    • STOP ROCKIN SILVER CZs

      CO-SIGN. My vote went to Doggystyle, classic album, straight hood shit. That Kanye West cover is soo fuckin homo, you niggas cant be serious?! A fuckin bear?? FUCK KANYE WEST. @Mario, you seriously got a tatt of that bear on you son?!?? HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Then you cover it up wit a leaf thinkin you hood, nigga their aint no comin back from that Kanye bear fruity ass bullshit HAHAHAHAHA!!!

  • allhiphop>xxlmag

    eminem presents the re-up

  • Lowedwn

    ATLiens, no contest

  • Mario

    co-sign on that EM’s Re-Up, and the Klliuminnati, and i voted for Graduation cause i got that bear tatted on my arm but changed the u on the jacket to a weed leaf.
    P.S. fuck ja rule and that cover how in any way is that a cool cover
    - Mario, who’s been down with fifty since day one and have every album and mixtape

    • Kinf Don GUnit

      You gay as hell for the tattoo right there.

  • http://MYSPACE.COM/RAWTYP RAW

    LIQUID SWORDS IS DOPE, GRADUATION TAKES IT, IN MY BOOK..

  • BIGNAT

    i see most older people are voting liquid swords is in the top spot. as it should be that art work was crazy it was painting a picture of violence.

    • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

      I actually voted for Ill Bill. That’s some nice art.

      allhiphop did you say Eminem because you are from South Dakota and that’s all you know? I didn’t forget about that racial sh*t you did before.

      ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/612H29b6WaL.jpg

      ^ that cover IS NOT better than what is shown above. Anyone else can see this.

      I agree that the NWA and 2Pac covers should be up there.

      • allhiphop>xxlmag

        i also didnt forget that youre a fag
        who the fuck remembers comments from xxlmag.com? lmao homo ass niggas these days

        • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

          AWWWWWWW LITTLE BOY!

          Now you wanna spell ‘niggas’ correctly in your comments? I know you want to spell it the other way. Foolish mortal you don’t even know if the feds are watching you for using racial slurs and homophobic words on ethnic sites and you’re from South Dakota. You are committing cyber hate crimes.

          And look at you getting so emotional you can’t stick to the topic. The Em cover is not an “illest illustration album cover” compared to the others, regardless if he drew it.

          @ The other people

          These are not some of the best, but I would like to inject the graf artists into this convo, we can’t forget graffiti if we are talking Hip Hop:

          farm3.static.flickr.com/2670/3733278653_3da711ac2f.jpg

          farm3.static.flickr.com/2556/3733278947_7d396e9ef7.jpg

          You get to appreciate the ones above a little more.

        • allhiphop>xxlmag

          im actually native american
          you just mad cuz your favorite rapper can spit as raw as Em and couldnt draw a gun

        • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

          I’ma leave you alone kid. This isn’t a fair discussion.

          1. You don’t have to be Caucasian to be or think racial.

          2. I never, ever said I didn’t like Eminem.

        • allhiphop>xxlmag

          ok queer
          and im not racist, i just hate fags

  • bk

    what, no Lord Willin’ ?!

    • ATL-Eastsider

      They shoulda put Lord Willin up instead of Ja Rule’s shit. Why did they even put his shit up anyways??? Didn’t tht cum out while 50 was embarrassin his ass??

  • JIMBO JONES

    yeah the re-up cover aint that great..but i heard EM drew it which is pretty tight

    • allhiphop>xxlmag

      he did draw it

  • Mds

    ice-t iceberg
    ice-t home invasion
    de la soul de la soul is dead
    nwa 100 miles and runnin

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  • No Name

    Are you kidding me? Blood In My Eye and MM…Food had whack covers. Liquid Swords all the fuckin’ way.

  • 92FS

    Gza’s, Outkasts’ and Ill Bill’s are the best 3 on that list.

  • http://quebishop.deviantart.com quebishop

    What happended to people having album covers like this??? The coolest one I’ve seen in recent years is the KiD CuDi “Man On The Moon” (deluxe and regular edition look pretty nice)

  • BAR

    Clipse Lord Willin’? Immortal Technique Revolutionary Vol. 1?

  • http://myspace.com/kidpistol Kid Pistol

    CO-SIGN quebishop, CuDi’s art was illy. I’m a big fan of Freeway’s latest album packaging, was suuuuper dope and creative.

    Voted for Sean Price, but I had a hard time. Huge fan of comic-book style art.

  • http://xxlmag.com the brown

    Yo! It’s definately between Outkast and Camp-Lo! The rest are tight though. Loved that Gza album. MF Doom is funny as hell! Who WASN’T rockin that Snoop?! That Ja-Rule is wack though, just like his steeez.

  • Worley

    I voted GZA but everybody forgot one of the illest illustrated covers: Sex and Violence by BDP.

    • http://www.boycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

      Codamminit!

      Sex & Violence-BDP

      Word is bond I totally forgot about that one! Good choice Worley.

  • chacho

    I voted Kanye. Nice and artistic. I also cosing or umm cosign the 2 pac don kiluminati cover. Top three for me. Sup Pistol You down with xxl cool bro.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Liquid Swords cover all day!!

  • caino

    hmm clsoe call between OutKast and Ill Bill!!

    l will give it too OutKast

  • THE BLACKMAN

    BOBBY DIGITAL IN STUDIO FIRST COVER!! CRAZY SUPERFLY THROWBACK BLACK ACTION HERO TYPE SHIT!!!! ALSO ONE OF THE ILLEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME. RZA PREDICTED THE DIGITAL AGE, ALL PRAISES DUE!!!!

  • THE BLACKMAN

    BOBBY DIGITAL IN STUDIO FIRST COVER!! CRAZY SUPERFLY THROWBACK BLACK ACTION HERO TYPE ISH!!!! ALSO ONE OF THE ILLEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME. RZA PREDICTED THE DIGITAL AGE, ALL PRAISES DUE!!!!

  • latino heat

    i’m glad the Sean P cover is up there but what about the 2 covers that went along with it? the Buckshot and 9th Wonder, Chemistry cover and the Smif-N-Wessun, Reloaded cover. all 3 were dope and deserve to be on this list.

    i never really looked at the Ja cover until now. it’s super wack. a dude that’s like 5’2″ in real life, drawn as a giant is as funny as it is lame.

    am i the only one that never liked or understood the Graduation cover? i suppose it’s cause i don’t like or understand anime.

    it dosen’t matter though, the new Wu-Massacre art work is shitting on all of these. they are by far the hottest cover(s) i’ve ever seen.

  • TheRefriedMexican

    WHERE’S THE LOVE FOR THE WEST COAST XXL? THERE’S THE TOKEN MENTION OF SNOOP. BUT THE WEST COAST IS MORE THAN SNOOP HOW ABOUT:

    . . . ICE T’S “HOME INVASION”?
    . . . NWA’S “100 MILES AND RUNNIN’”
    . . . ABOVE THE LAW’S “UNCLE SAM’S CURSE”

    AND THE ONE THAT STARTED IT ALL:

    . . . TOO $HORT’S “$HORTDOGS IN THE HOUSE”

    IT’S A COMPLETE JOKE NONE OF THESE 4 MADE YOUR TOP 10. ESPECIALLY “UNCLE SAM’S CURSE” & “$HORTDOGS IN THE HOUSE”
    +++++
    ++++
    +++
    ++
    +

  • James G

    Loot pack
    Sound piece the Antidote my fav

  • oskamadison

    I voted for GZA. Pete Rock’s NY’s Finest was ill too, even if it was a direct bite to (or paying homage to depending on how you see it) of James Brown’s “Hell”.

  • Rzarector

    Come on eveone are why has no one mention RZA’s Digi snacks, that is the best cover around.

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  • http://myspace.com/kidpistol Kid Pistol

    @chacho! Ay whatup homie!!!! Small world!

  • Gift

    OUTKAST BY FAR IS THE BEST COVER UP THERE. GZA IS A STRONG SECOND, PLUS I FUCKIN LOVE THAT ALBUM, ESPECIALLY WHILE I’M CHIEFIN. WHOEVER VOTED KANYE AS THE SECOND BEST COVER IS ON SOME STRAIT FUCK SHIT. THAT COVER IS LAME AS FUCK. ILL BILLS SHIT IS THROWED TOO, BUT OUTKAST GOT IT. FUCK WUT THAT POST SAYS.

  • Anonymous

    souls of mischief- montezuma’s revenge. that shit definitely belongs on this list.