2012 was a great year for cover art. Nowadays, the release of an album’s cover and track listing are an event on it’s own, and rappers are learning they need to come correct. The A$AP Mob, Action Bronson and Big Boi even took it to the next level with animated GIF covers. We appreciated the extra effort and can’t wait to see where rappers take their artistic visions in the coming year. But until then, check out the 10 Best Album Covers of 2012 — XXL Staff

10. Curren$y Muscle Car Chronicles


Curren$y almost always comes correct in the cover art department, and MCC was no exception. Spitta’s experimental Rock project featured a camper daydreaming of an exciting life as a muscle car. Check out the backstory on 10 more of Curren$y’s album covers here.

Sean Price Mic Tyson


This bloodbath of an album cover art for Mic Tyson only confirmed how we already feel about Sean P, which is terrified.

8. Brother Ali Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color


Brother Ali challenged the idea that being a Muslim and being an American are mutually exclusive with the album cover to his fifth solo album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. We dig the Homeland aesthetic.

7. Big K.R.I.T. Live from the Underground


K.R.I.T. made his arrival known with his major label debut and it's cover depicted it perfectly. "This illustrates how I've crashed into the mainstream to bring the sounds from the underground back to the forefront," K.R.I.T. later explained. Welcome aboard.

6. Game Jesus Piece


Only Game would have the nerve to depict Jesus Christ as a tattooed, chain wearing Blood. Blasphemous? Maybe. Entertaining? Definitely.


Action Bronson, Rare Chandelier

4. Nas Life is Good


In the cover art for Life is Good, a mature, reflective Nas sits with the wedding dress of his ex-wife Kelis. It captured the essence of the album, which touched on some of Nas’ most intimate life experiences ranging from his highly-publicized divorce to his relationship with his daughter.

3. 2 Chainz Based on a T.R.U. Story


Designed by Kanye West’s DONDA design team, Tity 2 Chainz adopted the ‘less is more’ mentality for his highly-anticipated debut album. And in a year that saw the return of the “All Gold Everything” aesthetic, the cover couldn’t have been more fitting.

2. Kendrick Lamar Good Kid, m.A.A.d City


It's hard to think of a better possible cover for Kendrick Lamar's Interscope debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, than the one that was used: A picture of a young K. Dot surrounded by family and 40s. The tone of the celebrated and deeply personal musical offering was matched by it's artwork. K. Dot's coming of age tale was deeply formed by family, Compton, and the potential ills he faced and fought as a youth—something represented in the music and captured in the album's cover flick.

1. Meek Mill Dreams & Nightmares


Meek Mill’s Dreams & Nightmares cover became even more impressive when he ended up being detained on the evening of his release party. “The crazy part about it is, I really had a handcuff and Rolex on my wrist yesterday…Really #DreamsAndNightmares” A classic example of art imitating life, the Dreams & Nightmares cover encompassed Meek’s rise from the streets to stardom.