Growing Old With Friends…

def jam

As y’all read this drop I am at a function celebrating the 25th anniversary of Def Jam thrown by the folks at While not the oldest label to produce rap music Def Jam is the longest running and the most storied. It seems that no matter what label your favorite artist is signed to he or she had to come to the Def Jam offices for something at some point.

Def Jam is to rap music what Stax is to soul music or Motown is to rhythm and blues.

The label clearly defines the genre.

I thought we could take a trip down memory lane and look at some of my favorite cover art from the greatest label in the history of Hip-Hop.

def jam

Beastie Boys – ‘Licensed To Ill’
Quite possibly the best ghostwritten album of all time.

def jam

Jay-Z – ‘Reasonable Doubt’
Jiggaman was renting Bentleys before it became all trendy.

def jam

DMX – ‘It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot’
First disk from the incredible run that DMX had at Def Jam.

def jam

Redman – ‘Whut! Thee Album’
Hard to choose between this one and ‘Dare’ so I gave it to the debut.

def jam

Warren G – ‘Regulate’
The G Funk era at it’s zenith.

def jam

Foxy Brown – ‘Ill Na Na’
Fox Boogie was not lying about her ill na na. Get well Foxy.

def jam

Ludacris – ‘Chicken-n-Beer’
Not my fave Luda album but I love the cover art on this joint.

def jam

Public Enemy – ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’
One of the most hardbody rap album covers of all time.

def jam

LL Cool J – ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’
THE most hardbody rap album cover of all time.

def jam

EPMD – ‘Business As Usual’
My fave all time cover because it was drawn by BILL SIENKIEWICZ. If you don’t already know about son you need to get familiar.

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  • HNIC

    Um… No disrespect, but, you might want to add a “No Homo” to your LL pic comment. Just sayin’…

  • Dallas Penn

    Only a homo needs to pause [ll] on hardbody rap covers.

    LL is about to knock someone the fuck out.

    PrA’li you pussy.

    • HNIC

      Whoa!!! First of all, I wasn’t trying to come at you sideways. Hence, the “No disrespect” disclaimer that I included at the beginning of my message. Take note. Perhaps you’ve had a few drinks… or you’ve simply slipped and bumped your muthafuckin’ head. So, I’ll chalk that comment up to that.

      Typically, I don’t try to participate in the tough talk via the internets, or even in real life for that matter. If another “man” and I use that term loosely when referring to you, D.P., has a problem with me, then I encourage them to come see me, face to face.

      Again, I deplore internet trash talking, so I’m not trying to take this to another level that it doesn’t need to go. So, I’ll leave it at that & bid you adieu. Good day.

  • Tony Grand$

    I still remember waling in Music+ to buy my copy of “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick”.

    Wow, that WAS a long time ago.

    *gets up to go put on “Dear Yvette”*

    • Pierzy

      I’m still infatuated with that Foxy cover all these years later…

      Grand$, what’s your favorite Redman cover? I like how basic Muddy Waters was, but maybe it’s because that’s one of my favorite albums evar.

      I thought “Hip-Hop Is Dead” was a sick cover. That shit was hott!

      • Tony Grand$

        *stan alert*

        ….I really can’t pick a favorite cover….that’s like “pick a favorite Reggie song”….I guess, I’d have to say “Dare”, but “Muddy” was ill too, then again, “Doc’s Da
        Name” was classic Red….although RGW was so damn unexpected…man, I think I just blew a gasket [||]…every album cover was Art to me. C’mon P, what you expect me to say?

      • Pierzy

        Hahaha…I thought you might have one that you liked SLIGHTLY more than the others but I see where you’re coming from.


    liquid swords, ironman, muddy waters, madvillainy, the death of adam, i pledge allegiance to the grind 2, nigga please and return to the 36 chambers the dirty version

  • El Tico Loco

    3rd Bass, Nice and Smooth were on there too, Def Jam needs to get back to that type of quality music, I used to cop (or steal) any Def Jam 12″ on sight, no cover art needed just a black sticker with a stylus arm and it was guaranteed to be hot. What happened?

    • $ykotic

      You know what happened Tico. They lost it.

      “Business” was EpMd’s first Def Jam drop. I still have that cassette!

      Nice & Smooth came with them from Sleeping Bag Records.

      I know there was a lot to choose from DP.

      I’m going with the black & yellow(killa bee) Method man sneakers.

  • Dallas Penn

    My bad playboy. I see what you said now.

    Easy killer, I’m talking about DefJam albums on this drop.

    • HNIC

      No harm, no foul. I appreciate the apology. Much respect.

    • BIGNAT

      i was just picking stuff that i liked that was near the pc.

  • David HussleSoft

    Reasonable Doubt was on priority not def jam

    David HussleSoft cuz I stay on Ye watch

  • Dallas Penn

    You are correct. If I weren’t so pre-occupied with tomorrow’s drop I would put up another image.

    I ended up not going to the party tonight in favor of staying home and writing

    • Tony Grand$

      Damn DP…..

      I was looking forward to some insider photography of the party.

      That means heat must be delivered tomorrow, sir (no D. Wade).


    damn, these are some nice covers (my fav: Reasonable Doubt). damn again, @ 25 years of dis shit. they’ve had ups & downs, but still here & i think they will be FOREVER. thank you Russel Simmons & Rick Rubin. isn’t DJ Khaled president up there now? looks like its going downhill from those first couple of releases. Deeper Than Rap, whatever Ace Hood album is called, Jeremih. BUT, then again they DO have Kanye, NeYo, Ri-Ri. they ‘heavy hitters’ need to step up to bat soon.

    R.I.P. Shakir Stewart

    • Sleepy Wonder

      I Believe Khaled Is The President Of Def Jam South.

  • Tony Grand$

    Damn, I’m tripping off of how everyone of those covers takes me somewhere in my past. A veritable memory lane stroll.

    No Cali bias, but that Warren G album still bumps to this day!

    “What’s N-X-E-T?” Lulz.

    • GIBZ

      yo u right about that “takin me back” feeling when lookin at those covers. And a big co sign to the warren g comment u aint lying!!!

  • Sincere

    I would have to put jay’s American Gangsta up there, that cover is just timeless

  • David HussleSoft

    I think the American Gangster cover is is kool but its only a couple years old so I would not call it timeless yet.

    I would put Hard Knock Life Vol.2 Jay in front of that bentley it kind of defined that era of hip-hop it seemed like everybody was makin hits and gettin money. That 98′shit

    David HussleSoft cuz stay on Ye watch

  • Darq

    Co-sign Husslesoft…
    Still, it’s an okay cover but i prefer The Blueprint’s cover…

    I appreciate Mr. Pew putting all these up here. Those are indeed classic covers…if not albums…

    Word from Nigeria.

  • John Cauner

    L.L. Cool J-Radio, Redman-Dare Iz A Darkside & Muddy Waters, Method Man-Tical, Violator-The Album, Belly-The Soundtrack, Nas-Hip Hop Is Dead, Ghostface Killah-The Big Doe Rehab

  • Curtis75Black

    Damn, I was 8 years old when this label debuted. Too many heaters came through that label. Just last week, I was looking for the Original Lady of Def Jam on ITunes – Nikki D ya’ll !! They’re like a BasketBall team, good years, bad years, great CEO’s, wack CEO’s but there is only one Def Jam. The most diverse Hip Hop label.

  • John Cauner

    Dallas, good looking on that link to Bill Sienkiewicz.

  • Bobo D

    On DMX album covers I’m gonna go with “Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood”. I remeber reading a interview of the guy who shoot the album cover & he actually said that was pigs blood DMX was covered with.

  • Luc

    I lived in Haiti when that LL album came out. It was so sick that I learned “mama said knock you out” phonetically (did not speak English). LOL

  • prophecy_projectz

    Didn’t Reasonable Doubt come out on Priority and then they signed the deal to Def Jam?

  • PhreshOxford

    Co-Sign with you on that Chicken N Beer… I was just lookin’ at it the other day… The whole package is well put-together… The track list was laid out like nutrition facts (if i remember correctly)… And i especially liked the touch of greasy fingerprints on the disk itself… Shit was thought out…

  • Joey capp

    Public Enemy-It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back
    Jay-Z-The Blueprint
    The Beastie Boys-Licensed To Ill
    Slick Rick-The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
    The Roots-Rising Down

  • Federal Ranga

    What up, everybody? I am late so I will go with Word of Mouf by Ludscris… that cover is just funny as fuck to me.