19 Controversial Rap Album Covers – Banned, Boycotted & Buzz Worthy

Last night (October 17), Kanye West sent out a twitpic of what he had planned to be the cover of his highly anticipated fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. However, according to the man himself, the powers that be weren’t feeling the image and banned it.

What’s so harmless about an album cover, you ask? Well, when you have an all red backdrop with a demonic portrait of a nude Black man, with beer bottle in hand, getting straddled by an also nude phoenix, you have the makings of a controversial image. This isn’t the first time a rapper has caused a stir with their vision for the frontal image of an LP. In fact, XXLMag.com went digging through the crates and dusted off a few of those album covers (and one mixtape) that pushed the envelope of creative expression.

Parental advisory, explicit content ahead…

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • http://www.Twitter.com/Pierzy Pierzy

    “Death Certificate” is my favorite – it’s not just attempting to shock…it’s also clever as well.

  • El Tico Loco

    “Brutality Part1″ by Necro was shocking as hell but not controversial, same for “The Ghetto is Tryin to Kill me” by Master P (same concept as Kanye and Ice T but with nipple action). Nobody was checking for him at that time.

  • Moving Sideways

    You gotta go Geto Boys on this one. The picture in the hospital with Bushwick Bill’s right eye blown out, that shit is real and not “hip-hop real”. Slam Dunk’n Hoes is definitely an honorable mention though.

  • Simple like ABC, 123


    but where is KRS-One(BDP)- By All Means Necessary? Like Malcom-X with a gun? Damn!!!

  • Dick B.

    I didn’t know Akinyele’s cover was so conterversal. Good album.

    I voted for the Slam Dunkin’ Hoes one. Now that’s funny. But if your talking non humor covers I would pick the Pac or Nas.

  • zayzkidd

    I was surprise not to see the ‘Doggystyle’ cover on the list. I remember when that album first came out, the old folks was insulted by that album before they ever heard a song.

  • Donte

    where is Dj polo and Kool g raps 3rd album at???????????????? u know the one where they have 2 white boys hanging if that wasnt controversial i dont know what is

    • DMI

      YES! where is live and let die by Kool G Rap and DJ Polo? This got one of the greatest albums ever taken off the shelves. and it wasn’t two white boys–it was two cops! and G rap and polo feeding rottweilers meat. this site? come on son!

  • jojo

    I heard Pun’s original album cover for Capital Punishment had a lady donning a statue of liberty outfit while Pun was cupping her breasts. Should have been included.

    • Dick B.

      Nah, thats a picture inside the booklet (not the cover).

      You don’t have Capital Punishment jojo?
      Thats a classic.

  • biggamike

    That slam dunkin hoes is funny as hell!!!

  • hippaToDaHoppa

    I just want to point out that Biggie’s World Trade line was not “prophetic”, he was referring to the ’93 World Trade bombing.

    • Dee El


  • Q461

    @ Donte

    Co-sign I was gonna mention that Kool G Rap album, Live and Let die. It’s got G Rap and Polo dangling raw meat in front of 2 rottweilers and 2 white guys hung up in nooses in the back lol..

    That Geto Boys album cover was crazy! Coolest shit is they took that shot right in the hospital and used it! Gotta love the Ice-T Gangsta Rap cover lol… Almost copped it just for the naked shot of Coco LOL

  • http://www.myspace.com/slotchmusic ms_spittuh

    Vagina Diner…lol!

  • Anonymous

    what about ice t’s “cop killer” cover

  • xxl WTF!!!!!!!!!!?????????

    I didn’t see the cover for dmx flesh of my flesh blood of my blood. WTF!!!!!!!!!!