It's Christmas, and the long slow dirge of year-end lists continues. This time, we're focusing on the artwork that defined a year, for better or for worse. Whether it was Nicki Minaj stamping her thumbprint on the hip-hop world once and for all, YG showing the planet that he put his money where his mouth was or Young Thug plastering his face on the body of Wiz Khalifa—wait, what?—here are the 10 best and worst album covers of 2014.

Related: The 10 Best (And Worst) Album Covers Of 2013
The Best Album Covers Of 2013 So Far
Best Memes Of Nicki Minaj’s Cover Art For Her Single “Anaconda” 


cover art 2014 best fabolous

Fabolous, The Young OG Project

This cover, depicting Fab's young son on a throne, is one of the most adorable things we've seen in a long time. Extra points for those kicks being fly as hell, as well as the look of pure insolence that screams buy this album or else. Nicely done, Fab.

cover art 2014 best nicki minaj

Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint

This is one that needs no introduction. Nicki Minaj's stamp has been felt widely all over the hip-hop world in 2014, as she rolled out her third studio album with as many rapid-fire, ferocious verses as she did ass-tastic visuals ("Anaconda," anyone? Whew...) But what makes this cover art so perfect is that all of her hard work this year led Nicki to leave her permanent mark on the hip-hop stratosphere as one of the best to ever do it, male or female. This thumbprint epitomizes that.

cover art 2014 best big krit cadillactica

Big K.R.I.T., Cadillactica

Big K.R.I.T. knew he had to step up with his sophomore album, and rather than tether himself to earthly realms he created his own planet of Cadillactica for his Def Jam followup. The cover art, depicting a bearded Krizzle ascending from Earth, is the perfect manifestation of the thesis statement for the album.

cover art 2014 sage gemini best

Sage The Gemini, Remember Me 

There's a lot going on here for Sage The Gemini's debut album cover, but the only things really necessary to notice are the insane pants and vivid shoes combination that he's rocking while sitting on his throne of women. Give me those pants, man. I would wear them anywhere.

cover art 2014 best my krazy life yg

YG, My Krazy Life 

YG's major label debut was a West Coast gangsta rap epic that laid out his life, including his arrest for burglary that sat him down before he veered off away from rap. So what better depiction for the cover than a recreation of the moment when things almost completely derailed him? He's come a long way, and this cover illustrates that point.

cover art 2014 best schoolboy q

ScHoolboy Q, Oxymoron (Deluxe Edition)

The original art—showing Q wearing a ski mask on the cover—is stark and striking enough. But when he incorporated his daughter, thick chain, bucket hat and all, for the cover of the deluxe edition, it showed the underlying human side to Q that he displayed in spurts on his Interscope debut. She's adorable.

cover art 2014 best goldlink

GoldLink, The God Complex

Like something out of Crash Bandicoot, the masks that adorn GoldLink's debut LP are as mysterious as the MC himself. The first few months after the EP's release, 'Link refused to show his face, hoping to let the music speak for himself, and these masks illuminate that idea. Some things just make sense.

cover art 2014 best rome fortune

Rome Fortune, Small VVorld

Relative newcomer Rome Fortune has made a bit of a name for himself for having visually stimulating mixtape covers, but this one here tells an entire story of its own. There are any number of interpretations of what is going on here, and that's what makes it so alluring.

cover art 2014 game best wolf

The Game, Year Of The Wolf: Blood Moon

At this point, we'll probably have to come clean: if you put your adorable daughter on your cover art in some way in 2014, you were probably a safe bet to make this list. Game's ferocious rhymes are tempered by this cover, and if you know anything about the West Coast MC on social media then you'll know his devotion to his daughter is sincere. Only she can tame the wolf.

cover art 2014 best vince staples

Vince Staples, Hell Can Wait 

A day in the life for Vince Staples? This cover tells its own story as well, with the kid watching all hell breaking loose in front of him as he walks through the gate of his home. Combined with the title, it's the perfect introduction into Staples' world, where his vivid rhymescapes take things from here and don't disappoint.


cover art 2014 worst fat trel

Fat Trel, Gleesh 

This, the second iteration of Trel's Gleesh artwork, is rather toned down and neutral. But the original cover—which you can find here—ignited a serious backlash from the Glee producers because of its graphic and sexual imagery. For something that had nothing to do with Glee, it seemed like a strange decision to provoke the show's creators, especially since the show ostensibly depicts high schoolers. Yikes.

cover art 2014 worst jose guapo

Jose Guapo, Osama Bin Guapo

Offensive, tasteless, unapologetic. We debated even including it on this list due to its obvious trollishness. But this one takes the cake for worst cover of the year. Back to the drawing board, Guapo.

cover art 2014 worst young thug

Young Thug, 1017 Thug 2 

Young Thug is a bit of an oddball, no one is disputing that. But surely he didn't think he would get away with this one. When he dropped the cover art to 1017 Thug 2, the followup to his breakout mixtape, music fans were quick to point out that it looked exactly like a photo of Wiz Khalifa that had been making the rounds, except with Thugger's head photoshopped onto it (check out the side by side comparison here).

cover art 2014 worst pharrell girl

Pharrell, G I R L 

Any way you cut it, if your album artwork is causing controversy then you've probably failed. Pharrell—already under fire for the rape-y connotations of "Blurred Lines," not to mention the copyright lawsuit that followed it—was nonetheless riding high off the wild success of "Happy" when he dropped this cover artwork, and was immediately criticized for the perceived lack of black women it portrayed. He was able to explain it away, sort of, but the fact remains that it significantly took the narrative away from his music, an outcome that no true artist welcomes.

cover art 2014 worst jeezy illuminati

Jeezy, Seen It All 

At first glance, there's nothing wrong with the cover art to Jeezy's fifth album. But honestly, can we give it a rest with the Illuminati allusions? I know Jeezy said it wasn't a reference, but just look at it. It's a little tired, especially for the cover art to an album as refreshingly honest and fantastic as this one.

cover art 2014 worst riff raff neon icon

RiFF RAFF, Neon Icon

RiFF RAFF is the ultimate troll, but even this is tacky for his standards. The only thing that saves it from being the absolute worst is the adorable Jody Husky in his hand. Whose baby is that? These lazers have no business being that near a baby.

cover art 2014 worst joell ortiz

Joell Ortiz, House Slippers 

Somewhere, there is a creative director who approved those pants. Ortiz—who produced a series of outstanding tracks and projects this year despite his artistic decisions—may have taken this title too literally, as the promotional photos that came along with the album depicted him in various states of lounge. But his outfit on this cover is too square to be anything but cringe-worthy.

cover art 2014 worst lil b ultimate bitch

Lil B, Ultimate Bitch 

Lil B has never been known for his mind-blowing cover art, but even so this one crosses the line from pastiche to tacky. The glitz and glam don't match the tiny-shirt-wielding, university-lecturing pint-sized MC, resulting in another bizarre cover decision and his second straight appearance on this list.

cover art 2014 worst bobby shmurda

Bobby Shmurda, Shmurda She Wrote 

What is this? Creepy and bizarre, it's almost a parody of ScHoolboy Q's Oxymoron, except with the detail and color scheme of something that wasn't quite thought out all the way through.

cover art 2014 worst young scooter

Young Scooter, 80s Baby

Every time I look at this cover I burst out laughing. But that doesn't make it great. Young Scooter photoshopped his own head onto a baby's body—complete with gleaming diamond watch—for the cover of his 2014 mixtape, but it's the bricks of cocaine in the background that take it from the ridiculous to the tacky. Or maybe it was the watch the entire time.

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