61 Best Rap Album Covers Of All Time

best rap album covers Mobile Images
Roc-A-Fella / UMG / McCormick Family Trust / Warner Records

The best rap album covers are a hot topic, and for good reason. The genre has come a long way, and the cover art is a great testament to that. The album cover often sets the tone for rap albums, and some of music’s best visuals come from hip-hop. From classic references to stunning illustrations, iconic artwork spanning different decades has become engrained in our memories when we hear certain songs or artists.

RELATED: 16 of the Best Collab Albums of All Time

Whether it’s eye-popping neon light imagery or powerful images that make you think twice, rap album art is a truly unique form of self expression. Here are 61 of the best rap album covers ever created!

61. Jay-z's '4:44'

Roc Nation

60. Naughty By Nature's '19NaughtyIII'

19Naughtyiii by Naughty By Nature
Tommy Boy/Warner Bros

59. Kris Kross' 'Totally Krossed Out'

Totally Krossed Out by Kris Kross
Ruffhouse Records/Columbia Records

58. Jay-Z's "Blueprint 3"

Roc Nation

57. Run-DMC's 'King of Rock'

King of Rock by Run DMC
Profile/Arista Records

56. LL COOL J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out'

Mama Said Knock You Out by LL COOL J
Def Jam Recordings

55. Lil Wayne's 'I Am Not a Human Being II'

I Am Not a Human Being II
Young Money/Universal Republic Records

54. Big Daddy Kane's 'It's a Big Daddy Thing'

Its a Big Daddy Thing by Big Daddy Kane
Warner Bros. Records

53. MC Hammer's 'Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em'

Please Hammer Dont Hurt Em by MC Hammer
Capitol Records

52. Young Jeezy's 'Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101'

Lets Get It Thug Motivation 101 by Jeezy
Def Jam Recordings

51. Lloyd Banks' 'The Hunger for More'

The Hunger for More by Lloyd Banks
GUnit/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records

50. Heavy D & The Boyz's 'Big Tyme'

Big Tyme by Heavy D The Boyz
Uptown Records

49. The Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Life After Death'

Life After Death by The Notorious B.I.G.
Bad Boy Records

48. The Game's 'The Documentary'

The Documentary by The Game
Atftermath/Interscope Records

47. Queen Latifah's 'Black Reign'

Black Reign by Queen Latifah
Motown Records

46. Meek Mill's 'Dreams and Nightmares'

Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill
Dream Chasers/MMG/Atlantic Records

45. LL COOL J's 'Radio'

Radio by LL COOL J
Def Jam Recordings

44. Kendrick Lamar's 'Black Panther: The Album'

Black Panther The Album by Kendrick Lamar
TDE/Aftermath/Interscope Records

43. 21 Savage & Metro Boomin's 'Savage Mode'

Savage Mode by 21 Savage Metro Boomin
Epic Records

42. Ja Rule's 'Rule 3:36'

Rule 336 by Ja Rule
Def Jam Records

41. Drake & 21 Savage's 'Her Loss'

Her Loss by Drake 21 Savage
OVO/Universal Republic

40. Boogie Down Productions' 'By All Means Necessary'

By All Means Necessary by Boogie Down Productions
Jive Records/RCA Records

39. Missy Elliott's 'Miss E... So Addictive'

Miss E... So Addictive by Missy Elliott
Goldmind/East West/ Elektra Entertainment Group

38. Future's 'DS2'

DS2 by Future
Freebands/Epic Records

37. Cam'ron's 'Purple Haze'

Purple Haze by Camron
Rocafella Records/Def Jam

36. Missy Elliott's 'Supa Dupa Fly'

Supa Dupa Fly by Missy Elliott
Goldmind/East West/ Elektra Entertainment Group

35. Migos' 'Culture'

Culture by Migos
Quality Control/300 Entertainment

34. T.I.'s 'Paper Trail'

Paper Trail by T.I.
Grand Hustle Records/Atlantic Records

33. Nicki Minaj's 'Pinkprint'

Young Money/Universal Republic Records

32. Doja Cat's 'Scarlet'

Scarlet by Doja Cat
Kemosabe Records/ RCA Records

31. Travis Scott's 'Rodeo'

Rodeo by Travis Scott
Cactus Jack Records/Grand Hustle Records/Epic Records

30. 2 Chainz's 'Based On a T.R.U. Story'

Based On a T.R.U. Story by 2 Chainz
Def Jam Records

29. 2Pac's 'All Eyez On Me'

All Eyez On Me by 2Pac
Death Row Records/Interscope Records

28. Wu-Tang Clan's 'Wu-Tang Forever'

Wu Tang Forever by Wu Tang Clan
Loud Records/RCA Records

27. Da Brat's 'Funkdafied'

Funkdafied by Da Brat
So So Def Records

26. Puff Daddy & The Family's 'No Way Out'

No Way Out by Puff Daddy The Family
Arista Records/Bad Boy Records

25. Young Thug's 'Jeffery'

JEFFERY by Young Thug
300 Entertainment

24. Queen Latifah's 'All Hail the Queen'

All Hail the Queen by Queen Latifah
Tommy Boy Records

23. Travis Scott's 'ASTROWORLD'

ASTROWORLD by Travis Scott
Cactus Jack/Grand Hustle/Epic Records

22. Wu-Tang Clan's 'Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)'

Enter The Wu Tang 36 Chambers by Wu Tang Clan
RCA Records/Loud Records

21. The Throne's 'Watch The Throne'

watch the throne
Roc Nation/ G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam

20. N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A
Ruthless Records/Priority Records

19. The 2 Live Crew's 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be'

As Nasty As They Wanna Be by The 2 Live Crew
Atlantic Records

18. Lil Wayne's 'Tha Carter III'

Tha CARTER III by Lil Wayne
Young Money/Universal Republic

17. Leaders Of The New School's 'A Future Without a Past'

A Future Without a Past by Leaders Of The New School
Elektra Records

16. Lil Kim's 'Hardcore'

Atlantic Records

Released: 1996

The OG Queen B made a statement with her debut album’s cover art.

15. Dr. Dre's '2001'

best rap album covers 15
Aftermath Entertainment / Interscope Records

Released: 1999

One of the most iconic and influential figures in hip-hop, Dr. Dre has earned a revered reputation for not just his hard-hitting samplings and punchy beats but also for the comprehensive - often intense - visuals that accompany his music. From lyrical explanations to bold critiques of society or mixing up dystopian sci-fi vibes like on "The Chronic" to setting out extravagant conventions with video clips or album artworks; there’s one cover artwork which stands out as an absolute classic – 1999’s “2001”. Released 20 years ago today, it encapsulated everything new about hip-hop in its high level production value but mirrored what was happening musically at the time too. The simplicity of it just worked so well, and is one of the most memorable cover arts of all time in rap.

14. Westside Gunn's 'Pray for Paris'

best rap album covers 14
Griselda Records

Released: 2020

Westside Gunn's Pray for Paris album cover was the perfect reflection of what the music within represents. Just like the songs are somewhat of a hip-hop renaissance, the artwork gives a similar impression of a renaissance era piece. It just fits perfectly, and is very memorable, not to mention the minute details within, like the cuban link chain with the pendant on the left character's neck.

13. Kendrick Lamar's 'Good Kid, m.A.A.d city'

best rap album covers 13
Aftermath / Interscope Records

Released: 2012

One of the most incredible examples of (relatively) recent album artwork in hip-hop is Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city project from 2012. Not only was the music within classic, but the cover has gone on to be of the same status. The photo depicts his gang-affiliated family members holding him as a child, surrounded by subtle indications of the culture that surrounded him at the time.

12. Kanye West's 'Yeezus'

best rap album covers 12
Def Jam / UMG

Released: 2013

Kanye West has several iconic examples of cover art, a few which didn't make the cut for this list. One of the most incredible examples of his cover art prowess is his Yeezus album art, which was created by Virgil Abloh, Justin Saunders, Joe Perez, Matthew M. Williams, and Kanye West. One of the primary areas of symbolism it was meant to embody was the death of the CD era in music. Surely, Ye took a major step forward for music with this project.

11. Jay-Z's 'The Blueprint'

best rap album covers 11

Released: 2001

The simplicity of Jay-Z's The Blueprint was iconic to say the least. Similar to some of his other top albums, this project's artwork showed off Hov's boss nature, while redirecting attention to where he really wanted it to be: the music.

10. Wu-Tang Clan's 'Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)'

best rap album covers 10
Sony Music Entertainment

Released: 1993

The Wu-Tang Clan's top album ever has one of the most easily identifiable cover arts of all time. Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was dropped in 1993, and was way ahead of its time. The mystery behind the group was reflected in the cover, which proved to work wonders for them and their incredible music.

9. A Tribe Called Quest's 'The Low End Theory'

best rap album covers 9
Zomba Recording

Released: 1993

A Tribe Called Quest has an easily identifiable sound, and the cover art which they've selected for their albums over the years has been notably akin to their sound. Two of theirs legendary albums have made the cut in our list today, and for good reason. At number nine on our list, we celebrate The Low End Theory, one of their most eye-catching cover arts of all time.

8. Nas' 'Illmatic'

best rap album covers 8
Columbia Records / Sony Music Entertainment

Released: 1994

Nas' Illmatic has gone down in hip-hop history as one of the most memorable projects to date. Not only is the music something to remember, but so is the album artwork, which sets the stage for exactly what the music accomplishes: introducing the artist to his fans, and telling his vivid story of his upbringing in Queens, NY.

7. 50 Cent's 'Get Rich or Die Tryin''

best rap album covers 7
Shady Records / Aftermath Records / Interscope Records

Released: 2003

50 Cent has had many notable cover art examples, but arguably his most famous is the artwork for Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. This album artwork features a bullet hole (which really stood out on the CD covers at the time of its release) and 50 rocking Gucci accessories and a blinged-out diamond crucifix.

6. Ol’ Dirty Bastard's 'Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version'

best rap album covers 6
Elektra Entertainment

Released: 1995

At number six on our list is Ol' Dirty Bastard and his Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version album. This artwork was a testament to Dirty's bizarre nature, and yet was so simple at the same time. Gracing the covers of vinyls and CD's it was easily one of the most notable examples of album artwork for the 90's and in general.

5. Drake's 'Take Care'

best rap album covers 5
Cash Money Records

Released: 2011

Who else can make a man being emotional look as good as Drake does? Not many can. His Take Care album cover perfectly encapsulates his musical spirit in a photo. A room filled with classic art and gilded items, not to mention a candle lit besides him.

4. A Tribe Called Quest's 'Beats, Rhymes & Life'

best rap album covers 4
Zomba Recording

Released: 1996

As we mentioned earlier in this piece, A Tribe Called Quest doesn't mess around when it comes to their album art. Well, at number four on our list is Beats, Rhymes & Life, their 1996 album which featured "The Hop" amongst many other classics.

3. Chance the Rapper's 'Acid Rap'

best rap album covers 3
Chance the Rapper

Released: 2013

Ah, to be back in the 2010's. A time when music was breaking barriers, both sonically and systemically. Chance the Rapper was at the forefront of the musical movement at the time, which was largely situated on SoundCloud. This cover art represented a huge step forward for him and music. His music would go on to inspire artists like Lucki and others from Chicago (and beyond) to do their thing. Acid Rap just so happened to be one of the coolest covers of all time, not to mention the music was incredible.

2. Mac Miller's 'Faces'

best rap album covers 2
McCormick Family Trust / Warner Records

Released: 2014

Mac Miller's 2014 album, Faces, was dropped on SoundCloud and was closely cherished by his flock of fans. This jazzy approach to what was modern music at the time was brilliant, and the same could be said for the corresponding artwork. Did we mention this unbelievable piece was created by his brother? This album is timeless, and is a testament to the insane creative ability had by both Mac and his brother.

1. Kanye West's 'Graduation'

best rap album covers 1
Roc-A-Fella / UMG

Released: 2007

Finally, we've reached the number one spot for our list, which features none other than Kanye West and his 2007 Graduation album. The cover art was designed by Takashi Murakami, at a time when the majority of the world was not nearly as familiar with him as they are today. Kanye by no means is a perfect role model, but it is undeniable that he has a knack for art - creating it, curating it, and more. The selection of art for this project was iconic in that it perfectly aligned with his futuristic sound and tied into both of his previous albums, The College Dropout and Late Registration.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down