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The Best Album Art of 2011

10. Exile – 4TRK Mind – SoulSpazm
While Exile’s  concept LP, 4TRK Mind, wasn’t the strongest LP from Below The Heavens / Emanon producer, he definitely delivered one of the best album covers and accompanying viral campaigns for it. This album cover pretty much sums up Exile Manfredi in a nutshell. Soak it in, ladies.

9. Travis Barker – Give The Drummer Some – Interscope – Designed by original Dr. Octagon LP artist Pushead, we get a similar theme here with the rotting skull of one T. Barker, complete with mohawk and drumsticks. While this LP didn’t quite deliver like we wanted to, the cover (and guest list) sure made us want to listen.

8. Jedi Mind Tricks – Violence Begets Violence – Enemy Soil – JMT album covers always manage to be eye-catching, this one featuring members of what they refer to in North Korea as the stunted generation (the little duns), suggesting the cycle of violence will repeat as time goes on. Cold, chilling.

7. Yelawolf – Radioactive – Shady/Interscope – Simply dope design here. While it probably would have been more fitting for the kid to have black hair, this album cover is definitely one of the illest.

6. Evidence - Cats & Dogs – Rhymesayers – Ev cheekily takes things a step further with this beating of a dead horse of his Weatherman persona, with a 9-11-esque memorial to all the fallen cats and dogs.

5. Apathy – Honkey Kong – Dirty Version – The sheer audacity of this album cover, depicting Apathy as a massive albino gorilla on a path to destruction, is probably the most accurate metaphor we can think of for the CT rhyme animal. Dope LP to boot.

4. Lloyd Banks – The Cold Corner 2 – We hate to include a mixtape cover on this list, but Banks killed it with this one, capturing the mindstate of New York City and perhaps the rest of the country, just as the Occupy Wall Street movement broke out.

3. The Roots – undun – Island/Def Jam – The Roots went for simplicity with the cover to undun, taking what looks to be vintage photography much like they did with Things Fall Apart. Consider this the ying to TFA‘s yang.

2. Mobb Deep – Black Cocaine – Infamous Records - Dope.

1. Jay-Z + Kanye West – Watch The Throne – Roc-A-Fella - There probably isn’t an album cover that screams “buy me” more than this one. An album that is pretty much summed up as two stylish, rich guys rapping about how stylish and rich they are, packaged in a golden, embossed cross. That shit cray.

The Worst Album Art of 2011

10. Drake – Take Care – YMCMB
You already know we love this LP, so obviously we didn’t judge a book by it’s cover. But damn, what were you thinking, Drizzy? No seriously, why are you so pensive on the album cover? For a man with lots of gold, he sure does look sad. He also looks like he is holding a Thanksgiving drumstick, from a distance. This cover also prompted the Twitter trending topic #drakecrieswhen.

9. Shunda K – The Most Wanted – Fanatic
Yo, uh, what the fuck is happening here? Oh we get it, she’s like Mimic, the X-Men’s crappiest villain. Superlame.

8. Ace Hood – Blood, Sweat, & Tears – Def Jam – So you finished P90X, congrats. But rappers, please stop putting your oiled up, bloody chests and nipples on your album cover. Nobody wants to see that shit. Seriously.

7. Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun – Monumental – Duck Down – This is one of the best LP’s of the year, incidentally. So why did they get the blind sculpting chick from Lionel Richie’s “Hello” video to do the cover?

6. A$ap Rocky – Live Love A$ap – Apparently this guy has never heard of Aesop Rock. Or seen the Stankonia LP cover.

5. 2 Chainz – T.R.U. REALigon – Def Jam – Wow, this dude is so in demand that he gets text messages even as he pisses! Chalk that up with a questionable title (what is he advertising True Religion Jeans or something?) and you easily have one of the wackest covers of the year. Fuck off.

4. Roc C – Stoned Genius – Yeah, sometimes we perceive things differently when we are stoned.

3. Curtains – Killer Tape – An artist’s depiction of a crime scene, executed poorly.

2. French Montana – Casino Life - Imitating your favorite mob movie for your album cover/video/intro/whatever has been done. What’s great (or not) about this one is that they left Sharon Stone in tact.

1. Tyga – Careless World: Rise Of The Last KingYMCMB – This album cover has already been dissed on the internet for being too similar to Watch The Throne, but even worse, Tyga is mirroring himself as The Last King Of Scotland, Idi Amin. Uh, did you see this movie, Tyga? If so, you probably wouldn’t want to resemble anything close to him. Not too late to scrap it, buddy.

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18 Responses to "HHS 2011 Year-In-Review: Best & Worst Album Artwork"
  • Proof says:

    This list was awesome, some of funniest/clever stuff I’ve read in a long time. Good work!

  • d-bo says:

    @ Dirty Dee – More like “Bitch Hop”. Drizz probably cries at least once a month.

    I thought The S&W cover was actually pretty dope. I would have put that under the dopest album covers. Who remembers how bad No Limit and Ca$h Money album covers were in the 90s. That shit was pure nignorance. But I did appreciate the Beatnuts album cover on “Take it or Squeeze it”. That shit was mad funny.

  • Shawn B says:

    #1 I also liked that Roc C album cover, and I do not think you get the theme. It is a movement.

    #2 That Kanye and Jay Z cover is not even art.

    #3 That ASAP cover is better than that Apollo Brown cover “Clouds” I think that was the worse cover ever.

  • WuBrotha#1 says:

    I’m way late on commenting on this, but better late than never before New Years (btw, hope everybody at HHS & all the regulars have a great and safe one). Nice list, but I did think the Monumental cover was kind of dope. I did bare witness to the Ace Hood cover bc my nephew is a fan and I copped it for him. But yeah, when I got it I was dying..ASAP looks like a rip off of Killer Mike meets Stankonia for real. But a really poor mans version. And who the hell are all these other artists that made the worst cover lists? LOL, this is the one time you can definitely judge a book by its cover…

  • EddieBrock says:

    Should have included the Lyrical Workout art from Bumpy Knuckles and Statik Selektah.

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