10. Action Bronson - Blue Chips 2
Bronsolino in what looks like office attire, squaring off against a referee; a crowd cheering him on as spectators hold aloft signs depicting the album title and the creators of it; tits out for Bronson and all in an animated, colourful cover foreshadowing the partying, feel-good theme of the mixtape.
9. Danny Brown - Old
In an homage to Napoleon and other generals that have had their portrait painted in a similar format, Danny Brown, with his wild hair, has a solemn, mellow look on his face-- not a face you often see on the Detroit native who is usually sporting a gap-toothed grin, often with his tongue out.
8. Tyler, the Creator - Wolf
Wearing a blue snapback with the album title on it, the Odd Future frontman has a longing look on his face as the portrait of him in the background has him smiling, cupping an inhaler-- that's just one option of album cover for Wolf, and while it was the main cover, the second one is much cooler. A painted Tyler sits on a bicycle in the woods near a lake, staring at us with his Wolf hat. The third album cover option is a black and white extreme close-up of Tyler's face with an open mouth. The absurdity of these covers makes them that much more brilliant (not to mention unique).
7. Deniro Farrar - The Patriarch
A tribute to Star Wars mixed in with religious signs and depictions made this cover very memorable and an instant classic. The music wasn't so bad, either.
6. Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire - Kismet
Not many rappers can pull off an album cover where they're looking directly at you while fucking a woman but that's exactly what eXquire does in one of the funniest, simplest and best covers of the year. All this, and he appears to be in outer space. What a G.
5. Chance the Rapper - Acid Rap
This young, Chicago rapper has been on every year-end list after the release of his phenomenal Acid Rap mixtape. Is it that much of a surprise that he also grabbed a position on this list with his confused, hungover look amongst a haze of psychedelic colours?
4. Drake - Nothing Was the Same
A young Drake with a 'fro and a pick is painted on the cover art of his strongest album to date, while the deluxe edition featured the Drizzy we now know. If you put them side-by-side, they face each other. This cover brought laughs, criticism, confusion but was applauded universally.
3. Killer Mike & El-P - Run The Jewels
Two dismembered hands with long fingernails grace the cover of the Run The Jewels collaboration. One hand points in the shape of the gun while the other grasps a necklace in front of a black background. Damn, homie.
2. Mac Miller - Watching Movies With The Sound Off
The naked simplicity of this cover is amazing. It's Mac, with a deadpan look on his face with an apple, vase and an oranement around his neck, while an gold angel hangs down from the right-hand side. That's it. The 'parental advisory' sticker that accompanies all rap albums these days covers his genitals under the table. When this art was first revealed, it definitely made a lasting impression and stirred up plenty of conversation.
1. Willie the Kid - Aquamarine
This. Just, this. Look closely and you'll see a beautiful, large house perched on top of an island, probably somewhere in the Scottish Isles but underneath it, creating the island with its head is a gigantic, terrifying looking octopus that lazily sits at the bottom of the ocean. This was unlike any artwork we've ever seen, and although you may have overlooked the mixtape, the art should not be overlooked. Thus we're giving Willie The Kid the #1 spot.
HNHH selects our ten favorite album/mixtape covers of the past year, ranked in order.
2013 wasn't just a good year for music, we also saw some great and memorable album covers. Artwork is an important aspect of any project, as art will likely draw a listener in off first glance and can also give you an idea of what's to come-- themes can often be represented in the art, but then again, sometimes art is drawn up for pure jokes-- both instances are seen in this countdown.
As hip-hop progresses, so does the album cover. The days of an artist simply posing are long gone for the most part. 2013 definitely saw some dope album covers and so it was hard narrowing down HNHH's favorite ten. Major releases like 2 Chainz B.O.A.T.S. II: #METime, Pusha T's MNIMN and Kanye West's Yeezus, for example, are neglected on this list. While those three each had minimalist art most, likely reared by Kanye, (in the case of Yeezus there was really no art to consider at all), they didn't exactly overwhelm us with creativity and artistry. They were nice in their simplicity, but we've opted for projects that are more left-field, some are detailed and intricate, some are more basic, but they all contain an aspect that make them completely original-- and in most cases, the artwork itself made some noise when it was released.
Click through to see each project art, counting down from #10 to #1. Let us know your thoughts and personal choices in the comments below. Enjoy.