5. Ghostface Killah & Adrien Young- 12 Reasons to Die II
Record Label: Linear Labs
Release Date : July 10
This cinematic album cover serves as the visual representation of Ghostface’s 70’s crime thriller themed album. In this image Ghostface Killer lurks in the background with smoke adrift, ready to continue on his warpath of revenge. As a fan of classic movies myself the noir theme of the imagery is definitely eye catching.
4. Joey Bada$$- B4 Da $$
Record Label: Cinematic/ Pro Era
Release Date: January 20
Designer: Antonio “Tony Whlgn” Robinson
This image manages to capture the personality and artistic identity of Joey Badass very well. The legendary skyline of New York is captured in the background in black and white with the title of the album in colorful graffiti style, which is reminiscent of the golden age of the culture. The contrast of the bleak skyline in comparison to the colorful album title and border makes the image really jump out at the eye.
3. Curren$y- Pilot Talk III
Record Label: Jet Life
Release Date: April 4
Designer: David Barnett
This cover stays true to the overall theme of the Pilot Talk series and is just very appealing visually, simple as that. The theme is intergalactic in this extremely detailed image, as humans and extra-terrestrials are granted the privilege to look up at the jets from several planets as opposed to one. Also, a closer look at the planets would reveal a pattern of leaves very similar to those of the green goddess Mary Jane. A coincidence, maybe or maybe not? Who’s to say?
2. A$AP Rocky- A.L.L.A
Record Label: RCA/A$AP Worldwide
Release Date: May 26
January 18th was a sad day for the A$AP Mob collective as they lost founder Steven “A$AP Yams” Rodriguez. This vivid, intriguing cover is Asap Rocky’s tribute to his very close friend, which helped him a lot in the progression of his career. The imagery shows Rocky’s face infused with Asap Yams, with Yamborghini’s birthmark and tattoo clearly depicted. Pretty Flacko stays true to his gaudy style on the cover as his hands are dripping with ice, but in this case this only acts as a minor complement to this great visual tribute to a lost one.
1. Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly
Record Label: Interscope/Aftermath/TDE
Release Date: March 15
Designer/Photographer: Denis Rouvre
This shockingly bold album cover sent spine tingling chills reverberating through the rap world with its blunt uncut imagery. Featuring a rather eclectic combination of images which include; a child throwing up the middle finger and a dead judge, this cover is not shy in its portrayal of hood stereotypes, contempt towards the system, and the victory of the underdog. The imagery is a great representation of the rise of the maligned and disenfranchised and Kendrick Lamar’s vow to stay true to his origins.