1. Eric B and Rakim, Paid in Full
The front cover from the album Paid in Full by Eric B and Rakim is one of the most iconic pieces of art that rap music has ever produced. It represented an entire generation of Hip-Hop, allowing anyone ever curious about 80’s street culture, an intimate glimpse into the movement. Just look at the cover— the big Bennies floating in the background, the trunk jewelry, the classic hustler poses, and Ra’s iconic haircut, not only edified the lyrics on the album but cemented in our minds what New York was like at the dawn of rap’s ascension. Paid in Full was the epitome of the city’s street game, lyricism, and hustle all wrapped up into one rhythmic bow. An added Easter egg is on the back of the cover where the actual Paid In Full Posse from Brooklyn was featured. In addition to Eric B. and Rakim, you can see another rapper Kool G Rap from the Juice Crew (on Rakim’s right), who was kind of down with PIF; 50 Cent (crouching in red hat); Rap (top left in the FILA tracksuit); Killer Ben (top in green); Ant Live (crouching behind 50 Cent); Keith Green (from Long Island); AJ (from Queens); Freddie Foxx; Rob Garcia (from Long Island) and Jason Riley (in black). What made the album cover even doper was that the music on the album was top-notch.