The fact of the matter is books shouldn't be judged by their covers, nor should music releases. But they both are and while the days of No Limit's classic artwork are long gone, 2012 had its fair share of memorable covers. Some ranged from complex and/or hilarious, to introspective to downright simple.
Whatever the case, over the course of the next handful of pages, we'll highlight some of our favorites the past 12 months have had to offer. Ready? Break.
Action Bronson - Rare Chandeliers -- When this tape dropped, certain members of the Crew (re: Whitt) proclaimed it as the best artwork since Big Bear’s Doin’ Thangs. SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY THAT WIZARD IS THERE WHO CARES IT’S AWESOME.
XV - Popular Culture -- Following suit from the celebrity-influenced collage to his last mixtape, Vizzy and his Zero Heroes plopped down in the Simpsons residence for this cool cartoon cover to it’s less impressive follow-up.
Trinidad James - Don’t Be S.A.F.E. -- So much of Trinidad James’ success is tied to his visual presentation (take that as a lesson up-and-coming artists). His album’s artwork is the perfect representation of the dichotomy that drives his art. Wild hair and gold teeth paired with a fitted blazer and classy pose are no different from the way his charisma pairs with often ignorant and rustic lyricism to create and infectious brand of southern hip-hop.
Nas - Life Is Good -- From the moment the artwork dropped long before the LP itself, we knew Nas had years worth of stress to get off his chest once we saw Kelis' wedding dress.
Big Boi - Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors -- Synesthesia is a neurological condition where sufferers’ senses are joined in strange ways. For example, one may hear color and see music. That idea immediately popped into our heads upon seeing Big Boi’s artwork. The deep purples and fuschias flowing from Big’s simple portrait is appropos for an album so rich in musicality.
Meek Mill - Dreams And Nightmares -- The debut album from MMG’s next in line might have been forced out and subsequently watered down, but this straightforward representation of the Philly MC’s rollercoaster ride of a life was well-thought out and concise.
Curren$y - The Stoned Immaculate -- Curren$y has an old soul that belies his youthful appearance and carefree approach to music and life. Hence the love of classic cars, his preference of rolling papers to blunts as the vessel of choice for his marijuana and his reverence for classic music of all eras. The cover for The Stoned Immaculate is a direct connection to the dusty albums Hip-Hop’s founders dug through to create future classics.
Big K.R.I.T. - 4eva N a Day -- A child choosing between a liquor bottle and The Bible? A shake joint and church? Who else has walked this tightrope as well as K.R.I.T.
2 Chainz - Based On A T.R.U. Story -- Simple and effective. Not unlike the artist formerly known as Tity Boi himself.
Reese - Reese Vs The World 2 -- Framed with a perfectly symmetrical border of AK-47's and razors, Reese stands unapologetically, bored even, in front of a white background. Indicative of the trappy, trendy songs within, it was one of the cleanest covers of the year. Plus, he's wearing a dope pair of sneakers.
Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city -- Kendrick Lamar’s yellowing Polaroid was a portal into the psyche of a young man both inspired and haunted by the streets of Compton, CA. Surrounded by family members, and presumably love, but with a forty ounce bottle directly in front of him, evidence of its contents on his uncle’s breath, we get a documentary-style peek into the diverging themes that created the young man ringing in our eardrums today.
T.I. - Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head -- More than anything, the title for T.I.'s new album was appropriate given his well-documented past run-ins with the wrong side of the law. The cover, however, looked like something straight out a Tarantino flick (word to Meka) worthy enough to at least give the project a spin even if you're one of those people who has lost confidence in Clifford over the years.