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In 1938, Alex Steinweiss, an art director for Columbia Records invented the concept of album cover art, making way for epic images that continuously influence pop culture. It’s different now that most listeners stream and download music, which has ignited a market for unique album artwork to differentiate one project from the next. Also, design software is much more accessible and apps like instagram are extremely popular. That accessibility has given artists a bevy of new media to expand greatly the idea of album covers. Artists can create several album covers with a mouse click, and with a simple QR code make them interactive, or create a vine video that gives the viewer a short film in lieu of a traditional static album cover.

So it’s no shock that this year is has delivered dope album covers.

Here is my list of 2013’s Five Best Hip Hop Album Covers, based on: visual aesthetic, concept in relation to album name and theme, and creative execution.

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Every few years, there is a shift within a genre that meets the public’s ire or adoration (usually in equal parts). Drake represents a shift in hip-hop towards a spacious sound-scape and nakedly expressive emoting.
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it’s that time of year. when the rap world comes to a screeching halt so that 34 people can freestyle during an awards show that doesn’t give out awards.
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The Rapper’s Guide To Catching Feelings

 |  September 26, 2013
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it’s safe to say that hip-hop has reached its Emo Era. rappers, for the first time on a major scale, are extremely comfortable expressing their darkest thoughts and lowest emotions. good for them!
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This ain’t for the faint of heart or the light of skivvies. This is anti-AutoTune. This is the world’s most dangerous hip-hop show, by a stretch. Parental discretion is advised. The clickables after the jump…
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Lupe is making the most of the rap’s publicity wars by dismantling popular beats and inserting himself into the conversation with symbolic lyrics about how weak the game is. It’s a good strategy: not too confrontational to be overblown but sly and referential enough to thrill those who get it. Be one of those. (Hilarious that he keeps naming these songs sequels to his earlier work when they have nothing to do with that at all.)


The year’s not even over and Drake is at #11 on this list, with $10.5M banked already. King Kendrick ain’t far off his heels with $9M in total. 50 Cent has also tumbled way down this list as compared to a few years ago. It looks like the young guns are taking their official place and not just some “Saved-By-The-Bell-The-New-Class” knockoffs either. Read the full list after the jump. Hat tip to TSS.
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