With Independence Day soon upon us, the American flag shall be all up in your grill. And while every rapper and their uncle Sam has been putting “Old Glory”‘s visage on their cover art as a trendy accessory, there are also those who’ve done it to make a political statement. Flag burning? Devil-ish glares? Weaponry and such? We gotcha covered. Here, in honor of the 13 colonies that led the American revolution, we present 13 not-so-patriotic rap album covers. Picture these covers coolin’ out on the 4th of July. And if ya thought they were celebrating that’s a worldwide lie…
#1. 2 Black 2 Strong MMG - Burn Baby Burn EP (Clappers, 1990)
Early ’90s crew re-claims the Watts Riots’ slogan from “Disco Inferno” and ups the agit-hop ante with its EP cover imagery. P.E.’s Chuck D makes a guest appearance, too. Maybach Music Group, hold your head.
#2. Above The Law - Uncle Sam's Curse (Ruthless, 1994)
Whether taking the form of power – or L.A. smog – like Hurricane Annie, Uncle Sam will blow you away.
#3. DJ Screw - Best of the Best Vol. 2 (mixtape, 2006)
Posthumously released collection of the H-Town innovator’s work uses the red, white and blue as backdrop to a horrific Kill at Will -esque image.
#4. Esham - Mail Dominance (Overcore, 2000)
You’ve got mail, Lucifer.
#5. Full Blooded - Memorial Day (No Limit, 1998)
One of Pen & Pixel’s best moments.
#6. Geto Boys - Da Good Da Bad & Da Ugly (Rap-A-Lot, 1998)
Crack – more contagious than rabies, even on Pennsylvania Ave. Sam says: “Get off my lawn!”
#7. Ice Cube - Death Certificate (Priority, 1991)
O’Shea, can you see…
#8. Killer Mike - I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind Vol. 1 (Sony, 2006)
Charred flag alert from ATL’s finest. (Also, on the sequel .)
#9. Lupe Fiasco - "Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)" (Atlantic, 2012)
Lost amidst the controversy of “T.R.O.Y.”-gate : Lupe’s visual commentary that legal business controls America.
#10. Paris - Acid Reflex (Guerilla Funk, 2008)
Uncle Sam wants you – to serve evil, and he’s holding Black babies holding hand grenades. (NOTE: While the above cover certainly isn’t Paris’ most incendiary – that honor goes to either this or this – it’s the most incendiary that bears stars n’ stripes fo’ neva.)
#11. Pastor Troy - Tool Musiq (Money & the Power/SMC, 2007)
Originally entitled Saddam Hussein , trap pioneer Troy’s ’07 LP features what appears to be rifle scopes and artillery belts in place of the flag’s stars and stripes. Also, a burning cross stands in for the “T” in “Troy.”
#12. Public Enemy - "Night of the Living Baseheads" (Def Jam, 1988)
Still one of the all-time greatest photos in music history: Public Enemy photographed by Glen E. Friedman behind bars circa the Nation of Millions era. Where’s Old Glory, you ask? Take a close look at what’s underfoot…
#13. Spice 1 - AmeriKKKa's Nightmare (Jive, 1994)
Actually, the NRA approved this album cover.