In this day and age of The Twitter, is there anything more obsolete than a real pulp ‘n’ ink magazine?Well, count Houston rapper/former Vh1 reality show contestant/social media curiosity Riff Raff among those who seem to think otherwise. Yesterday, he tweeted his new, teeny-bopper rag-inspired album cover in his latest
plea campaign to our big-ballin’ potnahs over at Complex Media: “Y’ALL SHOULD MAKE THiS THE COVER OF COMPLEX …” (Yes, in ALL CAPS… Hey bro, no need to shout.) Still, it’s damn nice to see that even those with 209k followers on The Twitter still got love for print. Which got us journalistic dinosaurs’ minds-a-buzzin’ about some of the other rap album and single covers that also paid homage to the once mighty journalistic print form. Peep our list, and let us know what we missed…
Riff Raff: Birth of An Icon (Mad Decent, 2012)
Since he inspired this list, lets start with this dude. He’s on Diplo’s label, and he’s given himself a zillion alias, most notably “Rap Game James Franco.” Here, on his album artwork, he gets his Rap Game Just Bieber on.
OK. Keep it movin. Next slide..
(Riff Raff's album artwork was inspired by teeny bopper magazines.)
It was all a dream! We used to read Word Up! Magazine (until we stopped and started our own).
Okay. Next slide..
Hy Tymes: "Keep It Gangsta" (Stimulated, 2000)
Rappers… smoking weed? Hard to believe, but true! These Money Boss Players affiliates dropped this creatively titled first single on Dante Ross’s Stimulated imprint.
(Hy Tymes' single artwork was inspired by High Times Magazine.)
A publication known not just for extensively (and exhaustively) covering the world of cannibis culture, but also in and of itself a more than suitable surface for crumbling the sticky icky.
Digable Planets: Blowout Comb (Pendulum/EMI, 1994)
Yes, brothers and sistahs, the cover for Digable Planets’ most excellent Blowout Comb LP can actually be attributed to… (see next slide)
(Digable's Blowout was inspired by The Black Panther)
…the literally revolutionary design work of Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture Emory Douglass on display in the organization’s namesake publication that began its circulation in 1967.
Above The Law: Livin' Like Hustlers (1990, Ruthless Records)
With hard-to-read coverlines like “Corrupt Cop Confesses Crimes” and “LayLaw Goes Mega” ATL’s debut album cover concept easily predates hood mags like Murder Dog, F.E.D.S and Don Diva that wouldn’t hit newsstands until at least until the mid-to-late ’90s. Which leaves us not exactly certain which specific magazine, or even what specific type of magazine this album cover is supposed to represent, but it’s got the whiff of realness written all over it.
(Murder Dog, Don Diva, and F.E.D.S)
Above The Law definitely saw the future. Years after the release of Livin’ LIke Hustlers, the decade actually begat some of the realest publications EVER to hit the newsstands. The hard-as-hell hood mags —excuse us, we mean magz, made sure whatever was hot on the block was hot off the presses.
Kurupt: Kuruption (Antra, 1998)
And then, of course, there’s your classic daily newspaper, which provides never-gets-old conceptual inspiration. This solo LP by Kurupt being just one example of a well explored visual genre. Take a look at some more…
Paula Perry: "Extra, Extra" (Motown, 1998)
… and more…
E-40: The Ball Street Journal (Warner Bros., 2008)
… and more…
Ghetto Boys: Making Trouble (Rap-A-Lot, 1988)
Looking at this, we’re pretty certain somebody in the proofreading department at Rap-A-Lot Records probably lost they job for insisting to spell “Geto” the correct way.
Geto Boys: Till Death Do Us Part (Rap-A-Lot, 1993)
Yup. By the release of their fifth album, the inappropriate correct spelling of “Geto” was incorrectly corrected.