Check out 1AM’s favorite album art of 2017! The list is ordered from least to greatest and we want to hear your opinions. Did we misplace something or forget your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
About Time – Sabrina Claudio
Simply put, Sabrina Claudio looks gorgeous on the cover of her album About Time. The natural and grainy aesthetic of her portrait perfectly represents the delicate and soulful sounds found inside her album.
DAMN – Kendrick Lamar
We’re sure there’s a ton of you out of your seats right now in outrage that DAMN scored so low on our list. But really, let’s be honest — this album artwork is not that good. Anyone with an iPhone, VSCO, and sticker app could’ve made this. However, the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Which totally lives up to its message in this case because DAMN was one of the best albums of the year. If you would’ve never gotten past the Microsoft Paint font, you would’ve missed hits like “Humble,” “DNA,” and “Loyalty.”
Without Warning – 21 Savage, Offset, & Metro Boomin
Without Warning’s album art is cohesive to the music as 21 Savage, Offset, and Metro Boomin come together to create the ultimate trap trifecta. With signature Metro Boomin beats and adamant verses from 21 and Offset, you won’t be disappointed.
Freudian – Daniel Caesar
Every time we look at Freudian we can’t help but think of how symbolic it is to Daniel Caesar’s rise within in the music industry. With a dreamy feature from Kali Uchis on “Get You” and other songs like “We Find Love” and “Hold Me Down,” it’s only a matter of time before Daniel Caesar is on the very top the R&B pinnacle.
Planet – Emi
Straight out of Seattle comes Emi with her debut EP, Planet. We love the extraterrestrial colors and vibe that the album artwork gives off. It sets the mood for her dark R&B that talks about her love life, the music industry, and the drug game.
Culture – Migos
The cover of Culture reminds of us of an OG mixtape from the south with a boujee twist of modern art and culture. While this album artwork didn’t top our chart, the music itself sure did. With hits like “T-Shirt,” “Get Right Witcha,” “Slippery,” and “Kelly Price” all on one album, it’s safe to say that this was one of the best albums of the year. Oh, and we won’t leave off “Bad and Boujee” which was also featured on this album. We predict that “Bad and Boujee” will become an iconic club song that plays just as regularly as “Get Low.”
Humanz – Gorillaz
Visual art is the Gorillaz’s expertise so it only make sense that they’re on the list. Their album artwork for Humanz offers intricate and up-close portraits of your favorite cartoon rock band. This album was a big surprise to fans considering the Gorillaz hadn’t released an album in nearly a decade. Not to mention that it included a star-studded tracklist that featured Grace Jones, Kali Uchis, Vince Staples, Popcaan, DRAM, Anthony Hamilton, De La Soul, Danny Brown, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Pusha T, and Benjamin Clementine.
Sugar Trap 2 – Rico Nasty
The title and artwork of this album compliment each other so well. Before you even begin to listen to Sugar Trap 2, you already know what’s in store; a kawaii killer rapping over sparkly bubblegum trap beats. As much as it’s poppy, it’s scary — which is exactly why you love Rico Nasty. If you haven’t given Sugar Trap 2 a listen, we highly suggest you get on it because Rico Nasty is up next.
All Amerikkkan Badass – Joey Badass
Joey Badass lays out his anger on the cover of All Amerikkkan Badass as he sits in beat-up American muscle, middle fingers up in the air. The bandana flag and typography of “Amerikkkan” play to the political turmoil themes that he discusses throughout the album.
Herstory – Young M.A
From flip phones and Monopoly money to topping charts and breaking hearts; Young M.A speaks her dreams into existence with the album art for Herstory. There’s heartwarming realness that is displayed on this cover which completely represents Young M.A‘s persona. The portrait also makes you feel inspired to bring your own dreams into fruition thanks to the innocence of her family photo that you feel like you can relate to.
Bulletproof – Young Dolph
Straight up, we love how cocky this album cover is. Bulletproof was released after Young Dolph’s SUV was shot at over 100 times as he was pulling up to his show in Charlotte, North Carolina. What the shooters didn’t know, is that Young Dolph paid $300,000 to convert his SUV into a bulletproof vehicle meaning that Young Dolph walked away from the shooting completely unharmed. Dolph truly made a statement as he smiled in his fresh fit and stood upon hundreds of bullet shells in front of his brand new SUV.
Grateful – DJ Khaled
Grateful makes us laugh as DJ Khaled’s first born, Ashad, graces the cover in a hot tub. It’s almost a weird spin on the iconic Nirvana Nevermind album, right? Not only was Ashad the cover star but he was also executive producer of Grateful that featured hits like “Shining” and “Wild Thoughts.”
Cozy Tapes Vol. 2, Too Cozy – A$AP Mob
We love the old-school mob mentality that this cover gives us. It feels vintage and closely resembles the classic cliques that hip hop was founded on. There’s no doubt that this photo will be an iconic image that is used to remember the A$AP Mob forever.
Queen Elizabitch – Cupcakke
OK come through self love! Cupcakke looks super sexy on the cover of her Queen Elizabitch album and we are absolutely here for it! She’s also giving us major Lil Kim vibes in her glamorous pink-feathered lingerie, looking like a cutie pie flamingo — we adore it!
Still Striving – A$AP Ferg
As they say, less is more and that’s exactly what you get with the cover of A$AP Ferg’s Still Striving. The art is simple but head strong as Ferg ties his du-rag, body language conveying that he’s ready for whatever comes his way.
Good For You – Amine
Good For You is nothing less than eye-catching as Amine bodly sits on the toilet butt naked. However, the color contrast between the yellow and blue tie everything together making the art feel less insane and more au courant. Either way, it’s funky and we like it.
SweetSexySavage – Kehlani
Kehlani makes us drool with her dreamy cover for SweetSexySavage. SuperDuperBrick and James McCloud worked with Kehlani to create a stunning portrait that almost looks like a hyper-realistic painting. With songs like “Keep On” and “Distraction,” SweetSexySavage was an album we were playing all summer ’17.
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom – Halsey
Even though the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom cover is somewhat minimalistic, there is a lot of story telling to be found in-between the fine lines. The powerful red, the ripped photos, the burnt corner, and taped edges make you curious about what’s inside. Did everything fall apart? Or did everything come together?
Take Me Apart – Kelela
Kelela paralyzes us with her natural beauty on the cover of Take Me Apart. The album artwork is an excellent representation of the luscious and ethereal R&B found inside her album. Songs like “LMK” and “Frontline” will leave you speechless.
None of the Clocks Work – Amir Obe
The artwork for None of the Clocks Work gets us thinking which is why it’s up pretty high on our list. We love the abstract use of graph paper and the deranged doodles that lead to a bigger picture — we think. The beauty of it all comes from the primary colors that tie everything together making it feel complete. To add even more beauty to the picture, listen to tracks like “Free” and “Cigarettes.”
Gang Signs & Prayer – Stormzy
Stormzy brings Gang Signs & Prayer to life by putting a gangster twist on the iconic Last Supper. His straightforward structure and laid-back goons make us question if there’s a change of times that lies ahead. The album goes on to defend his accomplishments and mainstream success with songs like “Big For Your Boots” and “Blinded By Your Grace.”
The Wild – Raekwon
On the corner of Parkhill PJs and Killer Bees Blvd, comes monstrous Raekwon tearing through the cover of The Wild. The Wu-Tang symbol is proudly displayed behind him as he aggressively destroys the concrete jungle. The art style choice here is interesting considering this technique is commonly used for political cartoons. However, don’t let it distract you from the warlike and energetic verses from songs like “My Corner” and “M&N,” that prove once again that Raekwon is a legend.
ISSA Album – 21 Savage
SomeHoodlum has been making his way through the art scene with his parody doodles of all your favorite artists. Here, Hoodlum uses his signature art style to create the cover for 21 Savage’s ISSA Album.
Saturation – Brockhampton
Brockhampton is new on the block and one of our favorite artists of 2017. Their Saturation series has been so effortlessly artistic. From the unconventional beats to their playful verses and avant garde visuals, 1AM predicts that they’ll be a major music influence in coming years.
DropTopWop – Gucci Mane
This album cover feelings rather fitting to both the new and old Gucci Mane. While he’s always been flashy and fun, this painting for DropTopWop portrays Gucci to be exceptionally free. It’s safe to say he’s living his best life after getting out of prison last year in June 2016. Plus, we love Metro’s appearance as the driver.
Painting Pictures – Kodak Black
We absolutely love the art style of this cover! Throughout 2017, there was a handful of painted portraits that served as album artwork. This particular art style happened to be one of the most unique and somewhat peculiar. The color palette, round aspects and lack of intricate detail, all work together in perfect harmony to create the quirky cover for Kodak Black’s Painting Pictures.
Come Over When You’re Sober – Lil Peep
Lil Peep lays back on the cover of his first album, Come Over When You’re Sober, which will unfortunately be his last. Peep passed away just last month, November 2017. It is truly a tragedy that such a trailblazing talent had to leave us so soon at just the beginning of a career that was destined to be iconic. We’re happy to have the music Peep left us and this classic cover that reminds us of our cherished ’00s emo pop-punk.
ctrl – SZA
First off, ctrl was one of the best albums of 2017. With songs like “Love Galore,” “Supermodel,” and “The Weekend,” we couldn’t help but have this as our go-to album of the year. For the cover, we love the contrast of all the dead computers piled up in an earthy setting. As SZA sits humbly and straightforward, it represents honest and uninterrupted ‘control.’ She’s disconnecting from the world and focusing on nothing but herself; which was a major theme throughout her album.
Teenage Emotions – Lil Yachty
In a lot of ways, 2017 was kind of a hell hole. As you can tell by now, there were a lot of politically charged albums thanks to the insanity we’re experiencing from the oval office and well, Twitter. We’re going through a period of civil retrograde. We’ve been forced to defend the misunderstood and remind society that it’s okay to be different. Teenage Emotions ignores the Type A mold and celebrates diversity. We see a whole lot of self love on this cover and that is something that is important to us more than ever before.
Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator
Everything about the cover of Flower Boy is gorgeous. The gradient colors, detailed little bee hairs, and a mini McLaren down the road, perfectly reflect the evolved Tyler, The Creator that we’ve come to know. Painted by Eric White, this hyper-realistic masterpiece is so telling of the rich and vivid sounds of Flower Boy. If you close your eyes and listen closely, there is no doubt that songs like “See You Again” and “Boredom” would paint this exact picture.
Melodrama – Lorde
There are so many things to say about this beautiful piece by Sam McKinniss. After admiring each other’s work from afar, Lorde teamed up with Sam to create the album art for Melodrama. It took several evenings to compose this alluring blue-lit portrait of “nighttime attitudes.” The complimentary spectrum of somber hues and meticulous brush stokes come together to create a treasure that could be placed in The Louvre. It’s the perfect piece of art to set the mood for the album. You’ll love tracks like “Liability” and “Perfect Places.”
At What Cost – Goldlink
And the best album art of the year goes to Goldlink! At What Cost was a special album for the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) as Goldlink hit the Billboard Hot 100 with “Crew,” which also features DMV rapper Shy Glizzy. To build on his DMV roots, Goldlink commissioned DMV artist Darius Moreno for the cover of At What Cost. In an interview with Fader, Darius describes working with Goldlink saying, “He knew he wanted his project to portray the DMV in the best way and I knew I could show that.” We love this cover for its authenticity and the sentimental value that it holds to Goldlink and the city that he’s from. Moreover, we love Darius’ signature art style of messy brushstrokes and refined shadows that offer dimension using careful, unconventional colors. However, what truly makes Darius’ art special is his choice of subjects. Rarely do we see hip hop and black culture being valued in classic art. Darius takes traditional art to paint the environment around him in a new light, forcing affluent outsiders to be compelled and to perhaps find beauty in something they don’t understand.