It’s the time of year for “best of 2018” lists!

You might be thinking, Wow, what a niche topic you guys. But what we found was that hip-hop and R&B artists today are not only changing the art of music but also that of the album cover. The following album covers are striking, colorful, and somewhat haunting at times. So, without further ado, here are our picks for top album art from 2018.

Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

This is the album on this list that is overtly in the R&B genre. It speaks to the artistic taste of an artist in Janelle Monae that isn’t afraid to reach outside the box and do what she wants. Her third effort sees her departing from her usual alter ego, Cindi Mayweather. Her normal cyborg character is replaced with a new bisexual party girl that goes by the alias “Jane 57821”. We won’t do too much rambling here because we want to let you spend some time gazing at this cover and coming up with your own thoughts on it.

Vince Staples – FM!

With his 3rd full-length album, Vince Staples included his most artful cover to date. The California based rapper went with album art that depicts a crowded beach with random cameos from characters such as God, a dragon, and an LAPD chopper. The album is exploding with color and grabs the viewer’s attention immediately. There’s no mistaking the name of the record as it is prominently featured right in the middle.

Travis Scott – Astroworld

Arguably the hottest album of the year, Astroworld took the music world by storm when it was released in August. Interestingly, the album features two different interpretations of the cover. One is a “day version” that shows a couple of excited children. The “night version” of the album art embraces a more risque and odd grouping of scantily clad women. Either version takes us into the mind of Travis and his album inspired by Houston’s theme park of yesteryear.

J. Cole – KOD

This album cover is another that bursts with color and features East-Coast rapper J. Cole clad in a king’s robe. The record’s title has three explicit meaning according to Cole himself; Kids On Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons. What remains on the album he leaves up to your interpretation. Themes from all three meanings are evident on the cover but it explicitly states that “This album in no way is intended to glorify addiction”.

Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts

Takashi Murakami is the artist behind the joint album from Kid CuDi and Kanye. He has worked with Kanye previously on his “Graduation” cover art as well. The album art was inspired by a previous work of Murakami from 2001 entitled, “Manji Fuji”. The record’s cover is a great representation of the kind of art that Takashi has always attempted to portray; a mix of traditional Japanese style and popular culture.

Mac Miller – Swimming

There’s a lot we could say about this album. It is arguably Mac’s best work and it will always carry the weight of his death that occurred a few weeks after the album’s release. The cover itself is quite minimalist and lacks the color pallete of our other choices. It does have an extra haunting feeling as it focuses on Miller himself as the centerpiece, looking downward in a sort of ominous manner.

So there you have our top picks. What are some of your favorite works of album art from 2018? Tell us about your faves in the comments!

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