Hip-Hop History: 10 Memorable Diss Single Covers

Let's take a trip down memory lane with these clever and comical cover art pieces. 

Single and album artwork has always been a mainstay in music, with some covers portraying a notion of civil liberties and others, just plain fun. When it comes to mixtapes and diss records in hip-hop, creative juices are heightened as well as photoshopping. Call it the original hood filter, but we saw this happen with Remy Ma's artwork to her diss track towards Nicki Minaj. "shETHER" made the most out of the hip hop culture with the use of a dismantled Barbie, pink roses, makeup and the blood the plastic Barbie.

It's also a clear shot towards  Nicki’s albums Pink Friday and The Pinkprint. We’d have to say that the song itself was a bit better than the artwork, but there have been a slew of memorable diss track covers in the past.

Check out some of the most memorable diss track covers in hip-hop history under the cut.

Kool Moe Dee’s “How Ya Like Me Now?” 

The 1987 track, which was an attack towards LL Cool J, featured Moe Dee standing in front of a white Jeep. If your eye is naturally drawn to the item underneath the left front tire of the Jeep, perfect. You’ll see a squished red Kangol hat, which is what LL was famous for rocking during that time. In the rhyme itself, Kool Moe Dee comes right for LL claiming he bit his rap style. “Run around town sayin' he is the best/ Is that a test?/I’m not impressed,” he spits over a simple clapping beat. LL responded with the track “Jack The Ripper,” and Kool Moe came right back with a more aggressive diss called “Let’s Go.”

Canibus’ “Second Round K.O.”


In yet another diss geared towards LL Cool J, 1998’s “Second Round K.O.” appeared on Canibus’ first studio album, Can-I-Bus. The album artwork is simple, but the content of the Wyclef-produced track contains gems like “You walk around showin' off your body 'cause it sells/ Plus to avoid the fact that you ain't got skills.” It also features a voiceover from the King of Knockouts, Mike Tyson, bringing the entire concept of a lyrical beatdown full circle.

 Jim Jones’ “Jim York”


Former Roc-A-Fella MC Tru Life released a mixtape titled Tru York in 2007, which featured Jim Jones in a male one-piece bathing suit a la Borat and Cam’ron in a dress and blonde wig. In peak 2000’s culture, the Diplomats were able to hack into Tru Life’s MySpace page and Photoshop the mixtape artwork and name to “Jim York.” The new cover featured Jim in the center, Tru wearing the Borat swimsuit and Jay Z in the dress and wig. While this wasn’t an actual diss track, there’s nothing like a good ol’ MySpace beef to remind you of how Internet beefs kicked off. Tru Life and Dipset have finally ended their long-standing war of words, but in 2007, s**t was hitting the fan.

G-Unit’s “Elephant In The Sand”

The mixtape, which was aimed at Fat Joe, was released on the same day as Joey’s album The Elephant In The Room in March 2008. The artwork features the former heavy set MC on the beach toweling off with his lady friend, and the back cover shows Joe walking away on the beach with his plumber’s crack exposed. Not only did the cover art show the Bronx boy in an unflattering light, but a few skits on the album also portray Fat Joe as a snitch (aptly titled “Rat Joe 1 and 2”). Legend has it that 50 and Joey started beefing after Joe’s involvement in the Ja Rule song “New York.” As we know, Ja Rule and 50 have had issues for a long time, and the rest is history. Luckily, 50 and Joe have patched things up.

Lil Kim’s “Black Friday”


The Queen Bee’s artwork for her 2011 mixtape was recommended to her by a fan. It was a spin on the artwork for Nicki’s debut album Pink Friday, featuring Kim in all black with a bloody sword, as she’s beheaded Minaj, whose signature pink wig laid at Kim’s feet. The title track for the mixtape featured bars such as “See the fact is what you doing, I did it/ Lames trying to clone my style and run with it/ That’s cool, I was the first one with it/ Yous a Lil' Kim wanna be, You just hate to admit it/ I'm the blueprint, You ain't nothing brand new…”

Drake’s “Back To Back”

How could we forget the incredible symbolism behind the cover art for Drake’s 2015 Meek Mill diss “Back To Back”? The cover is of the moment the Toronto Blue Jays won the 1993 World Series for the second straight time. There was also an alternative cover shared of the crowd reaction i.e., us. In this particular series, they won against the Philadelphia Phillies. If you’re a bit slow on the register, Toronto is Drake’s hometown, while Philly is Meek’s. Incredible.

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Mac Miller performs during Behind The Scenes With Mac Miller Filming Music Choice's 'Take Back Your Music' Campaign at Music Choice on July 17, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Thundercat, Juicy J, Ariana Grande And More Pay Tribute To Mac Miller For 27th Birthday

It's not lost on many just how much Mac Miller's influence affects today's lovers of hip-hop. The rapper and songwriter's passing was a blow to the industry last year as he seemed to be hitting a special space in his creative journey.

With today (Jan. 19) being what would've been his 27th birthday, friends and musical partners are sharing stories and messages of love about their favorite Capricorn.

Frequent collaborator and friend Thundercat shared on Twitter a moment Mac helped create with the "Them Changes" artist and his family. "All three of us were in the same room, playing and creating and enjoying music with Mac," he tweeted about an impromptu session with his brothers and Mac.

"Mac was and always will be a special dude, he was definitely Lebowski to me. I will always remember a man I considered to be another one of my real brothers and best of friends in the short time we got to spend together. I miss him so much every day."

See more touching messages from Mac's friends below.

Mac was hands down one of thee freshest people I’ve met so far in life, never a dull moment. I’ll share one of my favorite moments with you guys on this most dope day. I always enjoyed getting a chance to work with him, we would spend days at a time...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

..Creating music, playing music and introducing each other to new music all the time. This is the day he met my brothers @drummaboiblue1 & @_K_I_N_T_A_R_O_ it was a bit of a whirlwind how it all happened because at separate times they both came flying...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...through the studio door at separate times of the late night. My older brother @drummaboiblue1 kicked the door in and starts rapping and making hip hop hands at Mac who was sitting at the computer and it was so intense he just turned and looked at me like..

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...”Holy shit, this is your brother?” I didn’t know what to expect next because it could have easily gone south, but I got a chance to see what made Mac so special. My brother is hands down the most amazing drummer in the world *dont at me* and what I saw...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...from Mac really stays in my heart because I watched him turn my older brothers energy into creative energy by challenging him about the title of best drummer in the world, and handing him pots & pans and things from around the studio and the house...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

..shortly after Mac turns to me & says “hey man your brother @_K_I_N_T_A_R_O_ is gonna come by, I immediately felt like there was a possibility that this would be overwhelming for Mac, as I have seen from past situations in life experience with people & us..

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...but none the less, all three of us were in the same room, playing and creating and enjoying music with Mac. For those that don’t see the significance, music and family can be a very intense experience in itself in life (if you know, you understand)....

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...it’s not always so easy and lighthearted like everyone would like to imagine it is however as it may be, the night went on,and the moment passed. Since that moment me and my brothers never really would be in that same setting and satire for years...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...the reason that this story is so special is because while we were working on what’s the use, he started going through old music and came across that song, when he played it I began to tear up and I had to keep myself together because it was so special...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...that he captured it! Almost like a photo. he turned to me and reminded me of how wild that night was and we had a good laugh about it and continued working. No one really owns any recordings of us like that, so it was really special to me...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...Mac was and always will be a special dude, he was definitely Lebowski to me. I will always remember a man I considered to be another one of my real brothers and best of friends in the short time we got to spend together. I miss him so much every day...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...he changed my life in a real way. Thank you @MacMiller Happy Birthday! pic.twitter.com/4HVdwj2fMs

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

miss u.

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 19, 2019

Happy birthday Mac Miller! pic.twitter.com/DT31Smpbqt

— Hi-Tek (@HiTek) January 19, 2019

Happy Birthday @MacMiller. Love You Always & Forever

— THE INTERNET (@intanetz) January 19, 2019

Smile today - Mac Miller ❤️ pic.twitter.com/l5rmQDu5XE

— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) January 19, 2019

 

View this post on Instagram

 

damn i miss this so much! i miss jamming with you and writing with you and talking about anything and everything. just watching you produce was my favorite. i miss the way you used to support me in everything that i did. i miss your smile and your tight ass hugs. i love you. happy birthday to a legend.

A post shared by NJOMZA (@notnjomza) on Jan 19, 2019 at 10:07am PST

Happy birthday to one of the purest artists I’ve ever known, Mac Miller 🙏🏾 RIP https://t.co/e8IIGaRjhx

— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) January 19, 2019

we miss you and love you Mac Miller happy birthday

— rex orange county (@rexorangecounty) January 19, 2019

Happy bday to my brother Mac Miller i miss my bro every day https://t.co/pXAn552l1w

— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) January 19, 2019

happy birthday Mac! 👼 tell your friends you love em twice as much.

— bear (@6LACK) January 19, 2019

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20 Hip-Hop And R&B Albums That Went Platinum With No Features

Once upon a time, successful artists considered receiving a gold or platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as a rite of passage to legendary status, especially if they did it on their own. Up until 2016, elite hip-hop and R&B artists were awarded plaques after one million units in album sales were sold. Now, any artist with music that goes viral overnight can join the platinum club.

After the RIAA modernized its rules for obtaining gold & platinum status in 2016, the music industry has been flooded with gold and platinum recipients, and it will only become more saturated over time. However, any rapper or R&B singer who sells over a million units without the help of outside artists should be heralded like the icons who came before them.

Since the 1980s, plenty of hip-hop and R&B artists have gone platinum with memorable music that will live on forever, but only a select few have made history by reaching platinum status without featured artists. Here are 19 albums (and mixtapes) that went platinum without other musical guests on the compilation.

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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