Honorable Mention: Pooh-Man "Funky As I Want To Be"
Pooh-Man was close to making the cut but instead was dropped to an honorable mention. Don't get me wrong Pooh-Man is from the Bay Area and has a good flow. He even appeared in the movie Menace II Society. With all that aside, so many questions remain. What's up with this cover? What does this have to do with getting funky? Is he going in or coming out of there? The ultra-serious mean mugging expression complimented by some nice early 90's black shades is also a nice touch of funkiness.
10. Tony Tee "Time To Get Physical"
Information on this man is sparse; he doesn't even have a Wiki page or anything. Not sure about the release date of this album but I would assume it was released sometime in the early 90's. No confusion about the title, it is in fact the time to get physical. He's getting physical with some weights in the gym and with a spandex clad lady. Tony Tee's sex appeal is so high that she can't even wait for him to finish his workout before she starts tugging at the man's zipper. Tony Tee needs to embrace this title and get physical more often, as he is clearly struggling with what appears to be twenty pound weights and I always thought people usually lie down to use the weight bench. I would however keep around the spotters with the hot pants and neon turquoise bike shorts. Every man needs a posse to combat all the haters out there and the time has come to get physical with each and every one of them.
9. Gucci Mane "Back To The Trap House"
It's the Mane, what's to be said? The man has 100s of mix tapes and several albums of pure awesomeness. What's missing from this album is Gucci's trademark Bart Simpson necklace. What isn't missing is a half-naked out of shape man with tattoos showing us how icy he is. Gucci's look of boredom and annoyance tells us he isn't happy to be back at the trap house. Nobody likes a demotion Gucci worked hard to get out of the trap house. I blame the economy for his misfortune. For those who don't know, a trap house is a place where drugs are processed, which explains the oddly placed stove, zip lock bag full of money in plain sight, and a container of gasoline in case things get hot and the Mane needs to burn the place down. Keep your head up Gucci, times are tough but things will pick up.
8. Cash Money "Baller Blockin"
Here is a confusing title. Are they preventing others from ballin' or are they being baller blocked themselves? The dual group shot is nice, especially the shot of Cash Money looking down from baller heaven and watching all the baller blockin here on earth. With a chopper in the sky, piles of blinged out watches, explosions, tires flying, cops with weapons drawn, it is a beacon of baller activities. Despite the relative wealth being portrayed here, they still seem to be in a bad part of town, which leads me to believe they've been baller blocked themselves.
7. Playa G "U Not My Lady"
I've never heard of this guy ever, not even once until recently which is probably decades after his album dropped. The Bill Bellamy high fade and yellow gold would indicate that it was released in the early 90's, however upon further research I discovered that it was released in 1998. I also got a chance to look at the track listing which includes such potential hits as "PH balanced", "Menaje Twa" (yes he spelled it that way), and "Ho from the club". The cover follows a similar pattern of questions. I have no idea who isn't his lady. He's pointing to a picture of a girl with possibly another dude and a clearly distraught girl is in the background. She is no doubt thinking about all the good times she shared with Playa G, but Playa G is both a playa and a G so she can't hold him down. Playa G is being his playa self and is on the phone talking to his lady, or not talking to his lady. Although I'm not sure if it's on the correct hand but Playa G's blinged out ring does suggest he has a lady somewhere.
6. Project Pat "Layin Da Smack Down"
Nobody likes a snitch. Snitches get stiches and Project Pat is ready to lay da smack down on any snitch that steps into his ring. Fortunately for Project Pat, he didn't have look very hard or even very far. Walking around the hood with a snitch shirt on is probably not a great idea. The fact that snitch is printed visibly on both the front and the sleeve, is an even worse idea. Add Project Pat to the equation and the smack has been laid down. A question does arise, who is the snitch? His blurred out face with a question mark over it, tell us nothing. The snitch could be you, it could be me. I think this album cover represents the snitch in us all. Don't be quick to embrace your inner snitch too deeply though because Project Pat could be lurking nearby and the smack will no doubt be laid down.
5. M$. Tee "Having Thing$!!"
We're in the top five now and oh the irony. The two well-placed dollar signs in her rap handle and album title tell us she's having thing$ but I don't see no things. The denim jumpsuit is nice but I don't think it really counts as having thing$. The background looks like my Grandma's living room and it looks like Grandma was nice enough to remove the plastic off the couch before the album shoot. Also there is a parental advisory sticker in the upper right corner apparently M$. Tee likes to get quite vulgar about having thing$.
4. Swamp Dogg "If I Ever Kiss It... He Can Kiss It Goodbye!"
The title is pretty straight forward, if Swamp Dogg can get a woman to kiss him, her man can figuratively kiss her goodbye. That can't be an easy task to accomplish if you are rolling with a name like Swamp Dogg. Is he from the swamp? Is he swamped with work? I can't think of any other uses of swamp but you get the idea. I like how the title accentuates its point by strategically placing pictures of various tongues and lips floating around a grinning Swamp Dogg. Something about this man reminds me of a pastor maybe it's the silver cross he's wearing. Either way I want to thank Swamp Dogg for the heads up because I don't ever want to be kissing it goodbye.
3. Trick Daddy "www.thug.com"
There is in fact a www.thug.com but it looks nothing like this. It's a rap blog of sorts, not a 90's Netscape homepage. Trick Daddy does look like a thug which fits the www.thug.com criteria and the darkening clouds personify his thuggish demeanor. The shout outs he gives to his crew is very courteous, as well as the message telling us that we are now online. This web browser is very user friendly and I would recommend using the Thugscape engine in the future. The tabs on the top also illustrate thuggish behavior although the death tab is a bit misleading. It could be anyone's death; rival thugs, friendly thugs, family thugs, or even his own thug self. Well done Trick Daddy and Slip-Slide records for creating an instant classic.
2. Top Dog "Slam Dunk'n Hoes"
Top Dog has created the perfect double entendre here. A slam dunk in slang terms means a sure thing but Top Dog is also quite literally slam dunking a ho. This album cover could have achieved greatness but is in all actuality a complete Photoshop mess. Top Dog's ho for example is clearly pasted into the picture and flipped horizontally to create the illusion she is being slam dunked. Notice how the basketball net doesn't wrap around her. The backboard of the basketball hoop is see through and doesn't match the skyline of the greenish smoggy city in the background. I don't think Top Dog is even jumping, I think they took a picture of him standing with on leg arched backwards and no one jumps like that. That hoop isn't even regulation size and correct me if I'm wrong but isn't dog usually spelled with two g's in the rap game? Better grab this album soon because it's a limited edition.
1. Big Bear "Doin' Thangs"
There can be no solid argument against this being number one. Except for the fact that this album cover is not awesomely bad, it's just awesome. It's like a magic eye picture, the more I stare at it the more thangs I see. Big Bear is doin' all kinds of thangs like chilling with actual bears, eating fruit, smoking cigars, and rocking all kinds of bling. Big Bear pulls off the smoking jacket well and the fact that he has a posse of bears makes him harder than the average gangster. Add in the fact that his name is dripping with honey and we got ourselves a complete masterpiece. Keep doin' thangs Big Bear, keep doin' big thangs.