A$AP Rocky bringing out Master P during Coachella was something we didn’t expect, but it certainly brought back a lot of memories. Despite having the game on lock sonically in the late 90s, his army known as No Limit Records also had a very distinct (some would say hideous) visual style.
This style—heavy on bling and female eye-candy—came courtesy of Pen & Pixel, a design agency that apparently specialized in cartoonish perspectives and the excessive use of various types of lens flares.
Though still operative (and probably making a good living), the Pen & Pixel aesthetic is no longer as prevalent in rap as it used to be. We couldn’t help but wonder, how would rap in the 2000s have looked if their signature style hadn’t gone out of fashion?
J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story
A literal approach to Cole’s play on words for his major label debut, of course, clearly noting the many high profile features on its cover art. Jigga didn’t pay ‘em for nothing you know. You have to wonder if the magical mirror twins wouldn’t feel cold despite their hats though.
Drake – So Far Gone
Drake’s thematic content is visualized by a sad clown, who also doubles as requisite female, and of course, money raining down on private jets. You only live once. And you do it moping around, apparently.
The Game – The Documentary
The Game set out to build upon the west coast classics of yesteryear for his debut. Here, it’s properly displayed with abundant stacks of cash and Cali indo while using twin cams to capture his documentary. Look out for those lens flares while filming, Jayceon!
Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor
Lupe got food, Lupe got liquor. He’s got a casual, cool looking vibe going on … you know what? To be completely honest, I’m afraid this one actually might’ve accidentally improved upon the original.
Jaylib – Champion Sound
The Stones Throw indie classic where J Dilla and Madlib would meet to create their magic. The music was banging, and it later became a staple in the discography of both artists. The cover featured a tire with some stylized text. It was dope in its simplicity, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t exactly scream “CHAMPIONS!” like the Stanley Cup, scantily clad and willing women and gold coloring do, right?