Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Most Controversial Rap Album Covers

Twenty-five years ago today, Miami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew was arrested in Florida after a U.S. District Court Judge decided that their third album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, was actually too nasty for the state of Florida. Despite having been on shelves since February 1989, ANAIWB became the first album to be declared legally obscene, a ruling that seems extraordinarily ridiculous in retrospect but was a landmark decision at the time. The album's cover, featuring four bikini-clad women standing over each of the group's four members,
was one of the central points of the debate, as well as the album's big hit songs, "Me So Horny," “Dick Almighty” and “The Fuck Shop.” The ruling not only put the group in jail after they performed the album at one of their shows, but also made it illegal for record store owners and retailers to sell the album in stores, effectively killing the album in its tracks. The group was acquitted on freedom of speech grounds and the obscenity ruling was overturned in 1992, ironically sending the album platinum due to the heightened publicity and turning its then-controversial artwork into one of the most recognizable album covers of all time in any genre. In the two-plus decades since As Nasty As I Wanna Be hit shelves and the 25 years since the group was arrested for obscenity, XXL pulled together 50 album covers that were controversial at the time or caused an outcry, some of which are still contentious to this day. Here are 50 controversial rap album covers since 2 Live Crew's As Nasty As They Wanna Be.