Hip-hop album covers have long been considered works of art. Think of your favorite album. The cover likely holds just as much weight as the lyrics in each song. Since the genre first got its shine in the '70s, artists have been leaving a lasting impression of their brand through the artwork on their album covers. From black and white photos to illustrate emotion to shocking sexual imagery, rappers have kept the conversation going when its come to their artwork for decades.

Biggie used a baby with an afro for his 1994 debut Ready to Die, Kanye West went for a more bolder statement with nude cartoons on his 2010 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy cover or KRS-One peeking out from behind a curtain with an uzi by his side on 1988's By All Means Necessary cover, rappers continue to set the trends and push the envelope when it comes to the visual components of their music.

At times, the artwork may even speak to you more than the music does, eventually drawing you into the album. This visual has always been an important part of an artist's brand. Before CDs were on the verge of extinction, album covers were cherished, traded and tacked on walls. As the digital era continues to evolve, some rhymers are still set on creating album covers that catch your eye. From past to present, take a look at 25 Striking Hip-Hop Album Covers That Will Make You Appreciate a Rapper's Creative Side.