Despite historical reports to the contrary, it turns out that you can in fact stop the No Limit tank. Such a proposition would have got you laughed out of your country club during in the mid-to-late 1990’s when Percy “Master P” Miller’s No Limit Records was near the top of the hip hop world. They had a large roster of fairly popular acts (including Snoop and Mystical) and a number of big hits (Make ‘Em Say Ugh, Make ‘Em Say Ugh 2 and probably Make ‘Em Say Ugh 3).
While now essentially dead, No Limit Records’ art lives on. By ‘art’, I refer to the bevy of No Limit album covers that graphic designers see in their nightmares.
Such overwhelming self-aggrandizing. Such poor art direction. Such perfection.
Based on no objective factors of any kind, here I rank the top 12 No Limit Records album covers of all time.
12. Mr. Serv-On: Da Next Level
I don’t think anyone would ever question that Mr. Serv-On is a man who was constantly swimming in ass. But just in case you weren’t in the know, his 1999 album ‘Da Next Level’ solidified that fact for you by positioning himself on the cover surrounded by a gaggle of women at an actual pool. SYMBOLISM.
Bikini-Clad Women: 8
Secret Service Agents: 2
Tan Suits: 1
11. Mercedes: Rear End
While lacking the layers of other No Limit covers, Mercedes’ album ‘Rear End’ holds a special place is my heart for two reasons. The first being related to Master P’s unique marketing strategy at the time.
Within the unique plastic jewel case of every No Limit Records album featured a number of upcoming future releases from the label. For whatever reason Mercedes’ debut album seemed to have been sitting on the shelf, while constantly being promoted as ‘upcoming’. Countless album jewel cases over years and years teased this album. (Rear End was essentially the first Detox, is what I’m saying here.)
The second reason I love this cover so much is that the rapper MERCEDES is undoubtedly leaning on a Cadillac DTS. While I’m unsure if this was an oversight or purposeful, thinking it was an accident makes me so much happier.
10. C-Murder: Life or Death
I like to hope that C-Murder was reading a Goosebumps book at the time and brought it to the studio for inspiration.
Is that a fucking python sitting by his feet? Sure, whatever. Throw it in there.
9. Mr. Serv-On: Life Insurance
Assuming there is a life insurance transaction currently happening, I don’t think it’s appropriate for the transfer of funds to occur at the actual funeral. Just my opinion.
8. Mia X: Unlady Like
How many different fonts can one designer use? Apparently the answer is 5, not including the parental advisory.
I appreciate how loaded the frame is in this cover. (Is that a money counter or a fax machine?) I also like how Mia X appears to have dozed off while counting her banded stacks of money, which happens. I can attest. That shit is TIRING!
Fun Fact: Unladylike is actually just one word. So there’s that too.
7. Kane & Able: 7 Deadly Sins
I have no fucking idea what is happening here.
6. TIE: Mia X: Good Girl Gone Bad & Mama Drama
Why are there two Mia Xs?
Why are there four Mia Xs?
5. TRU: Da Crime Family
Easily the least legible of all No Limit Covers, Da Crime Family — I think that’s what it’s called — made the bold choice of putting gold font over a gold background. Does it say the album is featuring Fiend or Frank? It could really be anyone.
4. Young Bleed: All I Have in This World Are My Balls & My Word
The title of this album is a lie. While boasting of his modest possessions, Young Bleed neglects to refer to the fact that he in fact has much more than his “balls and his word.” He also apparently has a gold staircase, two tigers and what I believe is a dove (?). Oh and a fucking sky castle.
He doesn’t ask for much.
3. TRU: Tru To Da Game
Why is there so much text? Why doesn’t Silkk have a nickname? Who are the West Coast Hustlers? Why is the money outside the safe? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
“Best Buy!!! 26 Songs – More For Your Money”
I still can’t believe an album is actually hawking value on its cover. Magical.
2. Souljah Slim: Give It To ‘Em Raw
Shit is absolutely popping off on 1998’s Give It To ‘Em Raw album by Souljah Slim. Explosions! Tanks! Rockets!
Despite being in the middle of a war zone, Souljah Slim could not look any less interested or prepared (minus the camo). I actually like to imagine that the scale is correct and Souljah Slim is a fucking giant (like Dr. Manhatten in The Watchmen), bringing up the rear of the vanguard. Frightening.
1. Snoop Dogg: Snoop World
When I get married, my wedding invitations will look exactly like this.