Either way, the Bigs have it. *rimshot* Get it? The Bigs? Because Big Bear vs…
When it comes to bad hip-hop album covers, no conversation is complete (or relevant) unless it includes a discussion of Big Bear's Doin' Thangs album cover.
Please examine this cover in all of its glory.
When Pen & Pixel were tasked with crafting this album cover, they spared no expense. For one, putting motherfucking bears on the cover? Brilliant. But no, the P&P graphics team (thank you Master P for bringing them to the attention of millions) said bears on an album cover is straight basura unless these bears are being bosses. So let's turn this into a mob dinner with bears in silk robes, sunglasses, cigars, and trays of food. And because no non-sense is complete without the adornment of female variety, let's put girl bears (y'all remember the dude cats vs child cats Cragislist ad?) in the back where women would be.
I'm truly amazed this shit was greenlit by the label. I don't know Big Bear, but he called himself Big Bear so I can't imagine any universe where he didn't think his was the greatest shit ever. To this day, I don't know a single person who owns this album or has heard a song off of this album. Yet nearly everybody KNOWS this album because of the cover. Almost any list, to include those great list-making folks at Complex - whose lists are the stuff of legend - have included this as #1 on their list of Worst Hip-Hop Album Covers Of All Time last year. And to be fair, that list was pretty damn accurate in terms of how terrible those album covers are. I know, I was amazed too.
But I've got a contender that I rarely see on any lists. Two contenders actually.
(And even more actually, Vanilla Ice's Mind Blowin' cover might legit be worse than Big Bear's cover. At least it was entertaining. It's got bears smoking cigars for cripes sake. Who can't get some enjoyment out of that. When I think bears, I think of bears smoking. Because Smokey. Because duh. And Lil Flip's The Leprechaun was a travashamockery of the highest level. Both are included on Complex's list.)
Back to my contenders. The other day I was listening to SiriusXM radio, and to Shade45 specifically. I love the AllOut Show featuring Rude Jude and Lord Sear. Their brand of ignorance is impressive enough to be aspired towards. When I hear the words, "don't do this at home" I think of Rude Jude and Lord Sear. Anyway, on Tuesday, they had N.O. Joe on the show talking about his rise in the game. For those that don't know, N.O. Joe was one of the people that crafted the pre-Swishahouse/Screw sound of Houston. He produced for the Geto Boys and many other artists in the Rap-A-Lot camp. One of those artists was one of my favorites, Big Mike (of The Geto Boys). And by of the Geto Boys, I mean that one album where Willie D left, Til Death Do Us Part in 1993. This is nobody's favorite Geto Boys lineup, but it did spawn the single "Six Feet Deep" so I ain't mad. Willie D came back, Big Mike dipped and made his great album, Somethin' Serious.
This is where I'm going with this. Please take a look at Big Mike's album cover.
How is this not the worst album cover ever? And this is the real cover. (By the way, I really fucks with Big Mike. I LOVED this album. If you don't like the song "Havin' Thangs" you are not invited to my house for Thanksgiving.) It looks like somebody was tasked with coming up with an album cover and forgot
to send the order to Pen & Pixel until literally 10 minutes before the album was supposed to be sent to be pressed up and was like "fuck", then opened up whatever graphic program was being used in 1994, closed that, then opened up the version being used in 1983, and grabbed a pic of Big Mike from the day he did something with somebody at the park and said, "hey, if I put him in the right place, he can replace the "I" in both Big and Mike. I'm a genius." Because they also knew this shit was going to get nixed, they decided to give the letters some color and an effect that looks like some shit my daughter would do with my iPhone and a 2 minute time limit.
Then to complete the murder, look at that font on the album title. We all hate Comic Sans. Comic Sans would have been better than that shit. That's not true, by the way.
My point though is this, Big Bear is the concensus worst album cover in most circles. I think this shit is worse because it has NO entertainment value. Zero.
And because no bad idea wants to be lonely, here is the album cover to his follow up album, Still Serious, because of course he is. And you thought Nas started that "still" shit. I scoff at you.
Amazingly, this is better than his first one and still sucks tremendously.
So I ask you…whats a worse album cover? Big Bear or Big Mike?
I'm saying Big Mike all day. BECAUSE BEARS.