The bling-encrusted lettering. The outrageous photos superimposed on lavish backgrounds. The wild colors. There's no denying that Pen & Pixel covers are one of the defining elements of '90s hip-hop, made prominent by southern rappers and labels like No Limit Records, Rap-a-Lot Records, Cash Money Records, and Suave House Records.

In fact, there was a time in hip-hop when it was rare not to see a Pen & Pixel album cover from a southern artist. Bottom line— in the '90s and early aughts, Pen & Pixel was everywhere.

The company was started by brothers Sean and Aaron Brock, who in the early '90s worked at J. Prince's Houston-based Rap-a-Lot Records as a graphic designer and general manager, respectively. In a 2014 interview with Noisey, the Brock brothers say that they worked with 6,000 to 8,000 clients, producing approximately 19,180 covers during their 11-year run.

When you consider Pen & Pixel was used almost exclusively by Master P's No Limit Records and Birdman's Cash Money Records, it becomes a bit clearer how they reached that massive number. After all, P's history is firmly tied to his output, with No Limit literally dropping at least one album per week during the height of its existence.

The dominance of Pen & Pixel was pretty undeniable, and the graphics company subsequently has become an essential aspect of southern hip-hop history, providing much of the genre with signature imagery that remains not only memorable but influential even today.

To that end, we've combed through some of the most memorable Pen & Pixel covers ever. From The Hot Boy$ to Snoop Dogg (remember his run with No Limit?), to Eightball & MJG, they're all here in all their diamond-laced glory.



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