12 Photographers Who Captured Hip-Hop, from Old School to the ’90s

Left: Brian "B+" Cross, Snoop Dogg, Los Angeles, 1997; Right: Brian "B+" Cross, Snoop Dogg, Los Angeles, 1997. Images courtesy of the artist.

In 1990, Cross moved from his hometown in Limerick, Ireland, to Los Angeles to pursue graduate studies in photography. Encouraged by a professor to apply his passion for hip-hop to his art, he began a project titled It’s Not About a Salary: Rap, Race, and Resistance in Los Angeles (1993), a book of photos and essays featuring West Coast rappers and their stories, as well as the cultural and political history of the city. Along with album covers for artists like Q-Tip, Easy E, and Damian Marley, his iconic photos of J Dilla—in his home studio and record stores around Detroit in the last years of his life—are emblematic of Cross’s intimate approach. “Those kind of honorific, hero worship photos aren’t really my thing,” he once said. “I’m much more about somebody’s vibe.”


Est. 1997. Production house formed by Eric Coleman and B+ (aka Brian Cross).