You can trace the beginning of ridiculously sybaritic rap covers to Pen and Pixel, a Houston-based design firm that defined the Dirty South hip hop aesthetic. My friends in high school always looked for the best Pen and Pixel-style CD cover and even mocked up my friend Dan with chains standing in front of two blinged-out Bentleys, which themselves were in front of a sea of diamonds with dolphins jumping out of it. To quote the Houston Press:
Pen and Pixel's covers defined bling: boxy letters that resembled gold studded with diamonds; tricked-out Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Lexuses; columned plantation-style mansions; platinum dollar signs; and jewelry-draped rappers smirking while talking on cell phones, often with scantily clad hotties looking on lustily. Pen and Pixel's covers created the necessity for a word to describe them, and bling is it.
There's always a bear.