View Full Version : Hip Hop Cover Art

02-15-2007, 01:59 PM
Dope article on hiphop covers; the "deep covers" series

Inspired Hip-Hop Album Covers (http://formatmag.com/art/inspired-hip-hop-album-covers/) http://formatmag.com/wp-content/uploads/art.gif (http://formatmag.com/category/art/)

February 11th, 2007 Art (http://formatmag.com/category/art/) > Deep Cover (http://formatmag.com/category/art/deep-cover/) — by Rick Kang

It doesn’t matter how many Casio beats Southern hip-hop throws at us, rap music is, and will always be about sampling. And since sampling is the rap way-of-life, it’s only natural to extend it from another artist’s album to another artist’s album art. Some designers sample album art from the same pool of musicians that producers sample from; others even pay cover-art homage to other rappers. Consider it the album-art version of Premo scratching someone else’s lyrics for a Gangstarr chorus.
Inspired album covers are often more interesting than the typical artist/posse/expensive car photo – mainly because the artist’s choice of inspiration says more about them than any ice-grill full of fronts ever could. Sure, the Beatnuts sample Blue Note records – but from their album covers, you get the sense they wish they could’ve made Blue Note Records, as well. Others choose giants of black music to emulate, thereby linking themselves to a lineage of black artistic genius. Whether the artists doing the emulating are geniuses themselves isn’t for us to say. More interesting still are the bevy of covers inspired by ‘60s-era classic rock – a genre you think would be the polar opposite of rap music.
Sure, inspired covers aren’t original – but are one million and one hard-posing “gangstas” any more creative? Given the choice between the two, I’d prefer some insight into an artist’s musical mind and taste-leanings everyday.
* Interestingly enough, while inspired rap album covers are common, there aren’t very many you’d classify as “parody”. Perhaps because parody is humour – and as we know in hip hop, ain’t a damn thing funny!
Blue Note Records

Rappers often make bad choices, but sampling Blue Note–their records and their sleeves– ain’t one of ‘em. Blue Note sleeves are legendary for their simplicity and cool-ass design aesthetic, and it’s only natural that Blue Note-sampling artists wanted to borrow that vibe. Most are paying homage (J-Live, Guru), while others are a little more meticulous in their outright jacking (Beatnuts, Atmosphere). Either way, at least you’re jacking something with style and class. And if you recognized the inspiration behind these covers, consider that a savvy/coolness point.

Often rappers align themselves to the great tradition of black popular music that preceded them. And in many cases, the artist inspiring the cover also provided the rapper’s samples. Redman, and producer Erick Sermon, have made a living off of P-Funk samples, so extending the privilege to album art isn’t a stretch. Bootcamp’s Tek & Steele weren’t content just sampling Roy Ayers’ music, another of rap’s most sampled, they thought his cover concept was dope enough to restage. Camp Lo jacked Marvin for his album cover and also their fashion steez – right from the jam going on in the sleeve. Above all, though, these artists are giving credit where it is due – even if today’s audience doesn’t see the connection.

This segment is a little harder to understand. In much the same manner that rappers pay respect to the artists they sample, perhaps this is a way of honoring their rap influences and peers. Or, they didn’t have any ideas. In Consequence’s case, he jacks one of rap’s most famous and recognizable covers – of an album he appeared on, no less! I guess he thought Tribe just had it goin’ on. The X-Ecutioners are acknowledging one of the most important rap groups of all time, if not one of the world’s best album covers. In the RZA/Fingaz case, the original inspiration actually lies in the sleeve of the Cotton Comes to Harlem soundtrack, by Galt MacDermot. The RZA obviously liked the concept so much he commissioned comics god Bill Sienkiewicz, who also did EPMD’s Business as Usual, to emulate it. DJ Fingaz decides to split the difference, using elements of both to acknowledge one of rap’s sources and one of its pioneers.
More Covers:
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02-15-2007, 03:09 PM
dope man,never knew dre got the chronic cover from that lol.

02-15-2007, 03:50 PM
haha some are funny

11th Chamber
02-15-2007, 03:53 PM
who the fuck is Billy Digital??? Wow. He stole everything from the art, to the same exact lettering of his name

02-15-2007, 03:58 PM
dope man,never knew dre got the chronic cover from that lol.

yeah bro I never seen that guy who used the Bobby Digital cover before neither

maestro wooz
02-15-2007, 04:26 PM
cool, didnt know about some of these

02-15-2007, 04:46 PM
dope man,never knew dre got the chronic cover from that lol.

shiet i thought everyone knew that he wanted to be the zig zag pirate haha

who the fuck is Billy Digital??? Wow. He stole everything from the art, to the same exact lettering of his name

well... rza was inspired by the cotton comes to harlem film id imagine... so he made the bobby digital cover similar to the theme on the cover of that film... then dj fingaz used the same graphics from the film cover and the text from rza

02-15-2007, 05:27 PM
they have that kind of article every month.

02-15-2007, 06:01 PM
seen most of these on ego trips books

some artists need sum more creativity....fuck payin homage sum of that is a blatant rip off

02-15-2007, 06:39 PM
seen most of these on ego trips books

some artists need sum more creativity....fuck payin homage sum of that is a blatant rip off

Yeah the egos trips book of rap lists is essential!

http://formatmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/bookrev_egotrips.jpgTo call Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists the hip-hop Bible would be wrong because it is far better rounded, shorter and a helluva lot more fun to read. What it is, however, is the only piece of rap literature you truly cannot live without. Some hip-hop history books may be angled to a more political view, some include glistening photographs. None, however, are funnier, or have higher re-read value than this.
Whether you’re a backpacking newbie who thinks O.P.P. is ol’ skool, or the most jaded ’90s-era classicist, Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists is full of the tidbits you need to know. The book’s formula is simple: all categories of the rapping world, from production to DJing to monikers to lyrics to album art and everything in-between, are covered in list form. Five Things Pen & Pixel Will Not Put On An Album Cover, and Unforgettable Video Disses are just an example of the ground Ego Trip covers in its all-extensive lists.
Everything that happened in rap music prior to 1998 (the year it was published) is covered somewhere in this tome. Learn the evidence on both sides of the Tupac divide (dead or alive?), or all the one-time members of Boogie Down Productions. To top it off, the book ends with a chronological listing of the best rap singles and albums by year. Of all the “cool-guy” books ever published, this one dwarfs ‘em all: unpretentious, hilarious and bursting-at-the-tits with facts, misinformation and everything else you didn’t know about rap music – run cop that.

Greek Gheynician Anal Tradition
02-15-2007, 06:55 PM
who the fuck is Billy Digital??? Wow. He stole everything from the art, to the same exact lettering of his name

lmao @ Billy Digital :lmao: :loser: