Part of the fun that goes into the creative process of our releases is what you don’t necessarily hear, or in this case, see. As someone that’s very involved in the entire process of releasing a new title independently, from recording contracts, to A&R, production, mixing and mastering, manufacturing, marketing and distribution, one of my favorite steps is my involvement with the artwork. For our September 24th release of Highway Robbery, a collaborative effort between Detroit’s Guilty Simpson and the burgeoning Philly-based producer Small Professor, I decided to go with an illustrated cover. For starters, setting up a photo shoot was not going to be easy since both artists live hundreds of miles away from one another. More importantly, Highway Robbery is so thematically centered around either getting paid or being on the run, all set to the harsh day-to-day reality of life in Motor City, that I thought an illustrated cover was the best way to translate these concepts. After giving the project a couple listens, I was conceptually reminded of N.W.A.’s classic 100 Miles And Runnin’ (refer to cover below) fused with a more monotone look, typical of a Spy Vs. Spy comic strip, and decided to pursue this angle.
When it came to designers to execute the vision, I linked with the incredibly talented Andres Guzman, and could not be more pleased with the outcome (I encourage you to click on his name and check out his other work). This is the first time I worked with Andres, but after becoming more and more familiar with his work via Greg Grease and the incredible illustration that he provided for his Cornbread, Pearl, & G album cover, I was confident that he was an ideal fit for the job. So after an introduction from the homey Jeremiah, we got started. Andres is definitely one of the more talented designers that I’ve had the privilege to work with, and he keeps you up to speed with every phase of the design, from sketches, inks, proofs, all the way to its completion, making it clear that he’s not only passionate about what he does, but that he aims to go above and beyond what the client’s expectations. Andres attention to detail is second to none; just check out the close-up above and see the mob of police, thugs, and even an angry mother with a rolling pin in-hand, chasing after the two outlaws.
Take a quick trip through the creative process of Highway Robbery from its inspiration to completion below. Big shouts to Andres for the flawless execution. Stay tuned for more incredible design work from Andres for our upcoming releases, and be on the lookout for Highway Robbery dropping on September 24th!