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album cover design

re-interpretation of "untitled unmastered." by kendrick lamar album cover

While it is an album determined to be quiet with the name "untitled unmastered" and the track names are all "untitled 0#", I think it is a deeply personal album and I do not get that from the absolute minimalist approach of the original cover. I almost wish the album could be designed with an outer minimalist cover shell with an inner more intimate cover design underneath. The music in this album is very experimental as he combined jazz, hip-hop, and rap and his lyrics remind me of William Burroughs' Naked Lunch. It is chaotic, expressive, textural, overwhelming, destructive, menacing, and hopeful.


Lamar raps about his internal conflicts stating “I’m passing lives on the daily, maybe I’m losing faith/ Genocism and capitalism just made me hate/ Correctionals and these private prisons gave me a date”. In another track he describes his faith as a source of guidance comparing his journey as a black man in America to the story of Jonah from the Bible rapping he “Seen black turn burgundy/ Stuck inside the belly of the beast”. Jonah’s faith was tested when swallowed by a whale, he had nothing but his faith to navigate the darkness. In my reinterpretation of the album cover, I compare my Mother and my experiences to the story of Jonah by placing our silhouettes in the dark “belly of the beast” wearing Byzantinian style halos. The vertical carving direction in the linoleum block print is representative of musical rhythm. I chose the gesture of me either braiding or unbraiding my Mother’s hair because of the sacred, intimate nature of our tradition.

thumbnail sketch
Untitled Unmastered drft1.jpg
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