Johnson & Jonson – Self-Titled

Three Blu-related posts in a row? Oops. This should be the last one. Blu’s collaboration with producer Mainframe finally got released this year, under the name Johnson & Jonson. It lived up to my expectations and it’s one of my favorite albums of ’08. Mainframe seems to have a really raw, strictly-samples production style that I really like. Blu is top-notch as usual. After seeing the video for “Bout it Bout It” (below) last year, I knew I needed this album. Worth the wait.

The cover was painted by artist Shawn Barber, who’s well known for his paintings of tattooed figures, a series of doll pieces and a piece for Kat Von D from Discovery Channel’s LA Ink. The red baby is apparently a self-portrait.

Shawn Barber
Johnson & Jonson

Blu & Exile @ Red Bull Music Academy

I have been neglecting this blog. Well, I’m deciding to shift focus. So instead of waiting until I come across an album cover that I like, I’m going to expand my scope and include general art and music news/updates. I’ll still examine album covers when the time’s right, but I want to post more often and share my music interests.

So my first non-album cover post is about a Blu & Exile interview at the Red Bull Music Academy. I love watching these things. Blu spits a few versus and Exile plays a beat live on his MPC. Great stuff! It’s all here and here.

C.R.A.C. – The Piece Talks

More from Mike Orduña, who I posted about before for his work on Blu & Exile’s Below the Heavens. This time it’s Blu and Ta’Raach’s (C.R.A.C.) album The Piece Talks. The illustration above comes from the back of the album. Below is the cover. Personally, I think they should have switched, but it still works.

Mike Orduña

Aesop Rock – Bazooka Tooth

I was once very much a fan of Aesop Rock. Not so much nowadays, but I still think he’s cool. Bazooka Tooth was a decent album, not quite as special to me as Labor Days but still good. The cover was illustrated by Tomer Hanuka out of New York. He’s fairly well known nowadays, having a feature in Juxtapoz a few months ago, popping up in Illustration annuals here and there, releasing a comic. He also recently updated his website. Not sure how recent as I haven’t visited in a while.

Tomer Hanuka
Aesop Rock

Jackson Conti – Sujinho

Sujinho is a fantastic collaboration between Madlib and Azymuth member Ivan Conti. I actually didn’t expect to see it in the store, but I was very glad I did. Mochilla, who released the album, has a good eye for packaging, as evidenced by their Keepintime DVDs.

I am a sucker for digipaks and even more of a sucker when that digipak involves Brian Cross (aka B+), a favorite photographer of mine. In fact, he photographed the cover of my very first hip-hop purchase, Jurassic 5’s Quality Control. He also does quite a bit of work for Stones Throw Records and Wax Poetics, along with a wealth of other artists/labels/whatever. I’ve seen his name pop up so much that I don’t feel like I can accurately cover all his work. So I’m happy to see that his portfolio has been upgraded after having the same layout for several years. The photography below is from Blackalicious’s Blazing Arrow, another one of my favorite albums.

Brian Cross

Daedelus – Of Snowdonia

Obviously I haven’t been running across many amazing album covers lately, so I suppose I’ll dig up some old favorites. Of Snowdonia introduced me to the music of Daedelus, one of my favorite electronic artists. Interestingly enough, I purchased the album solely on the strength of the album cover. That is thanks to Deth P Sun, an artist out of California known for his trademark cat creatures.

Deth P Sun

Current TV – Ghosts of Techno

I just watched this pod about Ghostly International on Current TV. Artist/producer ISO50 aka Tycho (who I posted about earlier) makes an appearance, which is awesome. Just wish Dabrye had made it into the clip. Either way, this is why I love Current TV.

Ghostly International